HC Deb 07 July 1885 vol 298 cc1944-8

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. ACLAND be nominated a Member of the Select Committee on the Pluralities Bill."—(Mr. Acland.)


ventured to make an appeal to the hon. Gentleman who had charge of the Bill that he would not attempt to proceed with it at that hour of the morning. It had been an understanding that contentious Bills, especially those connected with ecclesiastical matters, should be dropped for the remainder of the Session. There were objections to the proposal now made generally; but he (Mr. Illingworth) went beyond that and objected to the scheme which the hon. Gentleman had embodied in the Bill he called the Pluralities Bill. The question was brought forward at an untimely hour; it was an important question, and he would venture to move that the Committee be nominated on that day six weeks. He would point out that the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had shown very scant courtesy to a great number of Members in the House by the particular form of Committee he proposed. The hon. Member had violated a sound Rule laid down for the setting up of Committees. What was it he proposed? Why, to make very important changes in connection with one of their great National Institutions; and, under the circumstances, he (Mr. Ming-worth) wished to ask why any class of Members in the House was to be excluded from the Committee? Every hon. Gentleman that the hon. Member had selected to be put on the Committee was an adherent of the Church of England. The hon. Member might say, as many others said, that when the subject to be inquired into was something affecting the management of the Church of England, Nonconformists had nothing to do with it; but he objected to such a doctrine being adopted by Members of that House. Take the case of Wales, for instance. The Church of England affected that country in every corner; but was it to be expected that 29 out of 30 Members of the Principality were to be excluded from the Committee, and one put on it who happened to be the minority Member for Wales? From that sole illustration, it would be seen that it would be an unseemly thing at that period of the Session—just on the close of the Business, and under very changed circumstances from those attending the commencement—to be asked to proceed with the Bill. Then, he would ask, how was it that English Nonconformists were not to be on the Committee? Were they to take it for granted that the Church was a National Institution when they saw that when anything affecting it was brought in a large class in the House and the country were told that they had nothing to do with it? He maintained that so long as the Church of England was a National Institution it was a gross injustice and very offensive to exclude from a Parliamentary Inquiry one class of Representatives of Her Majesty's subjects. Therefore, on the question of the character of the Committee which his hon. Friend had set up, he thought the hon. Member would be well advised in withdrawing the Committee for the present time, and resolving upon dealing with it in the new Parliament on different lines. But he (Mr. Illingworth) would go very much further than that. ["Divide!"] If he could only be sure that his hon. Friend would respond to the appeal he (Mr. Illingworth) was making, he should be satisfied, and would not go on further. When they had agreed that all contentious Business should be abandoned for the rest of the Session, the Bill of his hon. Friend should not be made an exception to the rule. He begged to move that the Select Committee be nominated that day six weeks.


The course the hon. Gentleman probably proposes to take is to move the adjournment of the debate. The Question before the House is that Mr. Acland be a Member of the Committee.


Yes, Sir; I will move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—[Mr. Illingworth.)


said, he was very loth to take up the time of the House at that hour of the morning (2.20 A.M.). He would, however, remind his hon. Friend that the Bill had been read a second time after some discussion in the House. The hon. Gentleman was not present on that occasion; but Notice of opposition was given by one or two hon. Members below the Gangway who agreed very much with his hon. Friend's views. He (Mr. Acland) had invited one of them to become a Member of the Committee, but he had declined. He should be very glad, and he knew that those interested in the Bill would be very glad, to add to the Committee any names that his hon. Friend might wish to add; but after having had a second reading without a division, he thought it would be extremely unfair to those who were interested in the measure if they did not proceed with the proposal before the Committee.

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.


The "Noes" have it.


The hon. Member is too late. He will have an opportunity of taking a division on the next name.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Lord EDWARD CAVENDISH be nominated one other Member of the Committee."—(Mr. Acland.)


I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Illingworth.)

The House divided:—Ayes 7; Noes 35: Majority 28.—(Div. List, No. 213.)

Original Question again proposed.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,

House adjourned at half after Two o'clock.