HC Deb 20 March 1885 vol 296 cc63-4

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary, How it is that the Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill, which was on the Paper last night, is not down for to-day?


It is a clerical error. I will put it down for Monday.


I beg to give Notice that, on the Report of Ways and Means, I will call attention to the course pursued in recent Sittings of the House by the Chief Secretary with regard to Notices of Motion standing in his name to bring in Bills relating to Irish affairs.


I can make an explanation now, and save the hon. Member the trouble of putting down this Notice. There were three Bills on Irish matters last night, and one of them I found was a Money Bill, which should be introduced in Committee; and so I put that down for to-night. There were two Bills on the Paper; but the hon. Members maintained a pretty active discussion until past 3 o'clock this morning, and, when it came to that hour, I thought the best thing we could do was to go home to bed. The two Bills were to be put down for to-night; but by a clerical error this was not done. They will be put down for Monday.


I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Irish Members could not at any time for an hour and a-half last night have counted out the House, but that, partly with a view not to inconvenience the Government by rendering the vote of the Report of Supply futile, and partly to enable the Chief Secretary to bring in these Irish Bills in which they were interested, they did not do so; and why, under these circumstances, after promising to bring in the Bills, the right hon. Gentleman deliberately left the House the moment before Mr. Speaker would call on him to move them?


I have already explained that I intended to bring forward the Bills; but the hon. Members, as I have said, kept up a pretty long discussion, principally amongst themselves, upon various Irish subjects, on which discussion was impossible, for everyone who could reply had long previously exhautsed his power of debate, and by the Rules of the House could not speak again. After that was over, I thought everyone would be anxious to go home to bed. The hon. Members were not kept waiting for these Bills, as they had provided themselves with abundant other matters for discussion.