Sir, I rise to move that the Orders of the Day, subsequent to the Order for Consideration of the conduct of the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell), be postponed till after the Notice of Motion relating to the Business of the House (Urgency).
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
said, he rose to a point of Order. The First Order of the Day, as put down by the Government themselves, had been disposed of, and he wished to know from Mr. Speaker whether, under the Standing Order of May, 1881, the Motion of the right hon. Member could come on until after the other Orders had been gone through? Of course, the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister could have moved his Urgency Motion before the First Order had been disposed of, but he submitted that it was not competent for him to do so now.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The Order of the Day with reference to the conduct of the hon. Member for Dungarvan was brought forward, and treated as a question of Privilege. When I called upon the Clerk at the Table, I called upon him to read "The Order of the Day with reference to the conduct of Mr. O'Donnell." I did not call on the Clerk to read the Orders of the Day generally, and I adopted that course expressly for the purpose of enabling the right hon. Gentleman in the ordinary way to make his Motion.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Orders of the Day be postponed till after the Notice of Motion relating to the Business of the House (Urgency)."—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that it would be quite in Order to debate the Motion.
§ MR. HEALY
said, in that case he desired to point out that the Government had not vouchsafed a single argument 1304 or explanation in favour of the course proposed to be adopted. It was very desirable, however, that they should have the reasons of the Government for making the Motion. They had heard that the Prevention of Crime Bill was considered to be of such extreme urgency that it was desirable to proceed with it from day to day; but he did not think that the declaration of the Urgency Rules would very much expedite the measure, for the discussion that would ensue must necessarily consume a considerable time. Last year when Urgency was proposed the debate was not very prolonged, for Members from Ireland had been expelled by a very summary procedure. At the present moment the Government had only expelled one Irish Member. A considerable number remained, and by making the proposal for the re-adoption of Urgency in all probability the Crimes Bill would not be expedited. He would like just to point out, too, that the chief questions remaining for the Committee were questions raised by the Government themselves. There were six or seven pages of Amendments down on the Paper, but every one of them was placed there by the Government, and as the extraordinary Motion which was now being proposed was made in reference to matters to which not a single hour's consideration had been given, that was gagging the House in advance. Again, the only discussion that would be necessitated on Report would be a discussion arising out of the conduct of the Government. The Home Secretary, not having sufficient knowledge or information of the subject of which he was left in charge, had almost invariably referred any Amendments that were suggested to Report. What was the result of that? Why, that they did not know whether or not they would have an opportunity of discussing those concessions which had been promised, or of ascertaining if the concessions themselves would be inserted in the form they were led to believe they would be. He held strongly that the Home Secretary did not intend to give the House the exact concession he promised, and that when they came to the Report stage they would find a very different clause to that which was expected by hon. Members generally. So far as he was aware, there was no intention, either on Saturday or in the future, 1305 of giving any questions before the House more than a reasonable amount of discussion. But when the Government flourished their Motions like a red flag in the face of a bull, they could not but expect that opposition would be generated. Of course, they were bound to suspect the motives of the Government when they took a course of this kind.
Sir, it will be my duty to give my reasons for the course I am now pursuing when I come to propose that Urgency be adopted by the House.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 135; Noes 27: Majority 108.—(Div. List, No. 233.)