HC Deb 02 May 1879 vol 245 cc1668-71

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House will, upon Tuesday next, at Two of the clock, resolve itself into the said Committee."—(Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson.)


said, it was unfair to begin Morning Sittings at that period of the Session, which he pointed out to the House was a much earlier one than usual. He remembered that last year they had Morning Sittings early; but then they were taken for the sake of enabling the House to rise before Easter, as well as to vote certain sums of money. There was last year one Morning Sitting, on the 17th of May, and at 9 o'clock the House was counted, out. He believed the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the 18th of June proposed that the ordinary Morning Sittings should be taken for the rest of the Session; and if he (Mr. Dillwyn) remembered rightly, he had stated that the usual time for commencing Morning Sittings was the 12th of June. Certainly, he did not think it fair to begin to take the Members' days so early in the Session as was now proposed, especially as no pressing reason had been shown for so doing. If, however, the case was an exceptional one, and only applied to a particular day which hon. Members might be disposed to give up, his objection might be modified; but he would like to know whether it was the intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take Morning Sittings regularly from that time forward, or whether the proposal with regard to Tuesday next was to be an exceptional one only? He had not, of course, the slightest wish to put any obstruction in the way of the Business which the Chancellor of the Exchequer wished to get through; but he could not help saying that the Government were commencing Morning Sittings, as far as he could see, six weeks in advance of the date at which they began last year, notwithstanding that a good deal of Supply had been got through, and that the reasons which were put forward last year for Morning Sittings at an unusually early period did not now exist. He therefore thought it right to oppose the Motion by moving that the words "at Two of the clock" be left out.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "at Two of the clock."—(Mr. Dillwyn.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he hoped that the House would see that in asking for a Morning Sitting on Tuesday next, for the purpose of taking the Valuation of Property Bill, the Government were only doing what was necessary. He could not admit that the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) was accurate in his statement that they were doing a very unusual thing in so doing; because he found that in 1875 there were four Morning Sittings taken before the Witsuntide Holidays—namely, on the 15th of March, the 30th of April, the 4th of May, and the 11th of May. And, again in 1878, there were several occasions earlier than those mentioned by the hon. Member, on which Morning Sittings were held—namely, the 19th of March, the 26th of March, the 29th of March, the 12th of April, the 16th of April; after which came the Sitting of the 17th of May referred to by the hon. Member, on which occasion the House was counted out in the evening. The Business of the day was, on the 19th of March, the Indian Press Law; on the 2Cth of March the Mutiny Bill; on the 29th of March a discussion was raised on Supply; on the 12th of April the Report of Ways and Moans; and the 16th of April was devoted to purposes for enabling the House to rise before Easter. The hon. Member had stated that the Government were exceedingly forward as regarded Supply; but on that point, he (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) would remind the House, that the hon. Member in particular, and many others, had urged upon the Government the necessity of bringing on Supply at an early period of the year. The argument, therefore, in his opinion, could not be fairly used against the Government. The Motion relating to the Valuation of Property Bill had been upon the Paper for a very considerable time; and it was, therefore, only convenient to hon. Members who might be anxious to take part in the discussion that some particular day should be fixed. Under these circumstances, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave an assurance to those Members interested that the Bill should be made the first Order of the Day on Tuesday next. The Government did not purpose to commence regular Morning Sittings at that period of the Session, as a rule. He asked the House to accept the proposal of the Government on this occasion, to devote a Morning Sitting on Tuesday next to the consideration of the Bill.


said, he had no wish to put any desire of his own against the purposes of the Government. He trusted, however, that they would secure for him an opportunity of bringing on his Motion, with respect to Breach of Promise, in a way that would prevent discussion being cut short, as was, unfortunately, too often the case.


suggested that Her Majesty's Government wished to kill all the Members of the Opposition by commencing Morning Sittings so early as the 6th of May. He thought, at any rate, that it had been clearly established by the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) that the course proposed was a serious infringement of the rights of hon. Members; and he trusted that some steps should be taken by which it might be prevented. Many hon. Members besides himself had remained in the House until 2 o'clock in the morning, in order to assist the Government in carrying out their measures, and he thought that deserved a different return.


said, that many hon. Members were really anxious to make progress with the measure, and it was absolutely necessary to fix a day for the committal of the Bill. He thought the Government had a claim upon the House in bringing forward the Motion.


said, the Government could, of course, command the House in the evening; and he therefore suggested that if they were to meet for an early Sitting on Tuesday, the private Members should take the Morning and the Government the Evening Sitting.


thought the last suggestion a very reasonable one, although he feared Her Majesty's Government would not agree to it. However, as he always wished to facilitate the Business of the House, he was disposed to give way; his only reason for making the Motion being his fear that if the proposal of the Government were allowed to pass without a protest, it would be the commencement of a system of taking Members' days and using them for Morning Sittings. But, on the distinct understanding that the Government would assist private Members in getting the House on Tuesday at 9 o'clock, and that the present case was exceptional, and was not to be the commencement of early Sittings at that period of the Session, he begged leave to withdraw his Motion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Committee deferred till Tuesday next, at Two of the clock.