§ MR. E. STANHOPE
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, What arrangements he proposes to make in order to secure, in accordance with the declarations made in former Sessions, the discussion of the Indian Budget at a reasonable period of the Session?
said, that this was another of the engagements that remained necessarily unfulfilled in consequence of the deplorable position in which the House stood with regard to its duties. The noble Marquess the Secretary of State for India, however, would do his best, and the Government would assist him to bring it in before the dregs of the Session. He hoped those hon. Gentlemen who put these Questions, which he was continually obliged to answer by pleading the impotence of Parliament, would give their best assistance when they came to the proposals for relieving the House.
§ MR. J. N. RICHARDSON
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, seeing that the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday (Ireland) Bill was introduced into this House by private Members, at the instance of and by the recommendation of the Government, and that every opportunity has been sought for pressing it forward, he will afford facilities for getting this measure passed into Law during the present Session?
I am afraid, having been obliged to state already that we have been unable to redeem direct engagements, it follows a fortiori that we cannot take cognizance of indirect engagements. I heartily wish well to my hon. Friend in his undertaking; but I am afraid I can say no more.
§ VISCOUNT FOLKESTONE
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, When he proposes to take the Estimates, and in what order; when he will take the Customs and Inland Revenue Bill; and, when it is intended to bring on the Indian Budget?
With respect to taking the Estimates in exact order, I think it would be more convenient that we should not bind ourselves absolutely; but Notice will be given of the order in which we wish to take them. I have already stated that the House will pro- 1102 ceed to deal with the Custom and Inland Revenue Bill immediately after the Vote of Credit.
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
asked the Prime Minister whether, having regard to what he had characterized as the deplorable state of Public Business, and of the desirability of the early adjournment of the House, and of a Sitting of the House in autumn, he was prepared to propose some arrangement to expedite the Business of the Government immediately in hand.
said, that when the time had arrived when, in accordance with precedent, a proposal of that kind should be made, he would be prepared to make it. On Monday he would move that the Government should have Tuesday evenings.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would tell them what was Government Business? Was the Educational Endowments (Scotland) Bill one of the measures to be carried through?
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, that the Prime Minister had just stated that he would ask that Tuesday evenings be taken for Government Business. There was a Notice of Motion with regard to the distressed agricultural population of Oude and Behar standing for next Tuesday evening. His hon. Friend the Member for Waterford County (Mr. Blake) had secured that evening for it, the question was most important, and many Members of the House took an interest in it. Would the right hon. Gentleman refrain from taking next Tuesday evening from private Members? If he understood the right hon. Gentleman, he stated that a Vote for increasing Her Majesty's Forces in the Mediterranean would be taken on Monday next, and that on that Vote the House could discuss the policy of the Government with regard to Egypt. Would not the Premier consider it advisable to give the House some other opportunity of criticizing the past policy of Her Majesty's Government in Egypt when the criticisms upon it would not be liable to 1103 the misrepresentation that they were brought forward at a time that would interfere with the drafting of Supplies to Her Majesty in an urgent matter of foreign policy? The hon. Gentleman was repeating the same Question, amid some signs of impatience from the House, when—
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that the hon. Member must confine himself to asking the Question, and must not repeat it.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
stated that, as the question was somewhat difficult and complicated, he was trying to explain it.
said, that the question was, no doubt, difficult and complicated; but when the hon. Gentleman repeated it with a view to make it clear, it had only become still more difficult and complicated. The most legitimate, convenient, and constitutional opportunity for discussing the past policy of Her Majesty's Government in Egypt would be on the Vote on Account on Monday. He did not think the Motion of the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Blake), relating to Behar and Oude, afforded a sufficient reason for departing from a proceeding called for by the general convenience of Public Business; but his noble Friend the Secretary of State for India would be happy to give his best attention to any statements with which he might be favoured by the hon. Member or his Friends.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
gave Notice that he would oppose any Motion for the appropriation by the Government of Tuesday evenings.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, he understood there was to be a Sitting on Saturday. Could the right hon. Gentleman give the House any information as to the Business that would be taken on that day?
said, he regretted that the President of the Board of Trade, who had charge of the Electric Lighting Bill, was not present. But it was the intention of the Government to propose a Sitting on Saturday, and the Business to be taken on that day would, he believed, be the Scotch Educational Endowments Bill, the Scotch Entail Bill, and the third reading of the Electric Lighting Bill. If there were other measures to be proceeded with, they would be only of secondary importance, and not involving questions of a disputatious character.
§ MR. MACFARLANE
begged the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that during the last two months and more all the nights of private Members had been taken away. He hoped, therefore, private Members would not have their rights further interfered with.
said, it was entirely a matter for the general consideration and convenience of the House. He did not undervalue the consideration of the rights of private Members.