HC Deb 21 August 1883 vol 283 cc1552-3

said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister stated, with considerable triumph, that five most important Bills would be passed this Session. Of those five, two—the Bankruptcy Bill and the Patents for Inventions Bill—were dealt with by the Grand Committees. If they assumed that the time occupied by the Grand Committees was so much gained, then it followed that only three Bills of importance would be passed by the House this Session. But, as the Agricultural Holdings (England) Bill and the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill, though applying to different countries, were in principle the same, and might be regarded as one Bill, the House had passed only one other, the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Bill. And at what expense had they done so little? At the sacrifice of Supply. The Government, with the advantage of the additional time afforded by taking the Mondays and Thursdays at an unusually early period, had really been more backward with Supply than they were last year. In about five minutes on Friday night two whole Classes of Estimates were passed without a single word. In five or six minutes they voted £10,000,000 or £12,000,000 of the money of their constituents. Therefore, it came to this—and he considered it discreditable to the Government—that with all the additional facilities afforded by the House at the Premier's request last October in the shape of the New Rules of Procedure they had passed fewer measures than ever, and had had less time for Supply, important Votes—notably one of £3,000,000 for the Post Office—having been hurried through without any discussion whatever. He complained that the Indian Budget had been put off until the last Wednesday in the Session, and drew attention to the fact that out of the five fresh financial proposals made by the Government during the Session four had not been countenanced by the House.