HC Deb 12 May 1879 vol 246 cc129-31

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he will inform the House on what Motion the Indian Budget will be brought forward; and, whether he will arrange that it shall be brought forward in such a way as will allow of the opinion of the House being taken on the financial position of India?


, in reply, said, that he had consulted with his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India as to the most convenient course to be adopted, and, having reference to the Notice of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell), he thought the best course would be to proceed with the Committee on the Indian Loans Bill. The House would be in Committee when the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman as to the amount of the loans would be moved. On going into Committee, his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for India would make a statement of the financial position of India; and he presumed that the question to be then submitted would be of such a character as to give ample opportunity for discussing the financial position of the country. There would also be other opportunities for raising other points in connection with the subject.


Mr. Speaker, I want to ask your opinion upon a very important question of Parliamentary procedure which affects the Privileges of this House. As I understand, the Under Secretary of State for India will make the Budget Statement—the entire financial statement of India—on the Motion which is already in Committee for raising a loan of £10,000,000—that Motion being in Committee, it will be absolutely impossible to raise any question except for reducing by the Amendment the loan, or rejecting the proposal altogether—I want to ask you, Mr. Speaker, Whether it is not unusual, when the Budget is brought forward, that the House should not be afforded an opportunity of expressing its opinion upon the general financial condition of India? I understand that under the arrangement proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that opportunity would not be given.


The more usual course, no doubt, is for the Indian Budget to be proposed either in Committee or on the Motion that the Speaker leave the Chair. At the same time, I cannot say that the course proposed to be taken by the Government is out of Order, although it is unusual.


After the opinion expressed by you, Sir, and feeling that the course proposed by the Government would take away from the House its proper opportunity of discussion, I beg to give Notice that if the Government persist in their resolution to make the Budget Statement, not on the Motion that you do leave the Chair, but on the proposition on going into Committee, I shall resist it by moving, as soon as we get into Committee, that Progress be reported.