HC Deb 30 July 1885 vol 300 cc525-6

I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, considering the great interest taken in the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, he will make that Bill the first Order after the Report of Supply?


I am afraid that I find myself in a difficult position in this matter. Twice, at least, I have given a distinct promise to the House, and especially to the right hon. Gentleman the late Postmaster General, that the Telegraph Acts Amendment Bill should follow the Report of Supply. I do not think that I can fairly depart from that promise.


I quite recognize the desire to proceed at once with the Criminal Law Amendment Bill; but the difficulty I have felt in postponing the Telegraph Bill until next week is that there may be but few Members left in the House to discuss it. I would suggest, however, that the Government should put the Telegraph Bill down as the second Order for to- morrow, and that if the Criminal Law Amendment Bill is not concluded by 12 o'clock Progress should be reported.


No, Sir; I cannot agree to that suggestion. It might be that the House would be in the middle of a discussion on important points in the Bill, and we should have to report Progress in order to proceed with the other measure. There is a universal feeling that, at any rate, the Telegraph Bill should not be used to delay the progress of the other Bill; and if the House is willing to consent to it I should suggest that we should proceed with the Committee on the Telegraph Bill to-night, on the understanding that whatever happens it should not be continued, say, beyond 9 o'clock.