HC Deb 26 July 1883 vol 282 cc557-8

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, considering the widespread expression of approval that has been elicited from the various public bodies in Scotland in favour of the Local Government Board (Scotland) Bill, he will assure the House that the Government will do its utmost to pass the Bill into Law this Session; and, whether he will afford time for the Second Reading at the earliest available opportunity after such promises as may have already been given with regard to the arrangement of Public Business are fulfilled?


asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is aware that such expressions of approval of the Local Government Board (Scotland) Bill, as have come from public bodies in Scotland take the shape of describing the Bill as "a step in advance," as "an instalment," as "likely to do little good, but no harm," and so forth, but not as fulfilling what the people of Scotland, rightly or wrongly, desired and asked for; and, whether, looking to the late period of the Session, he will consider the reasonableness of withdrawing the Bill, so that Her Majesty's Government may review their proposal and introduce (if necessary) hereafter a measure which may be more than an "instalment," and may do no harm, but much good to Scotland?


asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will lay upon the Table of the House Copies of any Documents, or the Documents themselves, which Her Majesty's Government may have received from public bodies in Scotland expressing approval of the Local Government Board (Scotland) Bill?


Sir, my answer to the hon. Member who puts the first Question (Mr. Buchanan) is, that we are not in a condition yet to make an arrangement in the sense of naming a particular day or a particular hour; but I most confidently intend, and most confidently expect, to submit this measure for the Local Government of Scotland to the judgment of the House at the earliest available opportunity; and I trust, as far as I can judge from the state of Public Business, that will be an early opportunity. I shall be much disappointed if it does not arise not later than in the course of next week. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Dalrymple), I think he will hardly expect me to recede from all the assurances we have given to the House on this subject. If, indeed, it had been true that the reception of this measure in Scotland had been universally a very unfavourable reception, that might have been a reason for a change of our course; but, on the contrary, as far as I am acquainted with the opinion that has been expressed, the measure has been received with general satisfaction. Undoubtedly, some persons object, and other persons desire more; but still, on the whole, the opinion I think has been favourable to the provisions of the measure. With respect to the Question of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir Alexander Gordon), I think, Sir, it would be rather an unusual course to lay upon the Table all the Documents and Memorials that may be received by Ministers from Bodies all through Scotland on questions of this kind; because it is obvious that, if the parties who forwarded these Documents and Memorials desired to address the House, it would be quite open to them to do so in the ordinary course by Petition.