SIR CHARLES FOESTER
moved—That the proceedings on the Second Reading of the Southampton Corporation (Cemetery, &c.) Bill [18th February] be null and void:—That the Bill be read a second time Tomorrow.
§ SIR ARTHUR OTWAY
said, he was desirous of pointing out the inconvenience of the course which his hon. Friend was taking in regard to this Bill. He believed that Notice of opposition had been given to the Bill, and it was down upon the Paper for a second reading yesterday. When it came on the hon. Member for Gateshead (MR. W. H. James), who had given Notice of opposition, was not in his place; but the two hon. Members for Southampton were in attendance, and the hon. Member who sat on that side of the House (MR. H. Lee) made a Motion that the Bill be read a second time. MR. Speaker put the Motion, and took the voice of the House upon it, and the result was that the Motion for the second reading of the Bill was affirmed and carried. He was now given to understand that the hon. Member for Gateshead (MR. W. H. James), who had intended to oppose the second reading, had been informed by his hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Sir Charles Forster) that he would take the necessary steps for postponing the second reading until the matter could be regularly disposed of in the House. It was entirely through an inadvertence that that course was not taken, and he presumed that nobody would be desirous to take advantage of the mistake which had arisen. He thought, however, subject to the advice and ruling of MR. Speaker, that the more regular course would be, seeing that the second reading had been passed, instead of declaring the proceedings of yesterday null and void, to make the Motion for the rejection of the Bill on the Order for going into Committee being read. The hon. Member for Gateshead (MR. W. H. James) would oppose the Motion for going into Committee, as he intended to do that for reading the Bill a second time, and his hon. Friend would be placed in no worse position than he would have occupied yesterday. He (Sir Arthur Otway) thought that course would be less inconvenient than establishing a precedent upon which an hon. Member, going away on the understanding that certain things would be done, and then, finding that they had not been done, should then come to the House on the following day and ask them to declare the proceedings null and void.
§ SIR CHARLES FORSTER
remarked that when the Bill was read a second 1320 time it was referred to a Committee as a matter of course.
§ SIR ARTHUR OTWAY
said, his hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (MR. W. H. James) would, in that case, obtain the opportunity he sought upon the third reading of the Bill. He (Sir Arthur Otway) thought that course would be much better than to nullify the vote which had already been passed by the House.
§ SIR CHARLES FORSTER
said, the object of the present Motion was to enable the parties who opposed the second reading of the Bill to be placed in the same position as that which they occupied yesterday, when the Bill was down for a second reading. The hon. Member for Gateshead (MR. W. H. James) had been assured by him (Sir Charles Forster) that the second reading would be postponed; but in the confusion of the moment he had unfortunately neglected to carry out his promise, and he, therefore, felt himself bound, as it was, in consequence of his inadvertence, to move to re-instate the Bill into the position in which it stood yesterday. His right hon. Friend the Chairman of Committees was mistaken in regard to the question of precedents. Some years ago a Motion of a similar kind was made and carried.
§ MR. W. H. JAMES
said, that what had now been stated by his hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Sir Charles Forster) was perfectly accurate. The Motion which stood in his (MR. James's) name on the Paper was merely passed over in consequence of an inadvertence; and if the Motion which was now made was not agreed to, he believed that he would be practically shut out until the third reading, from making the Motion which stood in his name for the rejection of the Bill. It was perfectly well known that to oppose Bills on the Report stage, or upon the third reading, after they had been before a Select Committee, was altogether useless. The right hon. Gentleman the Chairman of Committees proposed that he should move the rejection of the Bill on the third reading; and if he took that course it would be at a great disadvantage; because it was impossible to make a Motion of that kind with anything like the same effect as upon the second reading. Both of the hon. Members for Southampton knew that what had happened was 1321 through a mistake; and he believed that neither of those hon. Members had any objection to the course now proposed to be taken.
§ MR. GILES
said, he was not in the House when the Bill was read a second time; but he had heard what had taken place, and, being unwilling to be suspected of doing anything which might appear to be taking an advantage of another hon. Member, he thought the best way to settle the matter would be to leave it in the hands of the Speaker. No doubt this case might form an inconvenient precedent; but he believed the House would be willing to get over the difficulty by adopting whatever decision the Speaker might give.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that, after the explanation which had been given of the peculiar circumstances of the case, he might fairly put the Question to the House.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Ordered, That the said Proceedings be null and void.
§ Bill to be read a second time upon Thursday.