§ MR. LABOUCHERE
asked the Prime Minister, What would be the course of Business next week, especially with reference to the Motion of the right 317 hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Stafford Northcote)? He wished to know whether the debate on the Address would or would not be finished before the Motion of the right hon. Baronet came on; or if the Motion of the right hon. Baronet came on on Tuesday before the debate on the Address was concluded, the debate on that Motion would be continued from day to day without going back upon the Address?
My hon. Friend has addressed two Questions which I am afraid it is rather difficult to answer at the same time, as to whether the debate on the Address is to be finished on Tuesday, and what I believe to be the case with regard to the Forms of the House. To-night we proceed with the debate on the Address. I do not know whether it is too much to hope that it may close. If it closes to-night, I take it that the ground is perfectly clear and free for the right hon. Gentleman opposite, because the Report on the Address would, in that case, be taken on Monday. I can have no reason to anticipate that a lengthened discussion will arise anew upon the Report of the Address; and even if it did, and if it were adjourned beyond Monday, it would then become an Order of the Day, and not take precedence of the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman, so that the right hon. Gentleman would be able to make his Motion on Tuesday. I hope he will be able to bring it on then, and anything the Government can do to give effect to that will be freely done. Supposing, however—and on that I give no opinion—that the debate on the Address does not close until Monday, then I believe that the regular course would be that the Report upon the Address should be brought up on Tuesday. I also believe, if the Report on the Address were brought up on Tuesday, it would, by the regular Forms of the House, have precedence; but then I presume in that case matters connected with the Address would have been freely discussed; and therefore I trust, and am inclined to believe, that the bringing up of the Report on the Address would not interpose any obstacle to the right hon. Gentleman bringing forward his Motion. I must put it to the House, with great respect, that, in my own judgment, it is much to be desired that the business of the Address should be got rid of before 318 the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman opposite is perfectly entitled to challenge the existence of the Government upon a Vote of Censure; but if the proceedings on the Address are not got rid of before he makes his Motion, he will challenge—not the Address—but, before the Report, the existence of the Government; and if he succeeds in the object he has in view, he will come in to deal responsibly with the Report of the Address upon a Speech advised by Gentlemen opposite which may contain sentiments which he probably does not approve of. I think it is clearly in the interests of all parties, and the order of the House in the highest sense, that these transactions connected with the Address and the Report should be completely finished and put by, so as to belong to the past, and in no degree to the future, and that then the right hon. Gentleman should have a fair and open field for the Motion of which he has given Notice.
§ SIE STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I rise to a point of Order. I am not disposed myself, as far as my knowledge goes, to accept what the right hon. Gentleman has said with reference to the Address taking precedence of Motions.
§ SIE STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
My impression is that even in the discussion on the Report of the Address it will not take precedence. Suppose that the Address, unfortunately, were not finished by Tuesday, it does not, as a matter of course, take any precedence over other Business. I have had, while sitting on the other side of the House, to make myself Motions to give precedence during the Address. Probably the right hon. Gentleman's information may be different, and I should be glad, Sir, to have your ruling as to what is the regulation of the House.
§ MR. SPEAKER
As the House is aware, according to the Rules of the House, on Tuesdays Notices of Motion have precedence. They will have precedence even in the event of the debate on the Address being carried on. But if the Address has been agreed to, and the Mover of the Address presents himself at the Bar on any given day, whether a day on which Notices of Motion or the Orders of the Day have precedence or nor, it is my duty, according to the im 319 memorial practice of the House, to call, upon him to bring up the Report, and upon that a debate might arise.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, it would add to the information of the House if the Prime Minister would state whether, in the event of the debate on the Address being concluded on Monday, and the Report occupying the whole or part of Tuesday, he would afford facilities for the debate on the Vote of Censure taking precedence of other Government Business, and being continued de die in diem?
The Motion stands for Tuesday, and I contemplate its coining on on Tuesday. It would be inconvenient both to the House and to the public that a Motion of this kind should be postponed beyond that day, and I am not inclined to make provision for such an unfortunate occurrence. With regard to the Notice standing in my name to-day for the introduction of the Franchise Bill, I do not think it would be satisfactory to the House that I should introduce that measure without a statement; and I shall, therefore, postpone it until Monday, and let it stand then exactly as it stands to-night. With regard to the Notice in my name in reference to the Standing Committees, I am in hopes that when I have stated the views and intentions of the Government on that matter there will be a general disposition in the House to accept my proposal; but if I find it is likely to lead to any lengthened debate, then, of course, I will assent to an adjournment.