HC Deb 17 February 1887 vol 310 cc1778-825
THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

, in rising to move the following Resolution— That the consideration of the proposed Rules of Procedure have precedence of all Orders of the Day and Notices of Motions on every day on which the consideration of those Rules may be set down by the Government, said: It is not my intention to occupy the time of the House at any great length, in order to persuade the House of the necessity for the Order which I desire the House to make this evening. The House is very well aware of the circumstances under which it has become necessary for the Government to propose new Rules of Procedure for the adoption of the House. The grounds upon which I propose to urge the necessity of these Rules, and the necessity of proceeding expeditiously with them, are not grounds which have regard to the advantage of this or any other Government. But the grounds upon which I recommend them is that these Rules are designed to secure the dignity, honour, and capacity of the House to discharge the duties it has undertaken in coming here. I, Sir, have some sense of pain and humiliation as a Member of this House in finding that it is necessary to ask the House to place restrictions upon its own liberty of speech; but the occasion is one which, I think, it will be acknowledged by the House as well as by the country, demands the Order which I desire to move, and requires such a self-restraint as will enable the House, as I believe, to discharge its duties of legislation, and maintain that decorum which should mark the proceedings of the Parliament of this great country. Sir, I have only to point out to the House the number of days that the discussion upon the Address has this Session already occupied, to bring home to every hon. Member a sense of the necessity for the imposition of some restraints upon the prolongation of debate. We are now, Sir, on the first day of the fourth week of the present Session; and we have now arrived at the 16th day of the debate on the Address in the present Session of Parliament. I will state to the House the number of days occupied in the discussion of the Address in past years. In the first Session of 1880 four sitting days were occupied in the discussion of the Address, and in the second Session one day; in the Session of 1881, 11 days; and of 1882, six days; the Session of 1883–84, 10 days; and of 1884, eight days; 1884–85, nine days; in the first Session of 1886, five days; and in the second Session, 10 days were occupied in the debate upon the Address. Under those circumstances, I think the House will admit that it is necessary it should impose some restraint upon itself in the conduct of debate, and in the transaction of the Business necessary for the great interests of the country which are entrusted to it for protection and advancement. I may, no doubt, be told that I have individually opposed the restrictions which are now sought to be imposed. That, as it appears to me, does not enter into the consideration of this question at all. I say I make this proposition to the House with a sense of humiliation, but I admit its absolute necessity. I think nothing short of the course it is now proposed to the House to take will save the House and Parliament from that which will virtually amount to self-destruction—the abnegation of the duties which belong to the Parliament of an enlightened country. I have no doubt I shall be appealed to by hon. Gentlemen to make exceptions in regard to this proposal in favour of a particular Motion or a particular Order which may stand on the Order Book. I say, in advance, that I cannot promise to the House to make any exception whatever. The necessity for the course which I ask the House to take is so extreme—the necessity is so obvious—that the only course we can now pursue is to consider these Rules with as much deliberation as may be necessary, but not more than is necessary, for a proper decision to be arrived at; and then when those Rules, which are absolutely essential, are adopted by the House, I hope we may be able to proceed to Business with as little delay as possible, with as much deliberation and as much discussion, but not more than is necessary for the proper solution of the questions which we have to decide. I beg to move the Resolution which stands in my name.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the consideration of the proposed Rules of Procedure have precedence of all Orders of the Day and Notices of Motions on every day on which the consideration of those Rules may be set down by the Government."—(Mr. William Henry Smith.)

MR. DILLWYN (Swansea, Town)

said, he must appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) not to begin the consideration of the proposed Rules until after Tuesday next. His reason was that—on the first day of the Session—he had secured—in the ballot—for Tuesday, the first place for the discussion of the question of the "Disestablishment of the Church in Wales." [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen laughed. He (Mr. Dillwyn) knew they had got the upper hand in Wales, and they wished to keep it. The question was one which excited the keenest interest in Wales, and, as it had been brought before the last Parliament, he thought his request was not unreasonable.

MR. OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire, E.)

said, he, was as anxious as anyone to get to the Procedure Rules, but he trusted the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) (whose courtesy they all acknowledged) would accept the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn). His position was a peculiar one, for he had been fortunate enough to secure the first place out of 180 Members on the first night of the Session, and, if he was now displaced, the chances against him of getting another night would be something like 20 to 1. His hon. Friend had not attempted, as he might have done, to bring his Motion on by way of Amendment to the Address, and, unlike other Members in similar positions, had a nation behind him; for no one who did not know Wales could conceive how intense was the interest taken by its 1,500,000 inhabitants in the subject. Looking to the disappointment which would otherwise be caused among so large a proportion of Her Majesty's most loyal and law-abiding subjects, he urged the right hon. Gentleman to give way and accede to his hon. Friend's appeal.


I hope the Government may see their way to grant some concession to the request which has been made by my two hon. Friends. I only rise for the purpose of saying that as far as I am concerned, and, I believe, my hon. Friends around me, there is no desire to interpose any obstacle whatever to the proposal of the Government to proceed to the consideration of the amendment of the Rules of Procedure in this House. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury has said that the delay of Public Business in late years has been very remarkable. That is quite true. His enumeration began at 1880, and ended at 1886; and the figures he gave were very instructive, and I think experience has shown how a bad example grows. I have been told—I have not checked the figures myself—that from 1874 to 1880 the debates on the Address during the whole of that Parliament did not take up 11 days. Therefore, we see how this thing has arisen. How did it arise? It arose upon a system much criticized and muck condemned in the present debate—that is to say, on Amendments on the Address. But from what quarter and in what manner did these Amendments proceed? Why, I remember one occasion that after four or five days' debate on the Address, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford (Mr. Chaplin) moved an Amendment on foot-and-mouth disease, merely in order to demand that the Motion should take precedence of all other Motions; admitting that the Government had undertaken to legislate as he wished on the matter. I offer that as an illustration of the manner in which these delays on the Address have arisen. I agree with all that has been said by the right hon. Gentleman on the subject. I think it is greatly to be regretted that so much time is expended in these debates. We, upon this side of the House, have shown every desire to forward an Amendment of the Rules of the House, in order to enable it better to transact the business of the country. In 1882 we proposed a number of new Rules to the House. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman opposite that I am not going to offer any recriminations, and I am not going to remind him of his opinions at that time; but, unfortunately, the question of Procedure was then made a strictly Party question. I hope it will not be made a Party question now. When the penultimate Government of Lord Salisbury came into office, the then Leader of the House (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) laid upon the Table a plan for amending the Procedure of the House. The Government was displaced soon after the plan was laid on the Table; but so far were we on this side of the House from opposing the Amendment of Procedure, that we immediately took up the plan of the right hon. Gentleman, and endeavoured, with certain amendments, to base a plan of our own upon it. Now, I have the permission of the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) to say that that plan, which it was my business to lay before the Committee of last year, was not a plan only of the late Government, and still less of my own; it was a plan drawn up by a private Committee which sat under the auspices of my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale, and of which the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, the present Chairman of Ways and Means, my hon. Friend the Member for the borough of Bedford (Mr. Whitbread), and the present Lord Herschell were Members. That was the authority under which the plan was drawn up, and it was based upon the plan of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). I do not know how far I should be in Order—perhaps, not at all—in referring to the particulars of these Rules. I only want to show that we were desirous not to treat this as a Party question. We referred the plan to a very strong Committee of the House of Commons, presided over by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale, and it was as strong a Committee as could have been got in this House. All I can say is that, with every desire to forward any proposal for facilitating the Business of this House, I cannot but very deeply regret that the plan the Government have laid upon the Table is a plan that widely differs from, and wholly overthrows, first of all, their own plan of 1886; and then, in its most fundamental principles, the plan approved by that strong Committee of the House of Commons presided over by the noble Marquess. I am sorry to say, generally, that I consider the plan that the Government have laid on the Table is very inefficient. I do not object to it because it is too strong; I object to it because it is not half strong enough. My belief is that they have thrown overboard altogether what was really the main part of the plan of the Committee presided over by my noble Friend—namely, the referring of all the Committee stages of the Bills to Standing Committees of the House, and thereby relieving the House.—[Cries of "Order!"] I do not wish to say anything to arouse opposition on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite; I am only saying I wish that the plan had been a plan corresponding to that recommended by the Committee of the House, and that it was one likely to prove more efficient; but so far as the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman to proceed with the discussion of the plan is concerned, I have no word to say against it. The responsibility, after all, rests with the Government. Bat there is one question upon which I should like to have an answer from the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. It was, I think, in 1882 there was some opportunity given of discussing the plan as a whole. It is obvious that many particular parts of it depend one upon another, and you cannot discuss one without referring to the other. What I should like to know is, on what stage it will be possible to discuss these Resolutions as a whole, as upon a second reading, so as to be able to discuss the bearings of one Resolution upon another? I venture to hope that some such opportunity will be given.

SIR HUSSEY VIVIAN (Swansea, District)

, in rising to support the appeal to the Government on behalf of the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea, said, he wished to do so in the strongest possible manner. The question which it brought up was really a national one, besides being of the last importance to the inhabitants of the whole Principality. It was no obstructive Motion. Indeed he would remind the Government that Welsh Members had never in any way interfered with the progress of Business. He acknowledged the importance of taking the earliest possible day for the Resolutions on Procedure, and he himself would do his best to support the right hon. Gentleman opposite; but he ventured to suggest that it would be most cruel to take away the only opportunity of discussing in the House of Commons the question brought forward by the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn). He could assure the Government that any such attempt would be most bitterly resented in Wales.


