HC Deb 14 March 1884 vol 285 cc1550-4

Before the Orders of the Day are reached, I should like, if I may be allowed to do so, to make an appeal to my hon. Friend the Member for the Haddington Burghs (Mr. Craig-Sellar) and to the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Rendel). If they were present in the House at an early hour this morning they will recollect the statement that was made as to the position of the House in regard to the Business of Supply, and especially the Supplementary Estimates. It was explained by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer that unless those Supplementary Estimates were disposed of this evening it would be necessary to do what the House was always unwilling to do—resort to a Sitting on Saturday. I am very unwilling to make such an appeal at so early a period of the Session; but those hon. Members who have on the Paper Motions on going into Committee of Supply this evening would be rendering very great service to the House, and taking a course which would be very much to the convenience, and, I believe, to the satisfaction of the House, if they could be prevailed upon to postpone those Motions, and enable the Committee to resume Business on the further consideration of the Supplementary Estimates.


said, the appeal of the noble Marquess placed him in an embarrassing and delicate position. He had, with great difficulty and with some good fortune, succeeded in getting the first place to-night for raising a discussion on a matter of very considerable interest to the House and of importance to the country; and he might say that he had received communications with regard to it from England, Scotland, and Ireland, urging him to proceed with his Motion. At the same time, he felt that on a question of this kind he was in the hands of the House. If it were I the wish of the House that he should give way on this occasion, he should not stand in the way of the remainder of the Supplementary Estimates being proceeded with. He was well aware that the threat of a Saturday Sitting was a serious affair; but he saw that there were several other Motions upon the Paper, and he did not see the use of his giving way unless the hon. Members having Motions upon the Paper agreed to give way also. Several of those Motions were of great importance; and the one which stood in the name of the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Rendel), with reference to Aberystwith College, was of even greater importance than the one which he hoped to have the honour of submitting to the House. He did not know whether the other hon. Members intended to give way. ["No!"] He was entirely in the hands of the House. If other hon. Members gave way he would not press his Motion.


said, he felt himself to be somewhat in the same position as the hon. Member who had just sat down. He should greatly regret to stand in the way of Public Business; but his Motion involved a subject of deep interest to a large body of persons, seeing that recently no fewer than 130 public meetings had been held with regard to it. It would be with great reluctance that he should forego the advantage he had obtained for his Motion; but he also should place himself in the hands of the House in the matter. He should have an opportunity of calling attention to the subject on the Estimates.


said, that in reply to the very modest request of the noble Marquess that private Members should practically give up all their rights, he also placed himself entirely in the hands of the House. If, in the opinion of the Leaders of his Party, he should be furthering Public Business by so doing, he would withdraw his Motion (respecting the Government of Jamaica). He had given way last Session at the request of Her Majesty's Government, and he now appealed to their sense of fairness to allow his Motion to be brought on.


was of opinion that the position in which the House was placed was the result of the mismanagement of the Government, who had deliberately chosen, knowing the require- ments of the law with regard to the Estimates, to waste the time of the House, first of all, on the first night of the Session, by having present a Minister who was not to speak, and absent a Minister who was to speak; then by wasting a day on their pet subject—Grand Committees—and two other days on the Reform Bill. For his part, he did not feel inclined to give way.


said, he did not think that the concessions made by hon. Members opposite would tend to the advancement of Public Business, seeing that there were 14 Notices of Motion upon the Paper; and, therefore, he hoped that hon. Members opposite would not give way.


said, he ought to have explained that he could not possibly have asked his hon. Friends the Members for the Haddington Burghs (Mr. Craig-Sellar) and Montgomeryshire (Mr. Rendel) to give up the positions they had obtained, unless there was a general agreement among those who had Notices on the Paper that they would postpone their Motions. With regard to the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Devonport (Captain Price), he understood the hon. and learned Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon) had obtained a place on the Paper for a discussion on the same subject, and the hon. and gallant Member would have then an opportunity of making any statement.


said, that if Her Majesty's Government would give him a Select Committee to inquire into the circumstances attending the death of Michael Watters in Mountjoy Prison he would give way.


said, his Motion (a Motion calling for the dismissal of Captain Plunkett, P.M.) was of considerable importance, and affected a large district, and he could not forego any opportunity of discussing it.


said, that with regard to the request of the hon. Member (Mr. Healy), he might say that all the Papers relating to the case of Watters were before the Royal Commission on Prisons; and the Commission, he presumed, had the confidence of all shades of politics in Ireland. The matter involved by the Motion of the hon. Member for Mallow had been gone into thoroughly in the discussion on Vote 31. He earnestly trusted that the hon. Members would not stand between the House and the discussion of the remaining Supplementary Estimates.


remarked, that in August last he had called the attention of the Government to the fact that Michael Watters was dying; but instead of releasing him they had released another man, under the pretence that he was dying. Michael Watters was now dead, and he wished that the circumstances should be inquired into.


asked whether, in the event of an arrangement being come to, the Government would take the Report of Supply on Monday?


said, that Supply would be the first Order of the Day on Monday, when the Army Estimates would be taken. The Report of Supply would be taken afterwards.


said, that he did not know whether he had anything particular to say upon this subject; but from what he had read in the public journals he certainly understood that it was contemplated last night to hold a Sitting of the House on Saturday. That was not a very popular proposal to make; but, doubtless, it had been made for the sake of getting the Votes passed within the necessary period. He must confess that, looking at the number and character of the Notices upon the Paper for this evening, he did not think it was likely they would be cleared off in time to take the rest of the Supplementary Estimates; and, therefore, he was scarcely surprised at the appeal which the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Hartington) had made to those hon. Members who had Motions standing upon the Paper in their name. Of course, if those hon. Members would waive their rights they might hope to be able to avoid a Sitting on Saturday; although, if it were necessary that such a Sitting should be held, many hon. Members were prepared to sacrifice their personal convenience for the public good. With regard to the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Devonport (Captain Price), to which the noble Marquess had referred, the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon) was down for Tuesday in Easter week, and therefore it was not very likely to be taken.


said, that his Motion stood for the Tuesday preceding Easter week.


said, if the hon. Member for the Haddington Burghs (Mr. Craig-Sellar) did not bring on his Motion he would bring his.