HC Deb 10 May 1883 vol 279 cc408-10

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, having regard to the pledges given by the Government, to the state of Public Business, and to the fact that three months of the Session have already elapsed, he will give an assurance to the House, and to the Country, that the present Sitting of Parliament will be continued until the measures named in the Speech from the Throne shall have been considered and disposed of by this House?


Might I be permitted also to ask the Prime Minister whether, with a view to expedite Government Business in general, and the progress of the Grand Committee on Law in particular, he will instruct the Attorney General not to delay the progress of the Committee by talking against time, for the purpose of preventing the Committee from arriving at a decision; and if he will also use his influence with the hon. Members for Stockton (Mr. Dodds) and Stockport (Mr. Hopwood) to the same effect.


I will leave it to my hon. and learned Friend to answer for himself what the noble Lord has now alleged; and, for my own part, I distinctly decline to give any instructions, oven if I were entitled or qualified to give instructions, to my hon. and learned Friend with regard to any portion of his Parliamentary conduct, because I know no man who needs them less. I am hardly in a position to answer the general question of my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich, inasmuch as I have said that for three, if not four, nights after the Recess we must proceed with Business in Supply, and until we have disposed of some of those nights it is not intended to refer to any of the important measures of the Session. When we reach that point of time I will endeavour to give such information as I can.


gave Notice that he should repeat the Question on a future day.


If I did not take any notice of the Question it might be supposed that there was some foundation for it. I must appeal to any Member of the Committee, except the noble Lord, as to whether there is any foundation for that statement? The noble Lord introduced an Amendment of the gravest importance in the Committee, and I felt that we ought not to arrive at any hasty conclusion. I therefore took upon myself the whole burden of bringing that important Amendment before the Committee; and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) asked me personally to put down my views in the form of a Proviso, so that they might be considered before the next meeting. I did not ask any Member of the Committee to speak against time, and the Committee acquiesced in the course which I took.


As the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to me, perhaps I may say that I do not think that the noble Lord intended to imply that the hon. and learned Gentleman himself spoke against time. But as he has appealed to me to say whether there was any delay of that kind in the proceedings, I am bound to say that if the action of the hon. Members for Stockton and Stockport did not amount to talking against time, I have never seen anything that did.


rose to speak, but—


ruled that the observations which had been made with regard to the proceedings of a Committee of the House had been, from the very commencement, altogether irrelevant and irregular.