HC Deb 01 May 1884 vol 287 c1060

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the simultaneous withdrawal from the House, on Tuesday last, of all the Liberal Members except two, when thirty-five Conservative Members were present, was by Ministerial arrangement; and, whether, to avoid for the future the repeated counts-out on Tuesday Evening Sittings, he will arrange for the attendance of some Members of the Government to assist in keeping a quorum?


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, at the same time, what has become of the Commercial Treaty between Portugal and Spain?


In answer to the Question of the right hon. and gallant Baronet, what I have to say is, to give an assurance that there was no arrangement whatever made by the Government with regard to the withdrawal of Members from the House. If there was such a process, so far as I know, it would be entirely spontaneous, and be suggested by the nature of the case. With regard to the "Counts-out" on Tuesday evenings, I should say that there may be special circumstances when, if a Motion were in danger, it would be the duty of the Government to attempt to secure, even on Tuesday evenings, the making of a House; but I certainly could not undertake the additional responsibility, which would be handed down, like Egyptian engagements, to our Successors in Office; and I do not think it would be fair to impose such an obligation upon the Members of any Government.


I will ask the Question on Thursday.