I must very earnestly support the respectful appeal made to the right hon. Gentleman, the First Lord of the Treasury, by my hon. Colleagues from the Principality. The right hon. Gentleman knows very well how difficult it is amid the hot competition which now prevails in this House for a private Member to secure a place for bringing forward any Motion or Bill And when a Member has been fortunate at the ballot, it is very hard that the advantage he has gained should be wrested from his hands by the Government. Indeed, one of the crying sin of recent proceedings in this House is he tendency shown by Governments—by all Governments—to encroach on the right of private Members. All who are acquainted with the history of progress in this country are aware that almost every step that has been taken in advance, in the reform of every kind, of our institutions has begun by Resolutions, generally what are called abstract Resolutions, moved by private Members, and usually in the first instance, and sometimes for a long time, opposed and defeated by a combination among the Leaders of both Parties. But we also know that the seed thus sown in adverse circumstances has afterwards borne ample and valuable fruit, when the so-called 'men of light and loading,' have slowly admitted the light into their minds, and followed the lead of more courageous and enterprising spirits than themselves. I think the time must come when private Members on both sides must confederate to protect themselves against this kind of official conspiracy to rob them of their rights. I hold that the Members for Wales have a special right to complain of the hardship inflicted upon them by depriving my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea Mr. Dillwyn), of the opportunity he had gained, to bring before the House a subject in which the overwhelming majority of the Welsh people are intensely interested. No one can charge Wales with having been too importunate in its demands on the attention of this House. It is a question whether it would not have been better for Wales to have been more importunate. My countrymen, as everybody knows, are a singularly patient, loyal, and law-abiding people. But their patience has limits, and there are ominous indications, that if its claims are habitually postponed and neglected, that patience will come to an end. You should take warning by your experience of Ireland. The Representatives of the Irish people in this House have from time to time, ever since the Union, until a few years ago, done all they could by what are called legitimate and constitutional means to interest this House in the condition of their country; and to induce it to do something to redress the wrongs and grievances of their countrymen. But they were persistently pooh-poohed, their Motions were rejected, their Bills were outvoted, and all their suggestions and endeavours for the benefit of the Irish people were set at naught. At last the Irish Members were driven to take other means to force Irish questions upon the attention of the House. I should be very sorry to see my countrymen driven by similar neglect to the use of similar means. I beg to propose as an Amendment to the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the insertion of the following words:— That the consideration of the proposed Rules of Procedure have precedence of all Orders of the Day and Notices of Motion on every day except Tuesday, the 22nd instant.


Would it not be more convenient if the hon. Member simply added, after the word "Day," "except Tuesday, the 22nd instant."


assented to the suggestion.


, who seconded the Amendment, said, he was disposed to think that, having regard to the object the Government had in view, it would be the wiser course to hold a short special Session at the end of the present one to discuss the New Rules than the one now taken by the Government. At any rate, as the Government could not make much progress with their Rules of Procedure by acting severely on this occasion, he thought they might make a compromise by yielding to the appeal of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), especially as the subject referred to was a demand made by almost the entire Principality.

Amendment proposed, after the second word "day," in line 3, to insert the words "except on Tuesday, the 22nd instant."—(Mr. Richard.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

said that the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) had stated some time ago that he objected to give a blank cheque to the Marquess of Salisbury. He confessed that he too entirely objected to give a blank cheque to the Marquess of Salisbury and his Colleagues simply because one of the latter happened to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) had said when he made his proposal that it was a humiliation to the House, Most un- questionably it was a humiliation, because it was a penal proposal. They were called upon in the midst of the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne to suspend all action on the Address and to put it aside in order to pass a Resolution with regard to Procedure, which no doubt was deliberately to be used to put an end to all debate on the Address. He (Mr. Labouchere) did not deny that the debate had gone on a considerable time. As he pointed out the day before, he had heard with great interest some of the 65 speeches which had been delivered by hon. Gentlemen opposite in their anxiety to shorten the proceedings of the House. Moreover, there was a sort of bargain entered into with an hon. Gentleman opposite, to the effect that if he and his agricultural friends did not discuss the agricultural question upon the Address they should be allowed to do so upon the Report. Well, but if the Address was to be put aside, how was that bargain to be carried out? There was also an Amendment of which he (Mr. Labouchere) had ventured to give Notice that evening in regard to Bulgaria. He was not now going into the question; but he might point out that most important action had been taken by Her Majesty's Government during the Recess—action which he thought the House ought to have an opportunity of considering; and it certainly seemed to him that if they were to put off the Address until the Rules of Procedure were passed, it was exceedingly improbable that they would have any opportunity of discussing the Bulgarian Question. [An hon. MEMBER: Or anything else.] When it was stated that 16 days had been taken up in debating the Address—a thing unknown in times past—it should be remembered that in times past Ministers were not so eager to take for themselves the time of the House and of Private Members. When they asked for a day for the second reading of a Bill that was a very different thing from asking for the whole time of the House for a matter which would probably take up several weeks. He would ask whether it was reasonable that the right hon. Gentleman should stop the debate on the Address in order to bring in the Rules of Procedure. The right hon. Gentleman had frequently told them that they ought to devote themselves to the Business of the country. Well, what he (Mr. Labouchere) and his Friends considered the Business of the Country was the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales. The question of Disestablishment in Wales was a subject of paramount importance, and therefore he could not understand what was the Business with superior claims which the right hon. Gentleman alluded to. It was absolutely impossible that the present Government could bring in any sound legislation, and the reason was because they were Conservatives who had not got a Conservative majority, but were supported by hon. Gentlemen who were kind enough to perch themselves on the front Opposition Bench; and one of the most important of whom stated the other day that he agreed with Her Majesty's Government upon one question and disagreed with them upon 99. It seemed to him (Mr. Labouchere) that this ought to be made an educational Session, and that the very best use they could turn it to was to occupy the time of Her Majesty's Government as long as possible by making speeches; because the Government, if left to their own devices, would only produce what the majority of the House would consider bad legislation, and so every moment that hon. Members did not occupy with their speeches would be devoted to a bad use. Therefore they ought seriously to consider the matter in view of the fact that a Coercion Bill for Ireland was to be brought in; and, that the Marquess of Salisbury—that great perturbator of the peace of Europe—was at the head of the Government, they should voluntarily agree to give up every opportunity of taking into consideration the action of the Government. If the Government took every day, hon. Members, in all probability, would not be able to raise questions of importance, even by way of Motions for Adjournment; for the result of the Ruling which had been lately given—a Ruling no doubt perfectly correct—was that it would be open to any hon. Gentleman on the other side of the House to put down any general Amendment with regard to foreign affairs—or Ireland for example—and so prevent an hon. Member on that (the Opposition) side from bringing forward an urgent question which he might wish to raise. He should therefore vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard), though, he should like to go a good deal further. He should like to make it Tuesdays instead of Tuesday. He should also prefer that the Government should take into their consideration the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for West Bradford (Mr. Illingworth). Anxious as he was that their Rules of Procedure should be strengthened, he was not prepared to give that blank cheque to Her Majesty's Government for an indefinite time. Let the Government, when they wanted a day, come to the—House and ask for it—perhaps they would get it; perhaps they would not—but at any rate the House would be in a position to consider the matter.


said: I think that the speech of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) is probably the best argument that could possibly be used in favour of the Motion that I had the honour to propose to the House. He stated plainly what line he considered it his duty to pursue for the rest of the Session, and that was to occupy the House in discussion, and to take care that no Business was done—not to allow the House to do any of the Business which it ought to do, and which Her Majesty's Government are prepared to lay before it. That may be the view that the hon. Gentleman takes of his duty; but I confess I do not share it, and I do not think that it is the view that other hon. Gentlemen will take of their duty as Members of this House. The hon. Member has made a remark that, as the Address is not to be disposed of for some weoks—and no doubt, if the House follows the line proposed by the hon. Member, that will be so—we might accede to the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn).

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I said the Rules of Procedure, and not the Address.


I beg the hon. Member's pardon. I certainly understood the hon. Gentleman to say the Address. With regard to the speech made by the hon. Member for Swansea, I may say that a more honoured and respected Member of this House does not exist; and, if it had been possible, we should have been most glad to have made an exception in his favour. I think he is entitled to the consideration of this House, and I had hoped that it might have been possible to make an exception in favour of one who bears such an honoured name, and who has attained to the position that the hon. Member has; but it is impossible to make a concession to one hon. Gentleman without laying ourselves open to claims of an equally strong character on the part of others. I would wish to appeal to the House to enter on the consideration of these Rules as soon as possible, to dispose of them as quickly as possible, and, if the House will do that, the object of the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard) will be attained. The hon. Member for Merthyr complains of an official conspiracy to deprive the hon. Gentlemen of their place on the Notice Paper, in order that the Government might proceed with Bills of their own. There has been no such conspiracy on the other side of the House or on this; but the House itself has placed obstacles in the way of the transaction of Business, which from time to time—and this I say perfectly frankly—compelled right hon. Gentlemen opposite who then sat on these Benches to ask for the time of private Members. Only the necessary and reasonable time has been occupied in the despatch of Public Business. I regret as much as any hon. Member of this House that proceedings as regards Committee have rendered it inevitable that Parliament should be asked to give up time on certain occasions to the Government, and to propose new Rules of Procedure. I hope that the House will take the matter in hand, and prevent the possibility of its recurrence. I believe it can do so if it exercises its power. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) has asked a very reasonable Question as to whether an opportunity will be afforded of discussing the Rules as a whole. I think that that opportunity should be afforded, and that it should be given on the first reading. I think I have referred to the general objections that have been made. I can only say that I must press the Motion that I have made. I do so with deep regret; but a sense of the responsibility and the duty that are imposed on me, not merely as a Member of the Government, but as Leader of the House, in the endeavour to restore the House to a proper control of its own Business.


