HC Deb 09 July 1885 vol 299 cc238-43

nominated other Members of the Select Committee on Pluralities Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Sir RICHARD CROSS be one other Member of the said Committee."—{Mr. Acland.)


said, he must make an appeal to his hon. Friend (Mr. Acland) to content himself with the efforts he had made to legislate on this subject this Session. Many other Bills had been dropped, and it would be no greater hardship to the hon. Gentleman than it had been to others to forego his measure for a time. It was impossible that the Committee could hold a proper inquiry and present a Report this Session. His hon. Friend might have an idea that this was a small thing to undertake; but, as a matter of fact, it was a question of the first importance, affecting the whole of the clergy of the country. The title of the Bill was the Pluralities Bill, but that by no means covered the ground; a much better title would be the Clergy Disability Bill. The whole of the clergy in the country were deeply interested in an effective Bill. The Bill, as drawn, was the most inefficient thing that could have been proposed. Further than that, his hon. Friend had not given due consideration to the composition of the Committee. While the hon. Gentleman might now be willing to admit a slight modification, the modification would not really meet the necessities of the case. He did not hesitate to say that his hon. Friend had been going on the lines of proscription towards certain Members of the House.


rose to Order. He wished to know whether it was open to the hon. Member (Mr. Illingworth) on the Question put by the Chair-— namely, that certain Members of the House be Members of the Committee, to enter upon a discussion of the principle of the Bill?


The House is now engaged in nominating the Members of the Committee. It is not, therefore, competent for the hon. Member to reopen the whole subject.


said, that upon the question of names put by the Chair he ventured to ask whether the House had security that the Gentleman (Sir R. Assheton Cross) nominated, and others who had been associated with him in the list of the Committee, would do what was fair and reasonable to all classes of the people? There had been a manifest intention shown, in the nomination of the Committee, to proscribe a large class of Members of the House. That belief was confirmed. [Cries of "Order!"] He was dealing with the Question. The Gentleman whose name had now been given from the Chair, and those with whom he was associated, belonged exclusively to one religious denomination; and, therefore, he thought the nomination of the Committee should be deferred to some occasion when it could be debated in a reasonable way. What he did object to, and what other hon. Members objected to, and what a great number of people worthy of their consideration in the country objected to, was that such a line should be taken by a Liberal Member. Moreover, there was no opportunity for anything which could be said at this period of the morning (2.20 a.m.) appearing in print, or of canvassing hon. Members to ascertain who would be willing to serve on the Committee in order to make it an efficient and representative one. The next name which would be given to them would be that of a Member of the Government (Sir R. Assheton Cross), and he did not know whether that right hon. Gentleman would be able to serve. He ventured to hope-—with great respect and great firmness he ventured to hope —that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Acland) would not proceed further, because if he did it would be their duty to oppose further progress. He begged to move the adjournment of the debate.

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

The House divided: —Ayes 9; Noes 45: Majority 36.—(Div. List, No. 219.)

Original Question put, and agreed to.


Before the name of Sir Richard Cross is put I should like to ask—


That name is passed. The next name is that of Mr. Beresford Hope.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. BERESFORD HOPE be one other Member of the said Committee."


said, he could only appeal again to his hon. Friend, and express a hope that he would not consider that he (Mr. Illingworth) wished to pay him any disrespect. But the hon. Member was only in the same position as other hon. Gentlemen who were in charge of measures relating to questions which were very much "vexed questions," and who, therefore, had to wait for suitable opportunities to pass their Bills. The right hon. Gentleman whose name was before them (Mr. Beresford Hope) was a Gentleman of pronounced views, and ho had been notorious throughout his career in the House for the opposition he had offered to everything which had savoured of an extension of the religious liberty and civil rights of certain classes of Her Majesty's subjects; and he (Mr. Illingworth) could not but think that his hon. Friend would, in the end, succeed far better by abandoning any present intention of going forward with the Bill, or of asking hon. Gentlemen to join him in Committee upstairs. With the names which had been passed, and the one now before them, they would find it very inconvenient to go into the questions which would be brought before the Committee. He, therefore, begged to move that the debate be now adjourned.

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


said, he appreciated the hon. Gentleman's desire, and he would, therefore, move the addition—


It is not competent for the hon. Gentleman to make a Motion.


said, he wished to make a suggestion in the interests of peace. The hon. Member for Bradford was anxious to have Nonconformists represented on the Committee, so he (Mr. J. G. Talbot) understood. He had understood the hon. Member for Cornwall (Mr. Acland) to say the other night that he had asked one or two Nonconformists to be on the Committee, but that they had declined. He would suggest to his hon. Friend that he should now add the names of one or two Nonconformists at the end of the list.


said, he had been on the point of saying that he should be only too glad to accept on the Committee hon. Members of different views. He should be glad to add or substitute names which the hon. Gentleman might think more appropriate.


said, the hon. Member for Bradford had had ample opportunity of giving Notice of names, but had not availed himself of it.


said, he trusted that this wrangle would be a lesson to Members of the Radical Party. Here they found the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford objecting to a series of names one after the other, when, if the old Rules had remained unaltered, he could have prevented the whole of the names from coming on by blocking the Motion. The hon. Member had supported the alteration of the old Rules, and he must now stew in his own juice.


said, he thought it would be desirable to add more hon. Members to the Committee, so that every section of opinion might be represented.

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Motion made, and Question, "That Viscount EMLYN be one other Member of the said Committee," put, and agreed to.


said, that on this name he wished to say a word or two.

Several hon. MEMBERS

It is passed.


I rose when Lord Emlyn's name was mentioned.


I passed the name of Viscount Emlyn, and was proceeding to put the name of Mr. Stafford Howard.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. STAFFORD HOWARD be one other Member of the said Committee."


said, an appeal had been made to him by his hon. Friend who was in charge of the subject—an appeal which was very reasonable. But at that period of the Session they should not ask hon. Members to hurry through an inquiry of this kind. He was satisfied that justice would not be done to it. Many clergymen had written to him begging that he would do everything in his power to prevent the inquiry being hurried through. As matters now stood., he would have every justification for refusing to comply with the appeal which had been made, considering how persistently his hon. Friend (Mr. Acland) had refused to listen to what he thought a most reasonable wish.


said, that to carry out the wishes of the clergymen and others the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Illingworth) had referred to it would be well for him to see that some Nonconformists were appointed on the Committee. The hon. Member for Leeds, whom he (Mr. Albert Grey) had spoken to on the subject, had almost expressed a wish that he should serve. He had said he felt sure that the hon. Member for Southampton—who was away in bed—would, if appointed, be very glad to serve. It was almost a policy of obstruction, and dangerous for that reason, to proceed as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford had done. If that hon. Member would look at his Notice Paper he would see that a quorum of the Committee was to consist of five Members. There were already six or seven Members appointed, and there were nine or ten to come. If it was to be a good Committee, in order to prevent its having that vicious Church of England character which the hon. Member so condemned, he should see that some of his Friends were put on. He (Mr. A. Grey) hoped the hon. Member would not oppose the appointment of the Committee any further.

Question put, and agreed to.

Mr. J. G. HUBBARD, Mr. INDERWICK, Sir JOHN KENNAWAY, Sir JOHN MOWBRAY, Mr. RICHARD PAGET, Mr. RAIKES, Mr. RYLANDS, and Mr. WODEHOUSE, nominated other Members of the said Committee; Five to be the quorum.