HC Deb 12 March 1883 vol 277 cc218-20

I wish to ask the Prime Minister, Whether there is any intention of proceeding this evening with the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Bill? I will also ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has any intention of going on with his Motion relating-to the Channel Tunnel? I should, at the same time, like to know on what day a Vote on Account will be taken?


asked the President of the Board of Trade, if he had any intention of proceeding with the Bankruptcy Bill before Easter?


asked after what hour the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill and the Criminal Code (Indictable Offences Procedure) Bill would not be taken?


In answer to the last Question, we will not proceed with them after 12 o'clock. With regard to the Motion of my right hon. Friend on the Channel Tunnel, it is desirable that that Motion should be made, if it is possible to get through Supply in sufficient time; but as there is an Amendment, it cannot be made after half-past 12. The House wished to hear, and I promised to give, an explanation as soon as the Supplemental Estimates were passed, with regard to the course of Business during the time that remained before the Easter Recess, and the probable date of that Recess. With respect to the course of Business, our desire is to take the Army Vote to-night, and the Navy Vote on Thursday; and, if it should be possible, to take also on Thursday a Vote on Account. I draw a distinction between a first Vote on Account and any other Vote on Account, because, under the existing circumstances of our financial arrangements, a first Vote on Account is material, and an absolute necessity, and may be regarded as formal. We are very desirous to go forward with the second reading of Bills which are to be referred, under the arrangements understood by the House, to the new Standing Committees. With regard to the Recess, the case stands thus. If we sit until Thursday of next week, the time at the disposal of the Government will be Monday evening, and I will not say Thursday evening, because I think there will be great objection to sitting on that evening. We should be bound to consider the convenience of the House, so as—in the extreme case—to sit only on Thursday morning. That will be the case as far as the Government are concerned. If the House were to adjourn on Tuesday, the course usually taken has been that the Sitting on Tuesday should be a Morning Sitting, and, if a Morning Sitting, available for Government Business. The question, therefore, is between adjourning on Tuesday or on Thursday, and that is a question rather for the House than the Government to consider, because it makes no practical difference as regards the prosecution of the Business of the Government. But, unless we have reason to believe otherwise, we should be inclined to assume that an adjournment on Tuesday would be the course more acceptable to the House. The day to which we should propose to adjourn would be the Thursday following Easter Sunday.

In reply to Mr. DIXON-HARTLAND,


said, that he was not without hopes that he should be able to proceed with the Bankruptcy Bill before Easter.


asked whether the Prime Minister would guarantee that the Parliamentary Oaths Act (1866) Amendment Bill would not be taken on the first day after the Easter Recess?


said, he would guarantee that. That request was a reasonable one. The Bill in question should be the first Order of the Day when it was taken for second reading.


asked the Prime Minister when the Bill for the better Government of London would be introduced?


We will give due notice to the House, and, in the present state of Business, that is the only pledge I can give.