said, he was desirous of expressing his regret at the course taken by the Government with respect to the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn). He would bear his testimony to the strong feeling which existed throughout the whole of South Wales on the question of Disestablishment. The announcement just made would be received in Wales with keen regret. He would be willing to support any measure which would enable the House to do its Business; but they were trying to do a great deal more—they were trying to adapt that great Parliamentary Institution to conditions to which it was not suited. They had already made away with some of the Privileges of Parliament for which their forefathers fought and bled. They had sacrificed the right of putting grievance before Supply. Last year he (Sir Edward Reed) endeavoured in vain to bring before the House the wrongs and grievances of the Navy, which were now universally acknowledged, and he failed, because that House had almost ceased to be a Parliament in the only sense in which it was worthy to be called a Parliament. The House, by accepting these Rules, was about not simply to facilitate Business, but to take away Parliamentary rights and to shut the mouths of its own Members. He was afraid that the result of passing these Rules would be fraught with the greatest injuries to the State in the future of our history. The effect of these Rules would be to stifle the voices of the Representatives of the people. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite might laugh; but they did not like even the present Rules of Procedure when they were in Opposition. A Parliament was not worthy of the name in which any hon. Member, who reasonably, intelligently, and honourably desired to represent the opinion of his constituents upon any particular subject before the House was systematically deprived of the opportunity of doing so. He should not offer any obstruction to the progress of the discussion of the new Rules, although he should vote against many of them; nevertheless, he thought that there was much force in what had fallen from his hon. and venerable friend the Member for Merthyr—that Ireland had, by mis- government, been brought into a position in which it could not be governed except by stifling it; and if Wales were to be similarly treated, fresh difficulties would be created which would call for even more drastic and disastrous remedies than were now about to be proposed. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) would have done well if he had yielded the point with regard to Tuesday, because, by his refusal, he would deprive the Government of the last vestige of prestige and regard in which it had been held by the Welsh people.


said, that no one could feel more disappointed than he did at the decision that had been arrived at by the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith). There was no question which raised such a strong feeling as the question of the Disestablishment of the Church did in Wales. Even the Church people themselves desired that the matter should be decided. The time was very soon coming when a great many Welsh Members would demand—in a stronger voice than hitherto—the settlement of many Welsh questions which had been repeatedly put before the House. It would, in his opinion, have been far better if the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) had been allowed to be thoroughly threshed out and discussed in that House. Without wishing in any way to emulate the tactics of hon. Members from Ireland, he must express his regret that the Government had refused to allow the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea to be discussed next Tuesday.

DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

said, that it was pretty evident that the Welsh people required some safety-valve for their feelings, and he therefore advised Welsh Members to imitate the example of the Scotch and Irish Members, and to bring on the discussion they desired in the form of an Amendment to the Address; instead of making appeals which they knew would not be regarded. If, as seemed to be the case, Wales would be saved from revolution by that simple mode, and he trusted the Welsh Members should not hesitate to avail themselves of what yet remained to them of their Parliamentary rights. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) had promised to allow a second reading debate upon the discussion of the first Resolution; but sometimes arrangements of that kind had subsequently been found not to be in Order. He (Dr. Cameron) wished to know from the right hon. Gentleman the Speaker whether it would be in Order for the House to enter upon a sort of second reading debate upon the whole of the new Rules on the Motion that the House agree with the first Rule?


It is impossible for me to anticipate events, and determine now whether such a discussion would be in Order or not. It would be contrary to practice to do that. When the case arises I shall, of course, be prepared to give my decision upon the point.


said, be should be glad to have the opportunity suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith). If there were any difficulty about it, it would be very easy to make, as was made in the Committee upstairs, a Motion "That these Rules be now taken into consideration." He made that Motion in the Committee; and such a Motion would permit the general question of the Rules being discussed.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 158; Noes 261: Majority 103.—(Div. List, No. 11.)

Main. Question again proposed.

MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

said, he would venture to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) to a point on which, though he could not suppose there was any doubt of his intention, it would be better to have a distinct understanding. As the Motion stood on the Paper, it was perfectly clear that the Government would be able to put down the Procedure Rules for private Members' nights only, and reserve Government nights for their own Business. Of course, the House understood that the whole time of the House—both Government time and private Members' time—would be devoted to the subject for which urgency was asked; but it was better that the understanding should be distinct.


, in reply, said, that he had exactly followed precedent in the Motion he had made, and that he would follow precedent also in the course he should adopt under that Motion. It might, possibly, be necessary that urgent Business, such as Supply, should be taken during the debate on the Procedure Rules; but there was no intention of appropriating Mondays and Thursdays to ordinary Government Business, and only the private Members' days to the consideration of this question. Nothing but urgent Business would be permitted to intervene.


Mr. Speaker, the case of Wales having been rejected by a large majority, it may appear somewhat rash in me to ask the House to consider the case of Ireland. But as I have secured an early day for a very important measure, a Bill which will deal with a question upon which I understand the Government have made up their mind favourably—I refer to Wednesday next, which I have secured for a Bill dealing with the question of the inclusion of leaseholders within the Land Act of 1881—I have considerable and strong hopes that as it is a question I am credibly informed the Government had made up their minds favourably to entertain and to agree to, they will not object to excepting a day from the Resolution which is now under the consideration of the House. In the event of this course being adopted, and the Bill in question being favourably received by Her Majesty's Government, as I am credibly informed it will be, it would probably only take up a short time for discussion and decision on the second reading. Her Majesty's Government would, therefore, if they made an exception in favour of this Bill, be enabled immediately afterwards to resume the discussion of the Rules of Procedure, if they were by that time reached. Consequently, there would be no practical disadvantage to the Government in adopting the course I have in view. On the contrary, they would save the necessity of setting aside a day, or days, hereafter for their own Government measure on the subject, and they would deal with a pressing question, which both sides of the House admit urgently demand a settlement. There are also other considerations of a graver and wider character, which I should not have wished to have imported into this discussion, if I had seen on the other side of the Table a favourable response from the Government with regard to this question of mine respecting the Bill I have previously mentioned; but in the absence of any such favourable sign I fear it will be necessary for me to go further, and considerably enlarge the scope of the matter which it will be my duty to bring before the House. It is very true that if I had seen any intention on the part of the Government to meet me on this question I should not have to propose to enlarge, the field of discussion, because I should have looked upon that yielding so far on the part of the Government as an earnest that they are commencing to devote their serious attention to the very grave state of Ireland, and that they are going to take this first step at once in the inclusion of the leaseholders under the Land Act of 1881—a step which formed part of my original Bill of last Session—and that this would be regarded in Ireland as an earnest, a very much-needed earnest, on the part of the Government that they are about to change, or, at all events, to modify, their policy of coercion for one of amelioration. It would be difficult for me, even if I had the power to do so, but not having the power to do so, to exaggerate the importance of such a step on the part of Her Majesty's Government in the present critical state of Ireland. We know what is happening in that country. We know that the Government have thought it necessary to take a series of proceedings against leading and prominent politicians—Irish politicians, Members of this House. We know also that the Government have announced to the House that they intend to bring forward coercive proposals against Ireland; and, so far as we have yet gone, we have only had a very shadowy and vague intimation of any intention on their part to go into the question of ameliorative legislation. Now, Sir, I think that, although the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) may turn from the consideration of the ordinary Business of the House to the question of reforming the Rules of Procedure, like Napoleon III., when he made war upon Germany, "with a light heart," and although the House may grant him those powers with a light heart—powers entailing an interval of four or five weeks, if we are to judge by the precedent set in 1884, when the Rules of the late Government were under consideration, and when over five weeks, from day to day, of the time of the House were occupied with an unintermittent consideration—if we are to judge by this precedent, the probability is that we shall not be able to revert to the question of Ireland, or to any other question, for four or five weeks. Now, I the right hon. Gentleman has complained that if hon. Members of the House I had not shown a disposition to unduly protract, according to his views, the debate upon the Address by the introduction of a miscellaneous collection of subjects, he would not have felt it necessary to move his Resolution; but we have the remarkable fact, Mr. Speaker, that on the very first day of the Session the Government announced that they were going to ask all the time of the House for the consideration of the Rules of Procedure—therefore, this statement of the right hon. Gentleman will not hold water in his own justification. It is evident that the Government had determined that they would pilfer private Members of the half of their time from the very commencement, and that the subsequent conduct of hon. Members of the House in bringing forward various questions for discussion upon the debate on the Address had nothing whatever to do with it. Now, Sir, I have said that I had intended to narrow my request to one point for securing portion of Wednesday for the question of the consideration of this Bill; but the stern and unyielding appearance of the right hon. Gentleman warns me that I shall gain nothing by adopting that course, so that I am therefore obliged to submit to the House a Resolution which I propose to move at the conclusion of what I have to say—to move to leave out all the words after the word "That," and to add these words— In the opinion of this House the state of Ireland is such as to require the disclosure"—


Order, order! I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman; but I must point out that we have got to the word "day," in the third line of the Resolution; and, therefore, it would not be competent to the hon. Member to move the Resolution he proposes.


I submit, Sir, with the greatest deference to your superior judgment and your ruling; but I was under the impression that no word of the Resolution has yet been affirmed by the House, and that the Question which you have just put is, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


There is no doubt as to what is the Rule of the House—we propose, after the word "day," to insert the words "except Tuesday, February 22"—therefore, we have reached that point in the proposed Resolution.


I was under the impression that the Motion of the hon. Gentleman not having been to leave out any of the words of the right hon. Gentleman, all the words of the Resolution were still before the House, and that we should be entitled to reject the whole of that Resolution if the House thought fit. However, I submit Sir, to your ruling, and will substitute for that Amendment an addition to the end of the Resolution by way of proviso— Provided the said Rules are not set down for consideration before the Government have disclosed to the House the nature of their proposed legislation with regard to Ireland. Now, Sir, I think that we have valid and good grounds for asking the House to pause before they adopt the Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House. We have, in the first place, Mr. Speaker, grave events occurring from day to day in Ireland which surely ought to call for some provision—some safeguard—from the House, in order, if possible, to give some guarantee that those events should not be followed, and that we may have time to meet them. If these events should be followed by others of a similar character, and if the state of affairs in Ireland should become appreciably worse in the interval which must elapse before the proposed Rules of Procedure of the Government can be considered and finally decided in this House; if you give all the time of the House to Her Majesty's Government you will not only close your own mouths, but you absolutely prohibit yourselves from taking up any question which Her Majesty's Government will not choose to take up, no matter how pressing it may be. I understand that no amendment or alteration of the Rule can be moved if once it has been adopted, and any dispensing power with regard to it will be entirely in the hands of the Government. Well, Sir, I, for one, am not disposed to surrender either my own rights or the rights of hon. Gentlemen who are associated with me in order to discuss the Rules of the Government. I think that some consideration should be extended to a body of 86 Members of this House. They have asked through me for permission to bring forward the Land Law (Ireland) Act (1881) Amendment Bill on next Wednesday. I think also that the conduct of the Government, in springing this Resolution by surprise upon us this afternoon by interpolating it upon the ordinary course of the debate on the Address, is one which ought to be condemned. It is an unusual and unheard-of one. There is no precedent for a Minister of the Crown, or for anybody else, to ask the House to depart from the discussion of the debate on the Address in reply to the Speech of the Queen in order to bring forward or to annex all the time of the House for the purpose of enabling the Government to bring forward proposals connected solely with the reform of the Procedure of the House, and not with the Crown. There is no precedent for the interruption of debate on the Address at such an early time in the season. It was never done except in one instance, and that was in the Session of 1881. But it was not then a question merely of the reform of the Rules of Procedure; but the then Government asked for the time of the House because they were convinced that the state of affairs in Ireland was so stringent that it was absolutely necessary that the House should proceed from day to day and from night to night to, first, pass a Coercion Act, and, secondly, to pass remedial legislation for the reform of the Land Law. That is not the case now. The Government have pushed aside all legislation for Ireland and all parts of the United Kingdom, and they claim from us that we shall surrender the opportunities we have obtained in the ballot for the discussion of Irish and other questions. Now, Sir, what is the urgency for the alteration in these Rules of Procedure? The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of the gravity of the situation of the House; but I deny that there has been any undue prolongation of the debate on the part of any section of the hon. Members of the House. I contend, Sir, that if the Government had announced at the commencement of the Session that they intended to take up all the time of the House, private Members would have been justified in bringing forward matters in which they were interested for discussion on the Address. The right hon. Gentleman may depend upon it that so long as there are attempts made to sit upon hon. Members in one direction he will have them popping up their heads in another direction; and if he filches away the privileges and rights of private Members they will make some attempt to retaliate in another way. The Leader gets on best with this House who is mindful of its traditions and of the fact that it does not consist entirely of Her Majesty's Government, but of Members as a whole, who are supposed to be equal in the law of debate. Of late years, however, we have had invasions of the rights of private Members, who have been thrust on one side as if they were of no account. I believe, Sir, it would be found on examination of the chronicles of this House that all the great measures of reform—measures for remedying the grievances of the people—measures for asserting public rights and putting down public wrong—have been due to the perseverance and often repeated exertion for many years of private Members of this House in bringing forward these questions in which they were interested on the days which the House gives up to private Members. I think it is time that private Members should make some kind of stand against this encroachment on their rights, and I do not think we could have a better case to make a stand upon than this question of Ireland. The Government have not told us what they are going to do with regard to Ireland. They have told us that they are going to bring forward a Coercion Bill of some kind; but they have not told us of what nature that Coercion Bill is going to be. They have told us nothing whatever of their measures of amelioration for Ireland. A very important event is going to happen next Saturday. We are told that on next Saturday the Government will be placed in possession of the Report of Lord Cowper's Commission with regard to the relations between landlord and tenant in Ireland. Now, I confess that before this Resolution is agreed to I should like to have seen that Report. I do not know why it has been kept back so long. The Government say that even when they get it into their possession they will refrain for some time longer from disclosing its nature to the House. I do not know why the Government are going to do that. I do not see why the Government should not, without any unnecessary delay, disclose this Report to the House of Commons and to the country, in order that we may be the better judges whether we ought to proceed with the Rules of Procedure first, or with measures of amelioration for Ireland. Why has Her Majesty's Government sprung this Motion now under discussion upon us without Notice? It was only on yesterday afternoon, when it was impossible to frame an Amendment in time to place it on the Paper of the House, that we were informed by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House of his intention to bring forward the Motion this evening. I do not think the House has been well treated in this matter. I think we should have got sufficient Notice—at least 24 hours' Notice—of the intention of Her Majesty's Government to bring forward this very important and grave Resolution. I do not know that things may not go from bad to worse in the meantime in Ireland. I have received a telegram this afternoon from the Westport Board of Guardians—a Board which was in receipt a very few months ago of relief from State sources for the purpose of saving it from bankruptcy. The telegram says— The Westport Board of Guardians have today received notice of the eviction of 121 families, numbering 1,000 persons, the landlords being in some cases Lord Sligo and Lord Clive. The guardians consider this attempt at the general extirpation of the people as inhuman and barbarous, and they implore the Government to use their influence to stay the hands of the evictors. Sir, it is at such a time as this that we are asked to shut ourselves out of the power of raising our voices against grievances such as these in Ireland, to deprive ourselves of the power of bringing any measures or making any suggestions on our own account to meet these terrible acts in Ireland. Sir, the day before yesterday in West Cork Lord Cork invoked the aid of a large body of police to enforce evictions—


, interposing, said, a discussion on the state of affairs in Ire- land was not in Order. From what has fallen from the hon. Gentleman I consider that his Amendment will take the form of a negative to the Resolution already agreed to and passed by the House, and I shall point out that an Amendment of that nature cannot be accepted.


Well, Sir, of course I am bound by your ruling. The Resolution reads this way— That the consideration of the proposed Rules of Procedure have precedence of Orders of the Day and Notices of Motion on every day on which the consideration of these Rules may be set down by the Government. I proposed to add to it this— Provided the said Rules are not set down for consideration before the Government disclosed to the House the nature of their proposed legislation regarding Ireland.


In my opinion, that is in direct opposition to the first proposition. If the Government have power to give precedence among the Orders of the Day to the proposed Rules of Procedure by the first proposition, by the second they are forbidden to do so under the terms of the hon. Gentleman's provision. The two together would have a militating effect one upon the other.


It appears to me, Sir, that the House may fairly require the Government to agree to such a condition as I propose—that before they use this right which the House would be willing to give them they disclose to the House the nature of their proposed legislation. However, I would not on any account set myself up to differ from any ruling which you would make, and if I understand your ruling and judgment I will simply content myself.


What I object to is the sweeping character of the Amendment proposed by the hon. Gentleman. If the hon. Gentleman moved "that except on certain days," be added to the Resolution it would not be of such a sweeping character.


May I move an Amendment of this character— Except on such Wednesdays as measures concerning Ireland may be set down for consideration.


I think it will be competent for the hon. Gentleman to do that.


I will substitute for the first Amendment the Amendment I have just recited. I will say, Mr. Speaker, that the importance of this question is one which I fear very much will be increased from day to day. In fact, it appears to me, from the occurrences which reach us from Ireland, that the importance of this question is very much graver and exists to a very much larger extent than appears to have impressed itself on the minds of the Members of Her Majesty's Government. I wish to know whether we can really shut the door for considering every question affecting Ireland until these Rules of Procedure have been disposed of? I, for one, would hope that even at the eleventh hour the Government would say they are making demands upon the House, and particularly upon the Irish Members, of an arbitrary character, and that they will consent, at all events, to give up one day, as was done last Session by the then Leader of the House, the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill), for the discussion of the Bill we brought in for the relief of Irish tenants. I do not think that the time of the House will be wasted in that way; on the contrary, I think that the avoidance of arbitrary conduct on the part of the Leader of the House will tend to facilitate Business—that it will be remembered for him, and that one good turn will be held to deserve another. But if the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House insists upon depriving us of our privileges—if he strokes the cat against the grain—if he uses the gag snaffle when the rein would be sufficient, the right hon. Gentleman will find that he has not adopted the best course. I can but express a hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to give a favourable reply. In conclusion, I beg to move as an Amendment—"Except upon the Wednesdays on which Bills relating to Ireland are set down."

Amendment proposed, at the end of the Question, to add the words "except upon the Wednesdays on which Bills relating to Ireland are set down."—(Mr. Parnell.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

