HC Deb 05 May 1885 vol 297 cc1626-8

Order for Second Reading read. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Amendment proposed, "That the Order be postponed until Tuesday the 12th instant."—(Mr. Webster.)


said, he should like to know upon what ground the second reading of this Bill was to be again postponed? It had been put down upon the Paper for second reading once before and postponed, and he wished to know what reason there was why the discussion should not be taken now?


said, he had moved the postponement of the second reading in the absence of his hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Sir Charles Forster), who was unable to be present. He understood that the postponement had the consent of the parties interested.


said, it seemed to him to be an extraordinary proceeding that this Bill should be put off in this way from time to time. To a great many hon. Members, who might admire the engineering skill displayed by the promoters of the Bill, it was a matter of great inconvenience to be obliged to come down to the House time after time at that early hour and sacrifice other important engagements in order to oppose the Bill, and then to find that its consideration was suddenly postponed. He understood that the President of the Board of Trade, who was absent at that moment, had decided upon giving a strong opposition to the Bill. If that was the case, why was not the right hon. Gentlemen now present, unless there were some strong reason to the contrary, in order to inform the House whether the Bill was to be discussed or not? This was not the first time that the second reading had been put off, and it would be a great convenience to those who had other matters to attend to if they could know when the discussion was really intended to come on, so that they should not be brought down to the House needlessly for the purpose of opposing the Bill.


said, that as his name was down upon the Paper as objecting to the second reading of the Bill, he hoped he might be allowed to explain what he knew of this transaction. A fortnight ago he was told, at 20 minutes to 4 o'clock, that an arrangement had been come to with the President of the Board of Trade to postpone the Bill until that day; and two days ago he received an intimation from the promoters that they had again made arrangements with the President of the Board of Trade to put the discussion off until that day week. As an independent Member he could not himself refuse to accede to that arrangement; but he quite agreed with the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Hussey Vivian) that it was most inconvenient that a Bill of this character, in which a large number of Members took an interest, should be put off from time to time, and perhaps brought on in the end when hon. Members might not expect it. He must express a hope that it would now be clearly understood that under no circumstances would the second reading be put off again if it were now allowed to be fixed for that day week.


remarked that as this was the second time the Bill had appeared upon the Paper, he did not think he would be doing wrong to move that the Order for the Second Beading be discharged.


That would be contrary to the usual practice.


Then I have no desire to press it.


wished to say a few words upon the Bill if it would be in Order for him to do so.


The hon. Gentleman would not be in Order in discussing the merits of the Bill upon a proposal to defer the second reading until a future day.

Second Reading deferred till Tuesday next.

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