§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause (Prohibition of Stores,)—(Mr. Donald Crawford,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
I do not know whether it is possible to deal with this clause to-night. I have not the smallest objection to sit a little longer if hon. Gentlemen think it right to do so. ["No, no!"] This certainly is a clause which will raise considerable discussion.
§ SIR JOSEPH PEASE (Durham, Barnard Castle)
Mr. Courtney, I beg to move that you report Progress, and ask leave to sit again. I have no wish at all to interfere with the proper progress of this Bill. I think it is a very important Bill, a Bill to which some time ought to be alloted, in order that the difficult questions with which it deals, involving as they do enormous sums of money and matters of great importance to the working classes, should be fairly and properly discussed. Certainly, a Bill of this excellent but complicated character should not be taken at 10 minutes to 2 o'clock in the morning. Some of us were here until half past 3 o'clock yesterday morning. It is really more than human nature can endure, that we should go on with Bill after Bill after 2 o'clock in the morning.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.—(Sir Joseph Pease.)
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
I trust that Progress will not be reported, 1941 but that if it is reported, it will be reported with some distinct understanding on the part of the Government that reasonable facilities will be afforded for the discussion of the provisions of the Bill. I have tried my best during this week to consult the convenience of the House by not pressing the Bill unduly upon its attention. This is a Bill which it is admitted on both sides of the House ought to be carried, and, therefore, I hope the Government will afford some facilities for its passage.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
I do not think the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) means to suggest that Her Majesty's Government have any desire to obstruct the progress of the Bill. This is a private Bill; but the Government will endeavour to give its clauses the best consideration we can. The difficulty is this—very important Amendments have been put down by independent Members, Amendments which do not arise on the Bill as originally framed. It is impossible for Her Majesty's Government to give any pledge as to affording facilities for the discussion of the Bill; but, as far as we possibly can, we shall see that the Bill is fairly and properly discussed. Certainly, clauses such as that proposed by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Donald Crawford) cannot be adequately discussed at this time of the night.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
If I consent to report Progress now, and a similar Motion to this is made when the Bill again comes before the Committee, I shall do my best, believing I have a very large amount of support on both sides of the House, to resist Progress being reported. I admit that the Government have done their best to facilitate the passing of the Bill; and that I have received assistance from Members on both sides of the House. I do not want at such time of the morning, and when hon. Members are jaded with their labours, to press the Bill on.
§ MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanarkshire, N.E.)
One word in support of the appeal of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh). There are a great many Members on this side of the House, and I dare say on the other, who stay night after night until 2 and 3 o'clock to take part in the discussion of this Bill. I know it is difficult for 1942 the Government to make special arrangements for the Bill; but I am convinced, that almost any arrangement would be better for the despatch of Public Business than allowing the Bill to drag on in this way. Amendments accumulate night after night, and hon. Gentlemen are detained here at great inconvenience.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
May I make one suggestion? A large number of clauses have now been carried through Committee. It would simplify matters if the Bill were reprinted as far as it has gone. Many hon. Members do not understand the position in which the Bill is, and Amendments are suggested to mo which are beside the question, because we have already passed them.
§ MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)
Many Amendments have been put down. It would simplify future discussion if hon. Gentleman would consider whether the Amendments they have suggested are entirely germane to Truck.
§ MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)
I quite agree with the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), that it would be a great convenience to Members who desire to take some intelligent part in the proceedings on this Bill, that these clauses should be reprinted. At present, we do not know where we are.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON) (Leeds, N.)
I am afraid there are difficulties in the way of reprinting the Bill at this stage.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART-WORTLEY) (Sheffield, Hallam)
We have our own private reprint which any Gentleman can see. It shows what Amendments have been made in the Bill.
§ Question put, and agreed, to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Mondaynext.