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

I am not at all insensible to the gravity of the situation. I am fully conversant with the necessity of exercising any authority with which the House may be disposed to entrust me with the greatest possible consideration to hon. Members who differ from me, as well as to those hon. Members who agree with me. But there is another duty devolving upon the Leader of this House, and that is to endeavour to guide the House in the way in which it is necessary that the House should go for the performance of the work which it undertakes. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) has appealed to us to consider the measures which relate to Ireland. We are most anxious to approach the consideration of those measures. But I appeal to the hon. Gentleman himself whether the experience of the last three weeks is not sufficient to convince him that no attempt at legislation is possible until the Rules of Procedure are before the House? We are desirous of giving full consideration, not only to the proposals of the hon. Member for Cork and the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell), but also to our own proposals. But we know perfectly well that it would be useless to bring forward these proposals until the House has amended its Code of Procedure, and until it has taken into its own hands the power of conducting its Business in a manner which shall be creditable to the House itself and advantageous to the country. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork has spoken of the struggle of hon. Members for their rights. There is no wish whatever on the part of the Government to interfere with the rights of private Members. From the day on which I had the honour of becoming a Member of this House—a good many years ago—I had, and still have, the highest respect for the rights of private Members. I believe they are a great and cherished privilege which this House is bound to respect. But what I wish to impress upon the hon. Gentleman is that the prolongation of debate, the impossibility of getting Business carried to a conclusion, is in itself the greatest enemy and the greatest obstruction to the rights of private Members. We should not now have to propose to the House that it should give its whole time to the discussion of these Rules of Procedure if there had only been a reasonable discussion on the Address. Not only on the Address, but on every other question brought before the House, there has been an abundance of discussion, so great that the transaction of Business has become impossible. The hon. Member said that this Motion had been sprung upon the House, and a few minutes before he had drawn attention to the fact that it had been my duty to give Notice of this Motion on the first day of the Session. One remark of the hon. Gentleman answers the other. I gave Notice on the first day of the Session that it would be my duty, at the earliest convenient opportunity, to move for the time of the House for the purpose of Procedure. I think it must be admitted that 16 days' sitting is a period long enough to intervene before I proceed with this Motion. The hon. Member complains that 24 hours' Notice was not given. I gave it at a quarter to 6 yesterday afternoon, and I acted upon the Notice at 6 o'clock this evening, so that here, again, the hon. Member's desire has been fulfilled to the letter. But that is not, I am sure, the real objection of the hon. Gentleman. He is anxious that his measure should be proceeded with. Let him, then, exercise the influence which he possesses with his Colleagues on those Benches, and let him and them give no more than is just and proper consideration to Procedure, and he will certainly have the opportunity which he desires of explaining his own Bill to the House. I should be glad that he should have such an opportunity. No difficulty whatever will be thrown in his way by any hon. Member on this Bench, or on this side of the House. No, Sir; let the hon. Member for Cork give the assistance which it is in his power to give to the House to recover the character and reputation which the House had a few years ago. With regard to Lord Cowper's Report, the hon. Gentleman taunts the Government with having kept back that Report. There is not a shadow of foundation for that taunt. The hon. Gentleman ought to be aware that, when a Royal Commission is appointed, the Government has no power whatever over the conduct of the Members of that Commission, and that they are entirely independent of the Government. We have been, at least, as desirous as the hon. Member can be, that the Report should be presented as rapidly as possible. My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), when Notice of the Question was given, wrote to Lord Cowper, and gave me the answer which he had received. It was to the effect that the Report would be agreed to to-morrow, and would be sent to the Home Secretary on Saturday. There will be no delay whatever in the presentation of that Report on the part of the Government. There will be some delay in the way of printing, of course; but the Government will interpose no delay. No, Sir, we are, in good faith, most earnestly desirous of legislating for the benefit of Ireland. It will be the hon. Gentleman himself and his Friends who will hinder us in proposing this legislation to the House, if we are not able to obtain the time of the House for Procedure.

MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)

I listened attentively to the reply of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell); but I think that any hon. Member who has any knowledge of what is going on in Ireland, and who has a due sense of the responsibility which rests upon this House, must deem it a very grave matter to place it beyond the power of this House to consider important questions affecting the well-being of Ireland, unless the consent of the Government is previously obtained. I have looked over carefully the new Rules of Procedure which have been laid upon the Table, and I have also referred to what has taken place in this House in past years with respect to that matter; and I am induced to believe that, after we have entered upon the consideration of the new Rules of Procedure, much time must elapse before we come to a conclusion of our labours upon them. I particularly noticed that the First Lord of the Treasury did not, in any way, attempt to contradict the assertion of the hon. Member for Cork, that there is no precedent for the Motion which he has made this evening. For these reasons I am prepared to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork.


The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury has refused to accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). The right hon. Gentleman dwelt upon the fact that he is an old Member of the House; but, by the help of his mechanical Motion, he has just defeated the proposal of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), who is a much older Member of the House than he is. I believe that the hon. Member for Swansea has sat uninterruptedly in this House since the year 1855; while the First Lord of the Treasury, although he has always been an ornament of the House and has been of great value to his Party, has only been hare since 1868. Therefore, if the House is to be guided by the lengthened experience of an hon. Member as to the Business of this House, there ought to have been a majority for the Motion of the hon. Member for Swansea. Nevertheless, the First Lord, with his obedient legions, proposes practically to shut out the Nonconformists of Wales, on Tuesday next, from discussing a question which is of the utmost importance to them. I do not propose to refer at any length to an English question, and one which has already been decided by the House; but in the name of the West of Ireland I am prepared to back up every word my hon. Friend and Leader the Member for Cork has said, especially in regard to the West of Ireland. I regret that the First Lord of the Treasury has not thought fit to follow the example of one of the greatest Conservative Leaders who ever sat in this House—Mr. Disraeli—and to act upon the dicta he was in the habit of pronouncing in reference to the decisions of this House. I cannot help thinking that the tension of feeling in Ireland will be much aggravated, if it is found that two Wednesdays we have already secured by Ballot for the consideration of the Land Bill, and an important Motion with reference to Poor Law Guardians, have been taken possession of by the Government. I trust that the First Lord of the Treasury will reconsider his determination, and accept the moderate Amendment of my hon. Friend, being satisfied with full possession of four days a week. Four days a week will be ample for discussing the new Rules of Procedure, and we should still have our Wednesdays left. If the Government insist upon having five days a week, let the House, if it is deemed necessary, sit on Saturday. Although it would be extremely inconvenient to me, and I have no doubt it would also be most in- convenient to you, Sir, although, perhaps, as we have a Deputy Speaker, you might be able to get over the difficulty we Irish Members are so anxious to secure the discussion of these Irish questions that we are perfectly willing to sit here on a Saturday. By that means the First Lord of the Treasury, who is so anxious to pass these New Rules, will secure their discussion upon five days a week, and will leave to those who are anxious that the Imperial Parliament should consider the case of Ireland one or two Wednesdays upon which those Irish Members who have been fortunate enough to secure the Ballot can ventilate the grievances of Ireland. I am aware that the adoption of my suggestion would give to you, Sir, a considerable amount of extra work, and also to the officers of the House; but, in return, you would gain the good-will of the Irish people; and surely the goodwill of 5,000,000 of Her Majesty's Irish subjects is worth something. Under these circumstances, I claim that our Wednesday Sittings should be allowed to follow their ordinary course; and if the Government absolutely require five days a week, let them have a Sitting on Saturday. But then there arises another question. Will the Rules of Procedure really make more progress in five days than they would in four, seeing that the Sitting on Wednesday is bound to close at 6 o'clock? I remember Mr. Disraeli, who, next to the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone), I look upon as having been the greatest Leader of this House—I remember Mr. Disraeli stating on one occasion that, whatever might be the nature of the Business brought in by the Government or by private Members, there would not be a difference of more than two or three days in the date of the Prorogation of Parliament. Nor do I think that, whether the Government take four or five days a week for the consideration of the New Rules, the slightest difference will be made in the progress of the Rules. Therefore I am of opinion that the Government will derive very little advantage indeed from taking the Wednesday Sittings—certainly none in comparison with the immense mischief that would be done to the Tory Government themselves, and especially to the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Great interest is taken in the Irish cause in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and America; and is it desirable that it shall be possible for people there to say—"The British House of Commons will not even discuss the affairs of Ireland. So intent are they on altering their Rules that they decline even to devote one day a week to the consideration of Irish questions." Surely that is a very strong argument in favour of Home Rule, that even one day a week—those days having been already secured by the Ballot—are to be taken from the Irish Government. It must no be forgotten that this will constitute an argument in favour of the Home Rule Party, not merely in our mouths, but in those of our sympathizers in the Press, and for every English-speaking community in the world which has an Assembly modelled on the institutions of this Mother Parliament. They will be able to say—"Ireland can always be put out in the cold by the simple assertion that the House of Commons desire to remodel their Rules." I am not very strongly of opinion that the House has a very ardent desire to change its Rules, or that there is any absolute necessity for a change of Rules, or that that is a matter of very great concern. It is even desirable for the Irish landlords themselves that they should have the safety-valve of discussion in this House. I fail to see that the question of the New Rules of Procedure is a matter of urgent importance. In the first place, the House of Commons is supposed to have existed for 700 or 800 years. To a certain extent its Rules are simply legendary; but ever since the time of Elizabeth, at any rate, there have been well-understood Rules, and legislation has been able to go on very well without New Rules, and to get on very well too. Twenty years ago—I was not then a Member of this House, but I took great interest in the Procedure of Parliament, and in its debates; and I know that all the London papers at that time were agreed that no House of Commons would ever be able to pass more than one great measure in the course of a single Session; but by concentrating their resources the Government were able to do that. That has certainly been the state of affairs for the last eight or nine years. Any Government which takes an interest in any particular subject can pass one big measure, and is probably able to pass, in addition, a number of small measures. In the face of an active and energetic Opposition, however, they are not able to pass two or three large measures in the course of a single Session. I believe that the capacity of the Government to pass great measures is now precisely the same that it has been for the last 20 or 25 years; and the talk of Obstruction is, to a great extent, a fiction on the part of the Government. Although my experience of the House of Commons is not so long as that of the hon. Member for Swansea, I sat in the same Parliament as that which first introduced the First Lord of the Treasury into the House, and that is the opinion which my experience has enabled me to form. I have been told by a Conservative Member that the freedom of this House was utterly crushed when your Predecessor in Office, Sir, required an hon. Member to second the Motion for the adjournment of the debate. In previous years any hon. Member could make that Motion without a Seconder. But in the course of the last 20 or 25 years our privileges have been gradually curtailed, and a Seconder is required before a Motion for the adjournment of the debate can be moved. Another Conservative Member of much weight in the House, but whose name it is unnecessary to give, although I have no objection to give it privately if desired, has protested to me against the evil which will be done if any Rules are passed which are likely to limit the privileges of Members of this House. Even the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian himself has pointed out what sweeping Radical measures might be carried if the Rules were changed, and the Government, by a mechanical majority, were able to overbear every opposition. My own opinion is that the Conservative Party are taking a rash step in altering the old Rules of this House; but the deleterious effect of the Rules themselves is not so much the question as the immediate harm they will do by their mere discussion during the next four or five weeks. We cannot alter Rules which have been in force for 300 or 400 years without a considerable amount of deliberation and discussion. The discussion of these Rules may occupy the House during the next five or six weeks, and during that time every reform on every other matter will be hung up. As a Representative of Ireland, I am much concerned at the prospect; and I consider it a matter of much importance that, having secured the first place in the Ballot, we should be shut out from having a discussion upon Irish affairs. I, therefore, request the First Lord of the Treasury to reconsider his decision on this point, so far as the Wednesday Sittings are concerned. If the Government adhere to their determination, an hon. and gallant Member opposite will be unable to bring on any question as to naval affairs. My hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) will find himself in the same boat when he desires to raise the question of jury-packing in Ireland. The Poor Law Guardians (Ireland) Bill stands for the 2nd of March; the Land Law (Ireland) Act (1881) Amendment Bill for the 16th; the County Government (Ireland) Bill for the same day; the Liquor Traffic (Local Veto) Bill for the 6th of April; and the Land Tenure (Scotland) Bill is the second Bill for the 20th of April. These Bills are of the highest importance; but the First Lord of the Treasury at one fell swoop gets rid of the whole of them, and, in the case of Ireland, declines to spare one. We should be satisfied merely to discuss our grievances. We might be out-voted, but we should not be in a position to say that we had not been listened to. I think that any temporary Party advantage which may be gained by closing our mouths will be more than counterbalanced by the feeling of dissatisfaction which will be created. I cannot help feeling that there may be much external danger in denying an opportunity for free discussion; and I would again appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury to allow the Irish Members, at least, one day. I know there will be a strong feeling in Ireland when it is known that Irish questions are to be ignored altogether while we are engaged in discussing our own Rules, and are practically standing still. At the present moment the House of Commons enjoys greater power than it ever enjoyed at any former period of its history. The House of Lords is, of course, a mere second Chamber for the purpose of revision; but, as a Chamber with real power, there is nothing to compare with the House of Commons. Yet Her Majesty's Government propose to tie up our hands for the next five or six weeks, so far as legitimate work is concerned. If we considered the Rules of Procedure on four or five days each week, and devoted, at least, one to the general affairs of the nation, we should be able to maintain our position in the country. We are only wasting time by discussing the fashion in which we are to effect a particular object. In the long run, the House of Commons will be found to be quite capable of setting any grievance right; but, at the present moment, events are marching on very fast. We have got Socialism in London—


