HC Deb 21 August 1883 vol 283 cc1511-3

asked the Prime Minister, Whether he would say when he proposed to proceed with the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill?


said, that having sat on the Grand Committee which considered this Bill, he wished to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the Notice of Amendment which had been given by the Attorney General. There was a long discussion in the Grand Committee upon the proposal to extend the right of appeal in non-capital cases. That extension was resisted by the Government; but it was carried against the Government by a very considerable majority. From the Amendment on the Paper it would appear it was the intention of the Attorney General to ask the House to reconsider the decision of the Grand Committee; and the Bill was, therefore, in a very different position from the Bankruptcy Bill, and was likely to give rise to a long discussion. Under these circumstances, he asked the Government whether, at that period of the Session, it was really their intention to proceed with the Bill?


said, his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General had been governed by a very strong desire to pay respect to the decision of the Grand Committee, so far as his views in regard to the Bill would allow. The Government felt, with the hon. and learned Gentleman, that as long as they could retain any hope of carrying the Bill through the House and sending it to the other House in a reasonable time, it was a serious matter to abandon a Bill on which the Grand Committee had spent so much time and labour. The Government were very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman and to the other Gentlemen who sat on the Grand Committee—and he took this opportunity of saying it—for the patience which they had bestowed upon the Bill. Perhaps the Government had clung too long to their hope. They had believed it was possible to-night, after the second reading of the Appropriation Bill and the consideration of the Amendments on the Agricultural Holdings Bill, and the discussion upon the Medical Bill, that they might have had a debate on the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill which would sufficiently show the feeling of the House in regard to the measure. He understood, since he came to the House, that a debate was likely to be raised on the second reading of the Appropriation Bill. Of course, he was aware of a Notice of Motion laying down the principles of Continental policy; but he did not anticipate any lengthened debate would arise on that Motion. Since he came to the House be had been given to understand that a debate was likely to be raised in a different quarter. That debate he regarded as fatal to any hope of proceeding with the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill. If it were postponed to Thursday, which would be the only alternative, they could not hope to pass it this Session in the other House; and, therefore, he was obliged reluctantly, on the part of his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, and on the part of the Government, to say they no longer cherished the hope of proceeding with the Bill. He had, consequently, to move that the Order be discharged.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Order for the Consideration of the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill," as amended, be read, and discharged,"—(Mr. Gladstone,)—put, and agreed to.

Order read, and discharged.

Bill withdrawn.