§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he wished to ask the Postmaster General a Question with reference to the Telegraph Acts Amendment Bill, which stood for second reading on Friday next. He had given Notice of an Amendment to the second reading, and his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) had also placed an Amendment on the Paper to the same Motion. It was desirable that the matter should be fully discussed, and he wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman would consent to postpone the second reading until some day after Whitsuntide, when the House would have a fair opportunity of discussing and settling this important question?
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE,
in reply, said, that the Bill would stand first on 948 the Orders on Friday, and even if it were found necessary to introduce the Welsh Intermediate Education Bill, he did not apprehend that it would occupy much time. Therefore, there would be an ample opportunity for the discussion of the Telegraphs Bill on that day. At the same time, he was not disposed to adopt a course which would be inconvenient to the noble Lord and to the House. He did not understand that the noble Lord was opposed to the second reading of the Bill, but that he objected to some of its details. If the measure was to come into operation in August next it was necessary that the second reading should be taken before Whitsuntide, otherwise it would be impossible to make the required arrangements for the 6d. telegrams. He would therefore suggest to the noble Lord that he should allow the second reading to be taken on Friday, and that the discussion on his Motion should be postponed until the Committee stage. He would undertake to give as early a day as possible for the discussion after Whitsuntide.
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
Is the Postmaster General not aware that while the Telegraph Bill may be the first Order on Friday the first item of Business for that day will be the Motion for the adjournment of the House?
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, the Motion for the adjournment of the House on Friday would, be made on Thursday. Therefore, the Telegraph Bill would stand first on Friday, barring the possibility of the Welsh Intermediate Education Bill being taken on that day.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he had no alternative but to accept the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General. He begged, therefore, to give Notice that he should postpone his Motion until the House went into Committee on the Bill.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
asked, with regard to the Welsh Intermediate Education Bill, if it was intended to move for leave to introduce the Bill pro forma on Thursday, so that it might be placed on the Paper as an Order, otherwise it would not have precedence on Friday?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, the Government proposed to put down on Thursday as the first Order the second reading of the East India Loan 949 Bill. That would be followed by the introduction of the Welsh Intermediate Education Bill, and then at an early hour they would make the Motion for the adjournment of the House on Friday over the Recess. The Attorney General would make a statement with reference to the Registration Bills.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir HENRY JAMES)
said, he had received communications to the effect that the Amendments to the Registration Bills in the Lords were likely to be few and brief, and that their Lordships would sit to-morrow at 11 o'clock to complete the final stages. Under those circumstances, the Bills should be in the House of Commons by 12 o'clock, when it assembled, and the Amendments would be printed and distributed to Members at the Vote Office. No one could overrate the importance of disposing of these Bills before Whitsuntide; and bearing in mind that unless these Amendments were considered to-morrow, they would have to be put off until after the Holidays, as the Lords would rise on Thursday, he hoped the House would allow the Government to proceed with them to-morrow.