HC Deb 10 August 1887 vol 318 cc1881-2

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, after the discussion at the meeting of Scotch Members yesterday, and the opinions there expressed, the University Bill and the Technical Education Bill were to be proceeded with?

MR. ANDERSON (Elgin and Nairn)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, if the Government had come to a decision in reference to the Scotch Land Bill?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

These Questions are very much Questions for the House. It is not in the power of the Government to manufacture time. We are anxious to proceed with all the measures for the advantage of Scotland, and the improvement of the law relating to Scotland; but I am really not able to say which of them we will proceed with. It depends on the length to which discussions extend, both in regard to Scotch measures and in Supply. As regards the Universities Bill, if we gather that, in the opinion of Scotch Members, further time is necessary for the consideration of that measure, we shall not press it this Session; but in that respect also we follow rather than lead, and desire to defer to the wishes of Members representing Scottish constituencies.


asked the Government to consider whether, in view of the universal expression of opinion at the meeting yesterday, the Universities Bill should be proceeded with?

MR. PRESTON BRUCE (Fifeshire, W.)

May I ask the First Lord of the Treasury, whether some information has not reached him from the Secretary for Scotland as to the very general expression of opinion at a meeting which took place yesterday at Dover House? I do not think there was any point on which the large number of Scotch Members who were present were more unanimous than in declaring that they did not wish this Bill to be proceeded with this Session. I have to ask whether all we did and said yesterday has to be gone over again in the House to-day at the expense of the public time?


Certainly not. Any expression of opinion of the kind described undoubtedly would decide the course of the Government. But the hon. Gentleman must be aware that, after sitting in this House till 3 o'clock in the morning, or nearly 3 o'clock, it is not possible for Members of the Government to have that communication with each other which he seems to consider must be so exceedingly easy. But I will undertake to say that any understanding arrived at between the Scotch Members and the Secretary for Scotland shall be observed.


A Question will be asked to-morrow with reference to the Universities Bill.


I understand from the hon. Gentleman himself—and I take his word for it—that the general feeling of the Scotch Members yesterday was that the Universities Bill should not be proceeded with. I understand that to be the general feeling of the Scotch Members; and, under these circumstances, the Bill will not be taken.


Is the Scotch Land Bill to he proceeded with?


I have not had an opportunity of conferring upon the subject; but I certainly will endeavour to meet the wishes of Gentlemen from Scotland as far as it is possible to do so.