§ (Dr. Farquharson)
§ [BILL 210.] COMMITTEE.
§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Deputy Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Dr. Farquharson.)
§ MR. HERMON-HODGE (Lancashire, Accrington)
I rise to move the adjournment of the debate, and I hope that in doing so I am not taking any step which may be considered improper on the part of a new Member, or that I am doing anything which is contrary to the letter of the law which regulates Parliamentary usage, of which I am somewhat ignorant; but I am sure it is contrary to the spirit in which legislation is carried on in this House that a Bill of vital importance to those who are immediately affected by it should be rushed through Committee at this hour of the morning (2.10 a.m.), especially when it was only at half-past 2 o'clock yesterday morning that the second reading was agreed to, after what I venture to say was but a brief and somewhat inadequate discussion. I must plead my ignorance of the Rules of Procedure for not placing a block to the second reading of the Bill. I found an hon. Member had anticipated me in doing so, and I was not aware that the block had been taken off; and I venture to say a large number of other hon. Members were ignorant that the block had been removed. 616 Therefore it was that the second reading was taken with but a slight amount of opposition. Without trespassing upon the attention of the House further, I beg to move that this debate be now adjourned.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned." —(Mr. Sermon-Hodge.)
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hermon-Hodge) has anticipated the action I myself intended to take. I merely intended to move you, Sir, out of the Chair, and then to propose to report Progress. I know that several Members are deeply interested in this Bill, and desire some time to consider it, and to put down what Amendments they think necessary. If the House will consent to you leaving the Chair, I shall be very pleased to postpone the consideration of the Bill in Committee.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
In consequence of the remarks which fell from the hon. Member (Mr. Hermon-Hodge), I feel called upon to explain why I withdrew my block to the second reading of the Bill.
MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman's remarks would not be relevant to the Motion for the adjournment of the debate.
§ MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)
Sir, the hon. Gentleman (Dr. Farquharson) who moved that you do leave the Chair, has, I understand, undertaken that if the House will assent to his Motion, he will move that the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again on Tuesday, the 19th instant. That will give ample opportunity to hon. Members who desire to put down Amendments, or to challenge the principle of the Bill to do so, I trust, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hermon-Hodge) will see his way to withdraw his Motion.
§ MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith)
I do not quite share the view of the hon. Member (Mr. Chance). As far as I understand the Rules of the House, they are to the effect that any hon. Member has the right to address you upon the principle of a measure on the question that you do leave the Chair; but that no hon. Member is at liberty to address you upon the principle of a Bill upon any particular clause in Committee, Therefore, I should strongly advise my 617 hon. Friend (Mr. Hermon-Hodge) to press his Motion for the adjournment of the debate to a Division; because, if it foe carried, he will be able, when the Motion that you do leave the Chair is again made, to raise a discussion on the principle involved in the Bill. If he allows the Bill to get into Committee, he will be confined to the discussion of the clauses as they are put by the Chairman of Committees.
§ DR. TANNER
I am certainly inclined to support the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Accrington (Mr. Hermon-Hodge); because there are several subjects in connection with the Bill which demand investigation. It has been alleged that the Bill will assimilate the English and Scotch law relating to the chemist and druggist trade to that of Ireland; but I am not at sill satisfied on the point, and, therefore, it is as well time should be allowed for consideration.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I think my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeenshire (Dr. Farquharson) would do well to assent to the adjournment of the debate. The second reading of the Bill was only agreed to between 2 and 3 o'clock yesterday morning, and, therefore, it is hardly wise in him to wish to take another stage now. This is an important measure, one affecting the livelihood of thousands of persons.
§ MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, W.)
As a matter of Parliamentary tactics, I advise the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hermon-Hodge) to persevere with his Motion. If the Speaker gets out of the Chair, the opponents of a Bill become completely powerless. If the hon. Gentleman persists in his Motion, and puts a block to the Bill, the probability is that he will obtain an opportunity of discussing the Bill on its merits at a reasonable time of night. I am very strongly in favour of the adjournment of the debate on this particular Bill at this particular time.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 93; Noes 29: Majority 64.—(Div. List, No. 90.)
§ Debate adjourned till Tuesday 19th April.