§ THE SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. C. T. D. ACLAND) (Cornwall, Launceston)
said, he wished to call attention to the fact that there were four out of the first six Bills that had been put down in a prominent position among the Orders, of which none had been printed. He wished to emphasize the exceeding inconvenience of that practice, because it necessitated the presence of Ministers who were responsible for the conduct of Government Bills, and who must be early in their places to see that such Bills were not moved by any other Member present. In the case of the last—the Merchandise Marks Act (1882) Amendment Bill—the hon. Member in 340 charge of it was aware that the Government were preparing a Bill which would cover all the points which his Bill dealt with.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL (Paddington, S.)
said, that he must remind the Home Secretary of his attitude upon this question on a recent occasion. He was astonished that the right hon. Gentleman should have allowed the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Acland) to make the remarks he had made. He entirely agreed with the remarks of the hon. Gentleman; but it would be in the Home Secretary's recollection that some four or five weeks ago he (Lord Randolph Churchill) appealed to the House to put a stop to the practice of obtaining leave to bring in Bills and Members not troubling to have them printed and circulated. He, at that time, appealed to the House to take some strong action in the matter, in order to avoid the recurrence of the inconvenience, and the Home Secretary got up and pointedly disagreed with him, although the general feeling of the House was undoubtedly in his favour; so that if the scandal had reached so great a height that four Bills had been put down, none of which had been printed and circulated, the blame lay with the Government, and principally with the Home Secretary.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. CHILDERS) (Edinburgh, S.)
said, that the noble Lord was quite mistaken in making this attack upon him. The noble Lord attacked him as if he was a schoolmaster, and as if he was to tell his hon. Friend (Mr. Acland) whether he might or might not make a speech in which the noble Lord agreed. That was absurd. The noble Lord was entirely mistaken. He had always held the same doctrine as his hon. Friend. He made no such remarks as the noble Lord had attributed to him. He was not even in the House on the occasion.
Then the noble Lord's recollection is quite in error. I could not have said that which I have always resisted to the utmost on half-a-dozen occasions.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
said, that on the question of fact he must appeal to the Speaker, because the 341 action he took would be in the recollection of that right hon. Gentleman. He (Lord Randolph Churchill) suggested to an hon. Member below the Gangway that the Order should be read and discharged on a particular Bill, on the ground that the Bill had not been printed. It would be in the recollection of the Speaker and the House that the Home Secretary disagreed with his remarks.
said, that he hoped he might be allowed to say, in explanation, that he did not agree with the proposal of the noble Lord that the Order should be discharged. That was a totally different question. It was in accordance with the Rules of the House that, under the circumstances of the particular case, the Order should be discharged. He believed it was sound doctrine that merely because a Bill was not printed was no ground for discharging the Order. But that was not the point of objection of his hon. Friend (Mr. Acland).
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that perhaps he ought to say that the noble Lord was perfectly correct in this respect—that a reference was made to him (Mr. Speaker) on a question as to whether a certain Bill should be put off to that distant date. He then stated, from the Chair, that it was unusual and highly inconvenient that, in the absence of the hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill, it should be so put off; because the hon. Gentleman might come down some time later, and find that the Bill had been discharged in his absence. On the present occasion a Bill had been put off; but only on the authority of an hon. Gentleman acting on behalf of the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill.