HC Deb 24 February 1881 vol 258 cc1662-5

The House is aware that my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury promised on Tuesday last to make a statement to-day with reference to the progress of Public Business. My right hon. Friend is unable to be in his place to-day, owing to the effects of an accident, which, although it will probably confine him to his room for two or three days, is, I am happy to say, not of a serious character. I hope, and believe, that my right hon. Friend will be able to be in his place on Monday, and that he will then make the promised statement to the House. In these circumstances, I hope the House will not ask us, in the absence of my right hon. Friend—and I have not been able even to see him to-day—to make an incomplete statement, as ho will himself be able, I trust, to make it in a complete form on Monday. I think, however, it will be for the convenience of the House that I should say this much—-that we have arrived at a period of the Session when the necessity for making some progress in the Business of Supply has become so indispensable that it is desirable to ask the House to go into Committee of Supply on Monday, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War will move the Army Estimates. And I wish, in consideration of the great importance and interest in the Statement which my right hon. Friend has to make, to express the hope that he will be allowed on that occasion to go into Committee and to make the Statement which he has to make.


I am sorry to trouble the noble Lord with a Question, especially under the circumstance, which we must all deeply regret, of the accident which keeps the Prime Minister from the House. I understood from the opening observation of the noble Lord that he did not propose to make any statement. But he has made one, as to which I will ask a Question. The noble Lord says that on Monday the Government will ask us to go into Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates. I wish to ask whether the noble Lord's attention has been directed to the Order of January 25, which is to the effect that the introduction and several stages of the Protection of Person and Property (Ireland) Bill, and the Peace Preservation (Ireland) Bill, shall have precedence of all Orders of the Day and Notices of Motion until the House shall otherwise order? I apprehend that under that Order it would be necessary to make some distinct Motion to set it aside with the view of taking other Business. I should be glad to know whether the Government intend to make any such Motion at such a time as would admit of its being discussed? I should also like to ask another Question. Notice has been given by the Prime Minister that ho will, to-morrow, at half-past 4, make a Motion that has been made on more than one occasion—namely, that when Committee of Supply stands for Monday, except for certain purposes, the Speaker shall immediately leave the Chair. I wish to know whether it is intended to take that Notice to-morrow, because two years ago when I moved it it led to a three nights' debate.


The point which has boon raised by the right hon. Gentleman as to the Resolution passed by the House last month would, no doubt, have been one of the subjects to which my right hon. Friend would have referred had he made his statement to-day; and I hope that in his absence the House will excuse mo if I do not now make any further remarks upon it. I trust, at all events, to be able to see my right hon. Friend tomorrow, and, if necessary, to give a Notice on the subject. Perhaps, therefore, the House will allow me to postpone the matter till to-morrow. The Notice with regard to Committee of Supply has been put down in the name of my right hon. Friend by mistake; the Motion was intended to be moved by my noble Relative the Secretary to the Treasury; but I think it would be more convenient that the Motion should not be made to-morrow.


I bog to ask the noble Lord whether he will also postpone the Notice standing in the name of the Prime Minister to move— That, upon the Consideration of the Protection of Person and Property (Ireland) Bill, as amended this day, at 7 o'clock, any Amendments then standing upon the Notice Paper he put forthwith?


I am not prepared to postpone that Motion. With the permission of the House, when called upon by Mr. Speaker, I wish to move it.


wished, in consequence of the noble Lord's answer, to ask a Question—namely, Whether a Motion, of which Notice bad been given by the Premier, could be moved by anyone else in his absence? He submitted that, as in any matter of criminal procedure, the Rules were very strictly applied, so that in any Rule restrictive of the ancient forms of deliberation in that House the utmost strictness should be observed; and, therefore, the Motion in the name of the Premier could not be moved by anyone but the Leader of the House. The right hon. Gentleman not being present, the Leader-ship of the House was a matter as to which the House had no cognizance. ["Oh, oh!"] There might, of course, be a Leader of the House for the time being; but the House could not recognize private understandings between right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench, and the Leadership was not necessarily associated with the India Office. He, therefore, wished to know whether the Speaker was not bound to call upon the Premier, in whose name the Notice stood? And he submitted that if anyone else rose to move the Motion in his absence, as Loader of the House, the House must have some means of knowing how he became Leader of the House.


said, he desired to put a similar Question, but for a different reason to that advanced by the hon. and learned Member. His ground was a ruling given by the Speaker yesterday. When an Amendment to this, but which stood in the name of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, was attempted to be moved by another hon. Member, the Speaker ruled that the hon. Member for Cork should have been in his place, and that no other Member was entitled to be substituted for him.


The Motion of which the Prime Minister has given Notice is a Motion relating to the order of the Business of this House. As the House is aware, Motions of that character are almost invariably made by the Leader of the House, on behalf of the House, to regulate the order of Business. I consider that in the absence of the Leader of the House it would be competent for any Minister of the Crown to make that Motion, and more particularly because the Rule to which this Motion refers expressly states that a Minister of the Crown is the person by whom the Motion should be made.

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