Order, order! The hon. and gallant Member is really travelling beyond the Question. I must ask the hon. and gallant Member to keep to that Question.


I do not propose to trespass much longer upon the time of the House, and I must apologize to you, Sir, for having strayed into a general discussion. I have already pointed out the immense necessity of some reform in the Irish Land Law, and in the Poor Laws of that country. At any rate, I feel that an opportunity should be afforded for the discussion of those questions, so that the Irish people may know that their Representatives have had a full and ample opportunity of stating their grievances. As you, Mr. Speaker, think that I ought not longer to trespass on the time of the House, I will, of course, bow to your ruling.

MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

Mr. Speaker, I think that my hon. Friend and Leader the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) has made a very reasonable proposition to the Government, and I sincerely trust that in the interest of peace in Ireland—

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,


I was saying I sincerely trust that in the interest of peace in Ireland the Government may see their way to accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend. In substance, all that my hon. Friend asks of the Government is that they should give three and a-half hours' consideration on Wednesday next to the Irish Bill which has first place on that day. In conformity with the Rules the House will not meet until 2 o'clock on Wednesday next—Ash Wednesday—so that there cannot be more than three hours and a-half discussion, and that is all we ask. It is not competent for me to discuss the provisions of the Bill, the second reading of which my hon. Friend desires to move on Wednesday; but I may say that if the Government were to accept the measure they would thus do more to preserve the peace in Ireland than they can possibly do through the operation of the proposed New Rules of Procedure. The Government complain of the length of the speeches which have been delivered on the Address; but when they do that they should remember that some years ago, when they were in Opposition, they were not averse to give us an example of how to prolong the debate upon the Address. As a matter of fact, Her Majesty's Speech was such as to make it necessary for us on this side of the House to take up a certain portion of the time of the House in discussing it. Indeed, I think it will be generally admitted that the Royal Speech was as verbose a one as was ever framed; and, at the same time, one of the most unsatisfactory. It dealt with little or nothing of interest. Moreover, when the Government charge us with consuming the time of the House unnecessarily, they should remember that they and their supporters have themselves consumed a great deal of time. Now, the practical effect of the Motion which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) has made will be to bring legislation to a standstill—while we are discussing the Rules of Procedure all the useful legislation which this country and Ireland so much require will be brought to a standstill. We have not forgotten that not many years since it took the whole of a special Session to pass certain Rules of Procedure; and I ask the House how long is the discussion of the New Rules now proposed likely to occupy? The proposed Rules are drastic in the extreme, and they propose to very greatly curtail the Privileges of private Members. I venture to say that when they do come on for discussion the New Rules will be vigorously opposed; and instead of being passed in a short time, as the Government seem to suppose, they will not be adopted until some weeks have elapsed. As was pointed out by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Galway (Colonel Nolan), the public at large are very little concerned in the Procedure of this House. They wish to see legislation; but the friends of the Government naturally say that the first step towards the passing of useful legislative measures is the adoption of the New Rules of Procedure, and the consequent curtailment of the Privileges of private Members. I predict that they are wrong in their forecast, and that the Rules which the Government propose to bring into force, with a view of enabling them to pass their own measures, will be found to have a contrary effect; that so far from expediting Business they will be found to retard Business. It would have been much better for the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House to have shown a more conciliatory disposition towards those who belong to the minority in the House. He may for the moment possibly obtain a victory; but it will be a dear victory. If he secures the passing of the Now Rules he will not be one whit nearer the solution of the Irish Question than he is to-day. There was one remark which fell from him which was very unsatisfactory to us. Replying to the Question addressed to him by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley), he said he was not in a position to state precisely what Business the Government might think important; while he added that important Business would be taken. Now, the proposal which my hon. Friend the Member for Cork lays before the House for its acceptance is shortly this—that, at any rate, it should not allow the Government to absorb next Wednesday. Next Wednesday we, by the fortune of the Ballot, have first place for the second reading of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881, Amendment Bill; and we know from personal experience, and from the reports which are reaching us daily, that some reform of this Act is actually necessary, if peace is to be preserved in Ireland. The very telegrams which my hon. Friend read in proposing his Amendment to the Motion now before the House must convince you that we are in the midst of a great agrarian crisis in Ireland, and that unless something is done in the shape of the Bill which, is down for second reading next Wednesday, that crisis will daily increase in gravity. For this reason, and for many others, we on this side of the House intend to offer the most strenuous opposition to the proposition of the Government to absorb the time which usually belongs to private Members, and to thereby encroach upon the Privileges of Members of this House. We know that every great reform which has been passed in this country, or in any other country, has had its origin in a minority. You will generally find brave and daring spirits who lead the way in great reforms—they must necessarily be so—in a minority at first; but as time wears on they gain in strength, and that which was scouted a few years previously as impracticable becomes the question of the day. Now, we know from experience that if the Government obtain their present wish, they will with their large majority, unfortunately recruited by hon. Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House, pass these Procedure Rules, and that, when once they have passed them, they will enforce them with a hand of iron. We know from experience that Ireland and the Irish Members are not in the odour of sanctity on the other side, and that the Rules will be exercised with rigour towards Ireland, and towards the Irish Representatives. Consequently, we believe that it is our duty, in the interest of Ireland, to offer every opposition that we can to the Motion which the Leader of the House has proposed. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the Government imagine that if they obtain the leave of the House to absorb the time of private Members, they will be considerably nearer the solution of the Irish Question, inasmuch as they will secure the power of gagging the Irish Representatives. Events will prove that the Government are wrong in that opinion, and that if the Rules are exercised against us, so far from the Government being nearer the solution of the Irish Question, they will be further off than ever. We believe that the Bill, the second reading of which my hon. Friend desires to move on Wednesday, will tide us over, to a great extent, a serious difficulty in Ireland, because we know upon the very best authority that many of the evictions—


Order, order! The hon. Gentleman has now been speaking for some time, but has not at all touched the subject before the House. I must warn him to address himself to the Question.


I am sorry, Sir, I was not dealing with the Amendment before the House. Now, another important measure is set down for an early Wednesday, the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill—a Bill which interests very considerably the people in this country. The Leasehold Enfranchisement Bill has also been put down for the same day; and another Bill in which we are very interested, and which we are anxious to speak upon, is the Belfast Government Bill, and that is fixed for another Wednesday. If the Government carry this Motion, we shall be excluded from speaking on these important matters. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, in reply to my hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell), said that he had given timely Notice of his intention to move this Resolution, and in proof of that he said that at a quarter to 6 last evening he gave Notice of the Motion. Technically, the right hon. Gentleman did give 24 hours' Notice; but it must be recollected that the Motion is one of the greatest importance; and, therefore, it would not have been unreasonable if the right hon. Gentleman had given us a considerably longer Notice, and thus have afforded hon. Members ample opportunity of forming an opinion with regard to it. I hope that when the Government calmly consider the proposition of the hon. Member for Cork they will see that it is a reasonable one, and one made in the interest of the peace of Ireland. We are very often accused, from the other side of the House, of being unfavourable to the peace of Ireland; but I think that, by the measures we bring forward from time to time, we prove conclusively that we are most anxious to preserve peace in Ireland. It is really those who reject what we know to be reasonable measures who are responsible for the present unsatisfactory state of our country. We now appeal to the House to allow us to do what we fully believe will conduce to the peace of Ireland. Last November we told you that the passing of the Tenants' Relief Bill would have a salutary effect in Ireland. Events have justified our action. What has occurred during the winter is solely at- tributable to yourselves. Under the circumstances—though certainly we have no reason to expect very much from Her Majesty's Government, having regard to what we have received from them in the past—we do expect, in the interest of the preservation of peace, that you will give us next Wednesday for the consideration of a measure most important to the agricultural tenants of Ireland, and to the well-being of the country at large.

MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)

said, he hoped that, in all the circumstances, the Government would make the concession which had been asked from them in moderate terms by the Irish Representatives. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) had told them that it was a mistake to say that his Motion had been sprung upon the House, and that they had been given Notice of it at the beginning of the Session. Now, although those Resolutions might have been in sight for a long time, still a difference was made when they were suddenly taken from their position of rest, and it was proposed at once to make use of them. If he had seen a gun in his neighbour's house for weeks and weeks, and if one day, when he called again, the neighbour suddenly took the weapon of war and presented it at his head, it would not do to tell him that his neighbour had not suddenly sprung the gun upon him because he had seen it there for weeks before. Yet that seemed to him the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. No doubt these Resolutions had been before them, but they had been hoping that they were in the dim and distant future. If they were suddenly taken, and made use of, as they had been that evening, he would say they had been sprung upon the House. The whole transaction impressed him most unfavourably. It had to him the appearance of something in the nature of a trick. The purpose evidently was to prevent the possibility of general discussions which might be of very great importance, not only to Ireland, but to the country at large. He did not see, for his part, that at the beginning of the Session the announcement should have been made for any alteration of the Rules of Procedure. The reason alleged was the experience of last Session; but, as a new observer, who considered carefully what went on before him, he could not say he had seen much, of any discussion that was unreasonably beyond the necessities of the case that was being discussed. If, then, that was the reason, he could only draw the inference that they were not to be at liberty to discuss minutely the Estimates, because, so far as he remembered, the necessity placed on the Speaker from time to time, to keep hon. Members strictly within the Rules of Order, developed itself chiefly in the discussion of the Estimates. He should, therefore, look forward with a degree of alarm to the contingency that might arise when duty imposed on the Representative of a particular constituency to draw attention minutely to Estimates specially affecting his particular locality; and that alarm was not at all allayed by the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury that he had no wish to deprive private Members of their rights. He (Mr. Wallace) believed that it was quite possible that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury was not harbouring any unconstitutional designs; but he would require something more explicit than simply a general declaration of his benevolent intentions with respect to private Members to make him confident that there was no danger lurking under the determination he had taken to press on these Procedure Rules with all the speed that the House would give. It occurred to him that it was not unreasonable on the part of hon. Gentlemen from Ireland to ask the concession which was implied in their Amendment, considering the amount of time that seemed to be proposed for the discussion of these Rules of Procedure. He (Mr. Wallace) thought the Government were asking too much when they asked the whole time of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury had estimated that four or five weeks would be required for the consideration of the Rules of Procedure; but the conclusion he (Mr. Wallace) had come to upon that was that it would be from eight to ten weeks. In reality it seemed to him the effect of these Procedure Resolutions, unless they were very carefully modified by the jealous regard of the House for its own liberties and interests—


The House is not discussing now the Rules of Procedure, and it would be out of Order to refer to them in detail.


, continuing, said, that without dealing with the Rules of Procedure themselves, and merely having respect to the danger from the amount of time that might be required for their consideration, he thought it was not unreasonable to ask the Government that a little portion of the time which they proposed to ask for their consideration should be given to Ireland, in consideration of the special claims which it had in present emergencies as contrasted with the other parts of the country. He could not forget that the position of Ireland and of the Irish people was one of peculiar injustice. He believed at this moment the Irish people should be entrusted with the management of their own affairs.


The hon. Gentleman is entirely out of Order in discussing the question of Ireland.


said, he had purposed to give, as a reason for offering this concession to the people of Ireland, that there was a natural feeling of disappointment in the Irish mind in connection with proceedings which had taken place in that House, which seemed to him to differentiate the case of Ireland very broadly from the case of Wales. Both sides were anxious that something should be done in regard to leaseholders in Ireland, whose interests were involved in the Amendment under consideration; and he could not see how the right hon. Gentleman could, on the ground of expected danger or difficulty, refuse this concession when there was no difficulty to be apprehended. He was not called upon to make the same refusal as in the case of Wales. He ventured, therefore, to express the hope that the Government would not, out of a mere attachment to what they considered uniformity of treatment all over the country, refuse to make an exception in this matter. The question of the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales was on a totally different footing from that of the leaseholders in Ireland, so far as discussion and sympathy were concerned. The Government might, in the most reasonable way, be alarmed at the prospect of a discussion devoted to the question of the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales. [Cries of "Divide!"] He proposed, in spite of the interruptions from the other side, to proceed with the performance of his duty. He considered it perfectly reasonable, from their point of view, that the Government should refuse to allow discussion on Dissestablishment in Wales to be interpolated into the consideration of the Rules of Procedure.


Order, order! I have twice reminded the hon. Member that he is dealing most irrelevantly with the subject before the House, and I must now direct him to discontinue his speech.

The hon. MEMBER thereupon resumed his seat.

MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

said, he did not rise to prolong the discussion, but simply to draw attention to one fact. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), in introducing the Amendment before the House, made a very strong appeal on behalf of the Irish leaseholders. The hon. Member said nothing in regard to Irish leaseholders that he (Mr. T. W. Russell) was not prepared to endorse. He was also prepared to join the hon. Member in any reasonable appeal to the Government asking for facilities to discuss the question of Irish leaseholds; but he could not refrain from asking, was this a reasonable appeal which the hon. Member for Cork had made to the Government that evening? The House had already refused to the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) facilities for the discussion of the question of Disestablishing the Church in Wales. Hon. Members who were opposed to the existence of an Established Church in the Principality had voted against the hon. Member for Swansea. Was it then, he asked hon. Members below the Gangway, likely that the House would concede to Ireland what it had distinctly refused to Wales? Was it a reasonable appeal that the hon. Member had made to the Government on behalf of the Irish leaseholders? The hon. Member for Cork was not the only Member of the House who had displayed interest in the case of the Irish leaseholders. He wished to point out, in two sentences, what had already occurred this Session on this matter. He (Mr. T. W. Russell) himself had introduced a Bill on the subject, and that Bill would have been discussed, and in all probability read a second time by the House, but for the action of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. He just wished to point out to the House that while this appeal was made on behalf of the Irish leaseholders it was as likely to do those leaseholders harm as to do them any good. While he was ready to join the hon. Member for Cork in any reasonable appeal to the Government on behalf of those in whom he was interested, he was not willing to go through the farce of marching through the Division Lobbies of the House of Commons in support of that appeal when he knew it was perfectly useless, and likely to do harm instead of good.

MR. MURPHY (Dublin, St. Patrick's)

said, he repudiated the suggestion that they were opposed to the Bill of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell); they had taken no part in blocking that Bill. The hon. Member for Cork based his case on the grave state of affairs in Ireland, and he maintained that the condition of that country would be governed very much in the future by the action of the Government, which would act and re-act on the mind of the Irish people. The Government had promised the Report of the Royal Commission dealing with the agrarian difficulties in Ireland; but the result of interposing the discussion of the Rules of Procedure would be to destroy any chance which the House might have had of considering its recommendations. This might suit the policy of the Tory Party, which, in reality, was to initiate no legislation whatever. If the Government were to accede to the request of the hon. Member for Cork, he thought that some earnest would be given to the Irish people that serious legislation of some kind in regard to Ireland was to be proceeded with in this Parliament.

MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)

said, that were it not for the negligence of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) in not getting his Bill printed, it would have been facilitated before it was blocked by Members of the Tory Party. It so happened that Members of the Irish Party had on the Order Book of the House two Bills dealing with the subject of leaseholders, and also with broader issues on the Land Question. The first of those Bills was set down for the 23rd instant, and the second for the 16th of March, If the Motion of the Government was adopted, those Bills would be thrown aside without any reasonable probability of their being read a second time this Session. Would the hon. Member assist in throwing out these measures by voting for the Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith)? He maintained that the Irish Members had not blocked the Bill of the hon. Member for South Tyrone; on the contrary, two supporters of the Government, who might be considered the allies of the hon. Member, if not his Colleagues, had taken measures to block the progress of the hon. Member's Bill. But another Bill in which the hon. Member for South Tyrone was more particularly interested than in land agitation would suffer if the Motion were adopted—that was the Liquor Traffic (Ulster) Local Veto Bill. The hon. Member had, on a recent occasion, given up in an ostentatious fashion the apostleship of temperance; but perhaps a little of the old love yet remained to induce him to keep, by his vote, that measure from destruction. He (Mr. M. J. Kenny) protested against the action of the Government as an encroachment upon the rights of private Members.

MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)

said, that a measure of the greatest possible importance to the Irish people was down for Wednesday, the 16th instant; but if the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith) carried his Motion they would lose the day for the discussion of that Bill. There was a still more important measure set down for the following Wednesday, the 23rd instant—the Irish Land Bill, which dealt with all the rights connected with the land, and those improvements in which the Irish people at the present time took such a deep interest. The Government were never tired of telling them they were desirous of bringing forward legislation for the amendment of the Land Act of 1881. Why were they going to prevent the Irish Members from bringing in a Bill dealing with the subject? If the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House were adopted, it would be impossible to deal with this important question. The opportunity would be lost, and in the hurry-skurry of a long Session such an opportunity might never occur again, Another important mea- sure had been arranged to be brought forward by the Irish Members relating to the bad system of election of Poor Law Guardians in Ireland; but not one of these measures for the improvement of the condition of the Irish people could be advanced if the proposed Rules of Procedure were adopted. He trusted, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would see his way to withdraw his Motion.

MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)

said, he thought the present moment a most inopportune one for bringing forward such a Motion as that proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House (Mr. W. H. Smith). If the right hon. Gentleman were serious in his statement that he was anxious to approach the Irish Question, why did he not accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell)? In the present condition of Ireland it was imperative that the Government should state what their remedial or coercive measures might be. At the present moment, from one end of Ireland to the other, there was nothing but distress, nothing but disturbance; and it was incumbent on the Government to bring forward their measures to ameliorate the distress, or put an end to the disturbance. The refusal of the Government to consider the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork would have a bad effect—it would induce the Irish people to take their minds and their eyes off that Assembly, and to seek again the redress of their grievances by other methods. The time had arrived when every private Member of the House ought to take his stand against the Rules of Procedure. He protested against the Government taking steps which would prevent the Irish Members from bringing in a Bill placing the leaseholders of Ireland within the benefit of the Land Act.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 107; Noes 22; Majority 105.

Abraham, W. (Glam.) Brown, A. L.
Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.) Byrne, G. M.
Cameron, C.
Blake, J. A. Campbell, H.
Blake, T. Carew, J. L.
Blane, A. Clancy, J. J.
Bolton, T. D. Clark, Dr. G. B.
Bradlaugh, C. Cobb, H. P.
Bright, Jacob Coleridge, hon. B.
Conway, M. Nolan, J.
Conybeare, C. A. V. O'Brien, J. F. X.
Cox, J. R. O'Brien, P.
Craig, J. O'Brien, P. J.
Craven, J. O'Connor, A.
Crawford, W. O'Connor, J. (Tippry.)
Cromer, W. R. O'Hanlon, T.
Dillon, J. O'Hea, P.
Dillwyn, L. L. Parnell, C. S.
Ellis, J. E. Pease, A. E.
Ellis, T. E. Pickersgill, E. H.
Esslemont, P. Picton, J. A.
Evershed, S. Plowden, Sir W. C.
Fenwick, C. Power, P. J.
Flynn, J. C. Price, T. P.
Foley, P. J. Priestley, B.
Fox, Dr. J. F. Provand, A. D.
Fuller, G. P. Pyne, J. D.
Gilhooly, J. Quinn, T.
Gill, T. P. Reed. Sir E. J.
Hayden, L. P. Rendel, S.
Healy, M. Richard, H.
Holden, I. Robinson, T.
Hooper, J. Rowlands, J.
Howell, G. Rowlands, W. B.
Illingworth, A. Rowntree, J.
Jordan, J. Russell, E. R.
Kenny, M. J. Sexton, T.
Labouchere, H. Shaw, T.
Lalor, R. Sheehan, J. D.
Lane, W. J. Stack, J.
Lawson, Sir W. Stevenson, F. S.
Leahy, J. Stuart, J.
Lefevre, rt. hn. G. J. S. Sullivan, D.
Lewis, T. P. Summers, W.
Macdonald, W. A. Thomas, A.
M'Arthur, A. Tuite, J.
M'Cartan, M. Wallace, R.
M'Carthy, J. H. Warmington, C. M.
M'Donald, V. Wayman, T.
M'Ewan, W. Williamson, J.
M'Laren, W. S. B. Wilson, H. J.
Marum, E. M. Woodhead, J.
Morgan, O. V.
Morley, rt. hon. J. TELLERS.
Murphy, W. M. Biggar, J. G.
Nolan, Colonel J. P. Sheil, E.
Addison, J. E. W. Bethell, Commander G. R.
Ainslie, W. G.
Allsopp, hon. G. Bickford-Smith, W.
Ambrose, W. Biddulph, M.
Amherst, W. A. T. Birkbeck, Sir E.
Anstruther, H. T. Blundell, Col. H. B. H.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Bond, G. H.
Baggallay, E. Bonsor, H. C. O.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Borthwick, Sir A.
Baird, J. G. A. Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C.
Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.
Balfour, G. W. Bright, right hon. J.
Banes, Major G. E. Bristowe, T. L.
Barry, A. H. Smith- Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.
Bartley, G. C. T.
Bates, Sir E. Bruce, Lord H.
Baumann, A. A. Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.
Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks- Burghley, Lord
Beadel, W. J. Caldwell, J.
Beaumont, H. F. Campbell, Sir A.
Beckett, E. W. Chamberlain, R.
Beresford, Lord C. W. Chaplin, right hon. H.
De la Poer Charrington, S.
Clarke, Sir E. G. Hanbury, R. W.
Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N. Hanbury-Tracy, hon. F. S. A.
Coddington, W. Hankey, F. A.
Coghill, D. H. Hardcastle, E.
Cohen, L. L. Hardcastle, F.
Colomb, Capt. J. C. R. Havelock - Allan, Sir H. M.
Cooke, C. W. R.
Cotton, Capt. E. T. D. Heath, A. R.
Courtney, L. H. Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-
Cranborne, Viscount
Cross, H. S. Heaton, J. H.
Crossman, Gen. Sir W. Heneage, right hon. E.
Currie, Sir D. Herbert, hon. S.
Curzon, Viscount Hervey, Lord F.
Dalrymple, C. Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.
Davenport, H. T.
Davenport, W. B. Hoare, S.
Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P. Holland, rt. hon. Sir H. T.
De Cobain, E. S. W. Holmes, rt. hon. H.
De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P. Hornby, W. H.
Houldsworth, W. H.
De Worms, Baron H. Howard, J.
Dickson, Major A. G. Howorth, H. H.
Dimsdale, Baron R. Hozier, J. H. C.
Dixon-Hartland, F. D. Hughes, Colonel E.
Dorington, Sir J. E. Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C.
Duncan, Colonel F.
Duncombe, A. Hunt, F. S.
Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H. Hunter, Sir G.
Isaacs, L. H.
Edwards-Moss, T. C. Isaacson, F. W.
Elliot, hon. A. R. D. Jackson, W. L.
Elton, C. I. Jarvis, A. W.
Evelyn, W. J. Jennings, L. J.
Ewart, W. Johnston, W.
Ewing, Sir A. O. Kelly, J. R.
Eyre, Colonel H. Kennaway, Sir J. H.
Fellowes, W. H. Kenrick, W.
Field, Admiral E. Kerans, F. H.
Fielden, T. Kimber, H.
Finch-Hatton, hon. M. E. G. King, H. S.
Fisher, W. H. Knatchbull-Hugessen, hon. H. T.
Fitzgerald, R. U. P. Knowles, L.
Fletcher, Sir H. Lafone, A.
Folkestone, right hon. Viscount Lambert, I. C.
Laurie, Colonel R. P.
Forwood, A. B. Lawrence, Sir T.
Fowler, Sir R. N. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Fraser, General C. C. Lees, E.
Fulton, J. F. Legh, T. W.
Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E. Leighton, S.
Lewis, C. E.
Gedge, S. Lewisham, right hon. Viscount
Gent-Davis, R.
Giles, A. Llewellyn, E. H.
Gilliat, J. S. Long, W. H.
Godson, A. F. Low, M.
Goldsmid, Sir J. Lowther, hon. W.
Gorst, Sir J. E. Lowther, J. W.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. Lubbock, Sir J.
Gray, C. W. Macartney, W. G. E.
Greene, E. Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.
Grimston, Viscount
Gunter, Colonel R. Maclean, J. M.
Hall, C. Maclure, J. W.
Hambro, Col. C. J. T. M'Calmont, Captain J.
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F. Malcolm, Col. J. W.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. Manners, rt. hon. Lord J. J. R.
Hamilton, Col, C. E. Marriott, rt. hn. W. T.
Matthews, rt. hon. H. Sellar, A. C.
Maxwell, Sir H. E. Selwyn, Capt. C. W.
Mayne, Admiral R. C. Seton-Karr, H.
Mildmay, F. B. Sidebottom, T. H.
Mills, hon. C. W. Sidebottom, W.
More, R. J. Sinclair, W. P.
Mount, W. G. Smith, rt. hon. W. H.
Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R. Smith, A.
Stanhope, rt. hon. E.
Mowbray, R. G. C. Stanley, E. J.
Mulholland, H. L. Sutherland, T.
Muntz, P. A. Talbot, J. G.
Murdoch, C. T. Tapling, T. K.
Newark, Viscount Temple, Sir R.
Noble, W. Thorburn, W.
Norris, E. S. Tollemache, H. J.
Northcote, hon. H. S. Tomlinson, W. E. M.
Norton, R. Townsend, G. F.
O'Neill, hon. R. T. Tyler, Sir H. W.
Paget, Sir R. H. Vincent, C. E. H.
Parker, hon. F. Walsh, hon. A. H. J.
Penton, Captain F. T. Waring, Colonel T.
Plunket, right hon. D. R. Watson, J.
Webster, Sir R. E.
Plunkett, hon. J. W. Webster, R. G.
Pomfret, W. P. White, J. B.
Price, Captain G. E. Whitley, E.
Puleston, J. H. Winterbotham, A. B.
Raikes, rt. hon. H. C. Wodehouse, E. R.
Rankin, J. Wolmer, Viscount
Rasch, Major F. C. Wood, N.
Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T. Wortley, C. B. Stuart-
Robertson, W. T. Wright, H. S.
Robinson, B. Wroughton, P.
Rollit, Sir A. K. Yerburgh, R. A.
Ross, A. H.
Russell, Sir G. TELLERS.
Russell, T. W. Douglas, A. Akers-
Salt, T. Walrond, Col. W. K.

Main Question put. Resolved, That the consideration of the proposed Rules of Procedure have precedence of all Orders of the Day and Notices of Motion on every day on which the consideration of those Rules may be set down by the Government.


It will be, perhaps, for the convenience of the House, if I state that I propose to put down these Resolutions for consideration on Monday next, in the hope and confident assurance that the Address will be disposed of to-night in its present stage, and the Report on the Address tomorrow.

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