HC Deb 07 March 1887 vol 311 cc1409-12

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether ample notice would be given to the House before the Supplementary Estimates for Egypt were submitted; and, whether the Government could, give any indication as to when they would be likely to introduce the Supplementary Army Estimates?

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

It is intended to set down the Army and Navy Supplementary Estimates, including the Estimates for Egypt, for consideration on Thursday next. The Estimates them selves will be distributed to-night, or to-morrow morning.

MR. T. P. O'CONNOE (Liverpool, Scotland)

asked, whether the right hon. Gentleman adhered to the statement he made on Friday, about the necessity of finishing the Supplementary Estimates before the close of the sitting; whether that was rendered necessary by the state of the law, or merely to meet the arrangements of the Government?


It is the fact that the state of the law requires that the Supplementary Estimates should be passed by the 21st of March, and all the Estimates for which provision has to be made in the Appropriation Act must be passed by that date. The hon. Gentleman is aware that, in addition to the Civil Service Supplementary Estimates, there are the Army and Navy Supplementary Estimates; Vote3 to be taken on account of the Army and Navy Services; and also a Vote on Account for the Civil Services, by the 21st of March, at latest. The hon. Gentleman is also aware that, as regards the Army and Navy Estimates, it is permitted to Members to move Amendments on going into Committee. Under these circumstances, Sir, I feel it necessary to ask the House to dispose of the Supplementary Civil Service Estimates which are on the Paper to-day. The hon. Gentleman remarks that they might be taken on some other day. Sir, the House is aware that the Government have only control over the Business on Mondays and Thursdays; but on other days Motions may be taken on going into Committee of Supply—Motions raised by any Member in any part of the House. Under these circumstances, the Government do not feel that it would be fitting to permit, so far as we are able to prevent it, further delay in the consideration of these Estimates. In regard to several of them, they are simply automatic—that is to say, they simply carry out the law where insufficient provision has been made in the Estimates for the year. As regards others of the Estimates, there are, no doubt, questions which invite and demand the consideration of the House. And I should wish to appeal to hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House that they should approach the consideration of the Estimates, which do not demand the consideration to which I have referred, with as much self-restraint as may permit them to arrive at other Estimates which, undoubtedly, demand consideration in sufficient time and under conditions which will permit of their discussion in a seemly manner, and in a manner which will conduce to the dignity of this House. I make that appeal, Sir, because the arrangement which has been made is one which I believe is necessary to enable the House to give due consideration to the Estimates which are before it.

MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)

It is not, of course, possible to give an absolute engagement with respect to a great number of the Votes in the same clear and positive manner as where a single subject is being dealt with; still, so far as one can give a judgment, I do not think the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman is an unfair one. I hope, Sir, it will be found possible to dispose of the remainder of the Supplementary Civil Service Estimates to-night.


asked why it was necessary to have the Vote on Account before the 21st of March? Would not the 31st of March do?


said, the Votes on Account must be included in the Appropriation Bill, which must be passed so as to render the money avail able for the Public Service by the 30th of March.