HC Deb 17 June 1886 vol 306 cc1820-1

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Second Reading be deferred till To-morrow."


I would appeal to the hon. Member in charge of this Bill to put off the Committe stage for a week. It is blocked by no fewer than seven Members, and the result of keeping the Order on the Paper from day to day is to keep a large number of Members down here waiting on the chance of its being reached by half-past 12. Either let him move that the Order be discharged, or put the Committee stage off for a week.


The Government are anxious to pass this Bill. There is a general consensus of opinion in favour of it. ["No, no!"] Well, of course, I do not include those Gentlemen who have put down Notice of opposition; but, apart from these, there is a consensus of opinion in favour of the measure. Amongst the public generally there is a strong feeling in favour of the amendment of the law in direction of this Bill.


The hon. Member in charge of the Bill has himself put it off till this day. It is by his direction that is is being deferred.

MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, W.)

I desire to point out that this Bill is of a peculiar nature. It came down from the Lords on the 2nd of April, but no attempt was made to get on with it here until Friday night last. The Prime Minister, in his statement the other day, intimated that it was not intended that contested legislation which had not gone considerable length in this House should be pushed on. Well, what did the Government do? They have resolutely adhered to this Bill. So far as we know they are the only parties who have anything to do with it. They introduced it last Friday, and put down the second reading for to-day. There are some of my hon. Friends who have a strong objection to the Bill. I do not know what the objection is, but that it is strong is plain from the fact that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Londonderry (Mr. T. M. Healy) requested me to telegraph to him if any attempt was made to push the Bill on in his absence, and that he would come over specially to oppose it. That looks something very different from what the the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General told us—that there was something like a general consensus of opinion in favour of the measure. It is a Bill of a contentious character. Many hon. Gentleman object to its principle. There may be many in favour of it; still, it is obvious that it is not a Bill which comes within the category of Bills that the Prime Minister says are not really of a contentious character. I would appeal to the Government in this matter not to give assistance to some Gentleman or other behind the scenes whom I do not know. Who it is that gives instructions to the Clerks at the Table to keep Bills alive from day to day and give us the trouble of coming here to watch them, I do not know. I think we are justified in moving that the Order be discharged.


I should not think it my duty to put that from the Chair, inasmuch as the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir Henry James) has notified that he desires it put down for to-day.


My right hon. and learned Friend communicated with me on the subject, and asked me to take charge of it between this and to-morrow. I will represent to him what has been said, and it will be for him to consider whether, by restricting the operation of the Bill to England and Scotland, the objections taken by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite may not be removed.

MR. SEXTON (Sligo, S.)

There can be very little use in putting this Bill off. The appearance of the Order Paper shows the feeling of the Irish Members on the matter, and the statement of my hon. Friend (Mr. Biggar) as to the feeling of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Londonderry (Mr. T. M. Healy) affords a strong corroboration, if one were needed.

Motion agreed to.

Second Reading deferred till To-morrow.