§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
With reference to the Notice which stands in the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to suspending the Standing Orders to-morrow, I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman what Business he proposes to take then; and whether he will, as I believe has always been customary, give a pledge that the Government will move the adjournment of the House to-morrow as soon as the Government Business is disposed of?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
When the right hon. Gentleman rose I was about to make the Motion of which I had given Notice—namely, that the Standing Orders relating to Wednesday Sittings be suspended to-morrow. I propose this, of course, with the view of winding up the Business of the Session; and I think the right hon. Gentleman is quite within his rights in asking for such an undertaking as he has suggested, and which I am prepared to give. I have communicated with the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Hartington), who has, as is the customary practice, undertaken to second the Vote of Thanks to Her Majesty's Forces for their services in the Soudan; and I have ascertained that it would be more convenient for many reasons that the Vote should be proposed to-morrow instead of Thursday. I therefore propose that the House should meet, if my Resolution is carried, at 3 o'clock to-morrow. The first Business will be the Vote of Thanks 1743 to Her Majesty's Forces for their services in the Soudan; and then we shall proceed with any Business on the Paper that may not be completed to-night, with the Report and remaining stages of the Irish Land Purchase Bill, and with the Report on the Housing of the Working Classes Bill, if the Committee should, as I anticipate, conclude to-night. Then there is another Bill which also stands on the Paper, to which I observe there is no opposition—the Educational Endowments (Ireland) Bill. That Bill has passed the House of Lords; and if it is read a second time to-night, I hope we shall be able to take the Committee and final stages to-morrow. That would leave no further Business for the House to consider. In that case we might possibly be able to adjourn over Thursday, and the Prorogation might take place on Friday or Saturday, at the latest. These arrangements, of course, depend upon the progress made to-night and to-morrow. I therefore make the formal Motion that the Standing Orders in regard to Wednesday Sittings be suspended.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Standing Orders relating to Wednesday Sittings be suspended Tomorrow."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
thought the House would not object, to the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. Such a Motion was quite reasonable, and according to precedent. He only wished it to be made perfectly clear that when the Business to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred, or such of it as was not concluded that night, had been dealt with, he would then, on behalf of the Government, move the adjournment of the House, and that no other Business would be taken.
§ MR. COLERIDGE KENNARD
hoped he might be permitted to put in a plea for the Police Enfranchisement Bill. Two years had been engaged in enfranchising people, and it would be hard, if they were to separate without bestowing some slight attention on this important subject. They might reject the Bill if they pleased; but he appealed to the Government to give the House an opportunity of discussing it.
§ MR. BRYCE
hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would also take into his consideration the Infants Bill, which had 1744 passed the House of Lords, and which had received the approval of the highest Legal Authorities in the other House.
§ MR. SEXTON
pointed out that the Lords had made considerable Amendments in the Labourers (Ireland) Bill; and he wished to know if those Amendments would be taken into consideration to-morrow?
§ MR. BRODRICK
endorsed the appeal of the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Coleridge Kennard), with reference to the Police Enfranchisement Bill. He had lately addressed a number of meetings in different parts of the country, and was in a position to say that there was a very strong feeling in favour of taking the sense of the House upon the measure. If that was not done the attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to it would be misinterpreted at the Election.
§ SIR HENRY JAMES
said, they must take their chance of being misinterpreted; but the remarks of the hon. Member explained the action of some of the supporters of this Bill, who were anxious that their views should not be misinterpreted. He hoped the House would not regard this as a Party question; but he wished to point out that in the present condition of the House it was impossible to obtain an adequate expression of opinion on this Bill.
§ MR. SPEAKER
interposed, and said that on the Motion now before the House it was out of Order to discuss the provisions of particular Bills.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER,
in reply to the main question, reminded the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) that the death sentence on his little Bill had been pronounced by the right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain). It would be quite impossible for him to give special favours to the hon. Gentleman as against other hon. Members. For the same reason he was afraid that he could not do anything with regard to the Police Enfranchisement Bill. He sympathized largely with his hon. Friend (Mr. Coleridge Kennard) in the efforts which he had made to obtain the consideration of his Bill by the House. If he had been more fortunate in that respect he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) believed that the Bill would have been carried by a considerable ma- 1745 jority; but he would remind his hon. Friend that even if it came on to-morrow, it was hardly possible that it could become law in the very limited time that remained of the present Session. Of course, the Government Business tomorrow would include the consideration of the Lords' Amendments to the Labourers' (Ireland) Bill, and at the close of the Government Business he would move the adjournment of the House.
§ Motion agreed to.