§ MR. FIRTH
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he would be able, before Whitsuntide, to state the intention of the Government with respect to the introduction of the Government of London Bill?
My answer to my hon. Friend will embrace other subjects besides that to which his Question refers. Our first duty, after the long period of time occupied by the debate on the Parliamentary Oaths Act (1866) Amendment Bill, has been to examine into the state of Supply. That is in a backward condition, and we are certainly under strong pledges to the House to do our best to put forward Supply in a more satisfactory manner than was possible either in the last Session or last but one. With that view, it will be absolutely necessary to appropriate several Government nights—certainly not less than three, and probably four—after the Recess to the subject of Supply. That being so, it would take us to the close of the month; and I do not propose, therefore, under those circumstances, to make any further statement in relation to what I may call the principal Government Bills. We have, of course, got those Bills before the Grand Committees; but in regard to the principal Government Bills, with which no progress has been made, I do not propose, until after Whitsuntide, to make any further statement. Then, there is one subject which I wish to mention, because I believe that many Members connected with Scotland are desirous to leave town before we come to the day of adjournment. I have to say that, on an early day after Whitsuntide, my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary 46 will ask leave to bring in a Bill with a view to make further provision for the despatch of Business relating to Scotland. Lords Alcester and Wolseley's Annuities Bill being a matter upon which Questions have been asked, I will state on Friday the exact course which we will take with respect to that Bill. I have already said that we intend to alter the basis of the Bill, by substituting capital sums for annuities. I may say, as the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Stafford Northcote) asked me a Question, and made a proposal on Friday with respect to South African affairs, that I am afraid it will not be in our power to make arrangements for meeting that proposal, which I take to be one of a new description; but I will state again on Friday the reasons which have led the Government to that conclusion.
§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
The right hon. Gentleman has not mentioned one measure, the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Bill, and the House is very anxious to know what has become of it.
I did not mention that, or the Tenants' Compensation Bill; but I have already declared that on Thursday my right hon. Friend (Mr. Dodson) will ask for leave to introduce the Tenants' Compensation Bill—the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Bill is already before the House—and these were the Bills which I had in view when I said that I would not be able until an early day after Whitsuntide to make a statement.