§ MR. RAIKES (Cambridge University)
I wish, Sir, with your permission, to put a Question to you. I wish to ask whether, in your opinion, the Orders of the Day, as they appear upon the Paper, have been properly made out? Until this morning a Bill which stands in my name—the Tithe Rent-Charge Recovery Bill—stood first on the Orders of the Day. It was, in fact, an unopposed Bill until this morning. I now find that there are on the Notice Paper seven Orders before it, including Supply. Six of these Orders are Government Orders, as to which, of course, there is no question, as this is a Government night; but I find, Sir, that among the Orders the second on the list is the Labourers (Ireland) Acts Amendment Bill, which is not a Government Bill, but a Bill introduced by a private Member. Standing Order No, 96 is as follows:— 1374The Orders of the Day are to be disposed of in the order in which they stand upon the Paper; the right being reserved to Her Majesty's Ministers of placing Government Orders at the head of the List, in the rotation in which they are to be taken, on the days on which Government Bills have precedence.Now, I do not see in that Order any power given to Her Majesty's Government to give precedence to one private Member's Bill over that of another private Member; and as it appears to me that this is a matter of very considerable importance with regard to the Business of the House, I venture, very humbly, to ask your opinion on the subject whether this Order Paper to-day has been properly made out, seeing that it gives precedence to one private Member's Bill over that of another private Member, which stood first on the Order Paper until this morning?
§ MR. SPEAKER
There have been repeated cases in which the course objected to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge has been taken. For instance, the University Tests (Dublin) Bill was put down as the first Order of the Day in 1873, taking precedence of other Orders which originally stood before it. There have been other instances, to which, however, I have not had an opportunity of referring.
§ MR. RAIKES
Do I understand you to rule, Sir, that it is competent to the Government to give precedence to any Bill they prefer over the Bills of other private Members?
§ MR. SPEAKER
Yes; on the days on which the Government have the disposal of the Business, that is so.