HC Deb 28 July 1881 vol 264 cc35-6

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is in a position to state definitely for the convenience of Members, at this late period of the Session, whether it is the intention of the Government to proceed with the Rivers Conservancy and Floods Prevention Bill this Session?


said, he also wished to put a Question on this subject to the Prime Minister, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would forgive him (Mr. Arnold) for doing so without Notice, because he had never put one Question to him before. Was it not the case that the right hon. Gentleman had received a Memorial in relation to the Bill, signed by a large number of Members of all Parties of the House, begging him to proceed with the measure; whether the signatures of those in favour were not of a greater value than those of hon. Members opposed to the Bill on the ground of the inconvenience which would result from the postponement of the holidays; and, whether it would not be a circumstance almost without precedent for the Government to abandon a measure of this importance, which had passed the House of Lords, had been read a second time in that House, and been approved of by two Select Committees?


Sir, it will, undoubtedly, be admitted by all persons whatsoever that this Bill has a considerable advantage in having passed the House of Lords, in having been approved by two Select Committees, and in having reached a certain stage in this House. At the same time, I am under a pledge to the House not to proceed with any measures which are not absolutely necessary. The shock of arms between opposing parties in relation to this Bill is very interesting; but, at this period of the Session, I may remind hon. Members that it is absolutely necessary that we should make rapid progress with Public Business. I must ask the indulgence of both the hon. Members in this matter, seeing that it is under the careful consideration of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board. I will give a more definite answer to the Questions of the hon. Members on Monday next.