§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
wished to say, in reference to a Question put yesterday by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler), that Her Majesty's Government, considering the exigencies of the Public Service, thought it necessary to ask the House to go into Committee of Supply on the Civil Service Supplementary Estimates on Monday next.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
said, that as the right hon. Gentleman had said yesterday that he would only answer this Question on Monday, it had been assumed by hon. Gentlemen that the Estimates would not come on on Monday. He would like to ask when the Supplementary Estimates on the Army and Navy would be delivered? They were already near the close of the financial year, and these Estimates were not yet delivered. He also took this opportunity of giving Notice that, having regard to the enormous figure of the Supplementary Civil Service Estimates, he would call attention on these Estimates to the great increase of expenditure beyond that which was estimated at the time of the Budget, and especially to the vast increase of the expenditure on the Post Office and Telegraph Departments.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)
expressed a hope that the Postmaster General would, before the Civil Service Estimates came on for discussion, lay upon the Table a statement concerning the financial results of 6d. telegrams.
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL(Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)
said, he thought it would hardly be possible to lay such a statement on the Table on Monday; but he hoped to give the right hon. Gentleman and the House full information on the subject.
MR. SHAW LEFEVER
said, it would be very convenient if the right hon. Gentleman would circulate a statement before the discussion.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
appealed to the Government not to bring on the Civil Service Estimates on Monday, as many Members had been under the impression that an important discussion upon the Rules of Procedure would take place that evening, and had made their arrangements accordingly.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, he was not anxious to bring on the Supplementary Estimates on Monday; but a representation had been made to him privately last 585 evening to the effect that it was felt on the other side of the House that sufficient time would not be allowed for the discussion of the Supplementary Estimates if they were not brought forward at once. Therefore, he felt bound to afford a sufficient opportunity to the House to discuss those Estimates. He would be glad if the House would proceed with the other pressing Business on Monday; but it was for the House to say whether they would not think it right, under the circumstances, to proceed with the Estimates.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
said, it so happened that he was much struck by the lapse of time which, had occurred without the Estimates being brought forward; and, remembering his rather sore experiences in former days over the Supplementary Estimates, he had become alarmed lest Her Majesty's Government, in their desire to press forward the Rules of Procedure, should get into some legal embarrassment with respect to the dates necessary to be observed. He therefore thought his right hon. Friend (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) would feel that this consideration of legality ought to overbear all consideration of inconvenience.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
said, that, in answer to the right hon. Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt), he had to say that, owing to the change which had been made in the Office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goschen) felt it right that he should be at liberty himself to examine the Estimates for the Army and Navy, and that some little delay had therefore occurred in presenting them to the House; but they would be presented in the course of a few days.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
asked if the Government had decided yet as to whether there would be any Supplementary Estimates in connection with the expenses incurred in Egypt?