HC Deb 10 February 1882 vol 266 cc385-6

said, he wished to ask a Question of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, and if the House desired it, to set himself in Order, he would conclude with a Motion. Those hon. Members who were present last night would remember that a discussion took place on a Motion made by an Irish Member to introduce a Bill. After some discussion, a Motion for the adjournment of the House was made by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Wood-all) at his own instance. A discussion took place upon the Motion, and the proposer ultimately asked for permission to withdraw it, acting, as he (Mr. Callan) believed, upon the representations of the noble Lord the junior Whip of the Government (Lord Kensington), the result being that the hon. Member was allowed to do so. Immediately after the noble Lord procured another hon. Member—the Member for Eye (Mr. Inderwick)—to move the adjournment of the debate, in order to avoid a defeat on an Irish Motion, which appeared imminent. He (Mr. Callan) believed that the word was sent round to hon. Members, and every effort made to collect a majority. It was very probable, had the matter gone to a division, that in consequence of the insurrectionary spirit displayed below the Gangway, the Government would have found itself in a minority. Seeing that, several hon. Members who supported the Government, and also some Members of the Government itself, retired, and an hon. Member sitting on the Liberal side then called attention to the fact that 40 Members were not present. He (Mr. Callan) always understood that the duty of a Whip was to make a House, to keep a House, and to cheer the Ministry. The noble Lord who was the Liberal Whip failed last night to keep a House, because he had failed to keep a majority for the Government. He had seen in The Daily News, which endeavoured to hold itself forth to be the Government organ, a paragraph in reference to the new proposals of the Prime Minister which must have been written before the occurrence of last night's incident, for it stated— Another matter was, of course, the practice of vexatious counts, which, so far as the Session has gone, has been of nightly occurrence, and was during last Session. Last year the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department complained of the practice of counting the House, which was last night followed by one of his supporters. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was present last night, and by his silence, seeing the Government would be in a minority, countenanced the obstructive tactics of his supporters. It would be well to know from the Prime Minister, who was absent when the incident occurred, whether he sanctioned the Government Whips on a Government night counting out the House, and whether, after such a proceeding, it was fair the Irish Members should be accused of being the chief Obstructionists when so far, during this Session, the only obstruction had proceeded from the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant and the Whips of Her Majesty's Government? He moved the adjournment of the House.

Moved, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. Callan .)


Does any hon. Member second the Motion?

No reply; Motion not put.


The hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan) having alluded to some remarks which I made, I wish to say a word or two. The hon. Member correctly stated that I did ask the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Wood-all) to withdraw his Motion for the adjournment of the House, and that the hon. Member for Eye afterwards moved the adjournment of the debate. The reason is obvious. If the adjournment of the House had been carried, all the hon. Members who had asked and had obtained leave to bring in Bills would have been shut out from bringing them in. It is not true to say that I had arranged the count-out. I had nothing whatever to do with it, and never asked a single Member either to stay in the House or leave it.