§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, the Motion for which he had obtained the first place for September 7 being purely a matter of finance, and 796 one which had excited a good deal of interest outside, the Government would permit him to go on with it on that day? In the event of the noble Lord not being in a position to accede to that request, he would venture most earnestly to appeal to him, as the question had not been delayed by any action on his part, as he had pressed it on the attention of the House for some time, and as 30 pensions had been commuted since the matter was first raised, whether the Government would undertake that no further commutation should take place until Parliament had an opportunity of expressing an opinion on the subject?
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
said, that he had on the Paper to-morrow a Motion drawing attention to the gross inequality of the existing poor rate; and he wished to know whether the noble Lord proposed that the Government Orders should take precedence of the Notices of Motion to-morrow?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL) (Paddington, S.)
In reply to the hon. Member who asked the last Question, I should imagine I should be only consulting the general convenience of the House in asking the House to give precedence to Government Orders for tomorrow. I hardly think the hon. Member would himself be of opinion that he could usefully this Session, and at this period of the year, draw attention to the very important subject of which he has given Notice, and therefore it would be my intention to ask the House to agree to the same Resolutions which they adopted last Tuesday. In reply to the hon. Member for Northampton, it would be obvious to him that, even if he brought on his Motion to-morrow and obtained the Committee, that Committee could not possibly proceed to work this Session; and, therefore, the Government would not be inclined to make any exception in the case of the Motion of the hon. Member. But I may add this—that the Government are quite sensible of the importance of the subject with which he has been so long connected, and they are equally sensible of the fact that a great deal of public attention has, by his efforts, been directed to the question of perpetual pensions; and they will be perfectly prepared next Session, if the hon. Member should persevere with this Motion, to grant the Committee for 797 which, he asks. I would only say, in view of the statement he made, that a great number of pensions had been commuted since 1881, that I would beg him to bear in mind that neither this Government nor the Conservative Government in Office from June last year to January this year are responsible for the commutation of any one of these pensions. In the meantime, and until the hon. Member brings on his Motion next Session, which I hope he will do early, no further pensions will be commuted.