HC Deb 12 May 1881 vol 261 cc285-8

asked the First Lord of the Treasury a Question of which he had given him private Notice, Whether, considering that the Government demanded and obtained Urgency for the passage of two Bills which they declared to be necessary for the maintenance of order in Ireland, and that it was equally necessary that the Land Law (Ireland) Bill should be passed for the permanent pacification of that country, he would propose that the discussion of that Bill should be carried on de die in diem until such time as it should be passed?


desired to know, before the right hon. Gentleman answered the Question which had just been put, whether, if those who wished to address the House should not have had an opportunity of doing so before the end of Monday's debate, the right hon. Gentleman would use his large majority to bring the debate to a conclusion that evening?


wished to know, whether it would be necessary to obtain urgency in order to carry on the debate de die in diem. Two-thirds of the House, or a majority of two to one, were required to obtain urgency. Could not the course which had been followed earlier that Session on the Coercion Bills be followed, and the days of private Members be given up to the discussion till the Bill was passed?


With regard to the closing of the debate on Monday, it would be extremely disagreeable to my taste and desire that any Gentleman should be precluded from addressing the House in the present stage of the Bill; but it seems to me that we work under very severe conditions as to time, and under very severe conditions indeed as to public interests of a character affecting the whole of the people of Ireland; and, although I may be very sorry to press anything of a restrictive nature against Members, yet I even hope that some hon. Gentlemen will, if possible, submit to a sacrifice rather than allow us to go on, in the face of the very great necessity for this Bill, for the sake of all parties in Ireland, with a debate extending over many weeks on a stage of the Bill in which. after all, we can make no progress towards a final adjustment of its terms. Hon. Members will, I trust, continue the debate longer than usual to-night; but I am afraid I cannot recede from what I have presumed to say with regard to the closing of the debate on Monday. As to the Question put to me, I am not sure that I follow with perfect clearness the Question of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell); but I do not know that it is very important at the present moment, because I may say, in answer to him and in answer to the hon. Member behind me (Mr. Thorold Rogers), it would be more convenient to wait until the House has disposed of the second reading before considering any course which it may be the duty of the Government to propose to expedite the progress of the Bill. All I can say is that there is no recession from the pledge I have given that no Government Business will be allowed to interfere with it, except Business of absolute necessity. A matter of absolute necessity would be the disposal of the Taxing Bill in Committee; but I have no reason to believe that that will occupy any great length of time. That is the only exception. I will be able to answer the questions after the Bill has been read a second time and the Bill has arrived at the stage of Committee.


asked whether, in view of what the right hon. Gentleman had just said, it was likely that the House would rise for Whitsuntide; and, if so, when it would rise, and for what length of time?


thought it was rather soon to ask that Question. He would consider the matter.


asked if it would not facilitate the division on the second reading of the Bill on Monday if a Sitting took place on Saturday?


asked the Prime Minister whether, if the Motion of the hon. Member for Carlisle were altered to omit the word "illegal," the Motion, as amended, would receive the support of Her Majesty's Government?


said, he should follow the wise example set by the Chair, and wait until the words of the Motion were before him before, giving a reply. With regard to a Saturday Sitting, he looked upon the adoption of such a course as a very strong measure, and he would rather postpone raising that question for the present. He did not think it was a satisfactory method to follow, as it was very difficult to secure the attendance of Members.


said, that, as far as he could learn, there were certainly 40 Members anxious to address the House on the Bill. There had been two Agricultural Commissions sitting on this Irish question, and several of the Members of those Commissions were Member of this House. They had visited Ireland, and engaged in an elaborate in quiry, and as yet not one of those hon. Members had had an opportunity of speaking. The Question he rose to put was, Whether it would not be possible for the Speaker and the Representatives of the different Parties in the House to make an informal ballot of the names of the hon. Members who wished to address the House? If such an arrangement could be come to, it would greatly contribute to the convenience of Members; and he wished to know if it would be in accordance with the Rules of the House?


I am always most anxious to promote the convenience of Members of this House; but the hon. Member is imposing a task upon me which is beyond my powers.