§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
I must really ask the Government not to go on with this Bill now. The Bill was placed on the Notice Paper only the day before yesterday, and is being shoved on in the most unreasonable way. The Government may think this is a proper way of getting on with Business, and of getting the public money; but we are here to prevent the public money being unduly spent, and I sincerely hope some more time may be allowed us for consideration of this Bill. I will now move that Progress be reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Dr. Tanner.)
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE TOR INDIA (Sir JOHN GORST) (Chatham)
Of course, if hon. Members are determined to oppose Progress, I shall not persist. I may just mention 412 that, so far from this being a Bill for spending public money, it is a Bill for saving money; and if hon. Members were as anxious for the benefit of our Indian fellow-subjects as they profess to be, they would not attempt to stop the Bill.
§ DR. TANNER
Of course, I will defer to the wish of my hon. and learned Friend, and will withdraw the Motion; but I must protest most strongly against the way in which Government measures are brought on at a very late hour, and pushed through Committee at the close of a prolonged Sitting.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2 (Power of trustees, &c. in relation to exchange of stock).
§ Amendment proposed.—(Mr. Salt.)
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR, INDIA (Sir JOHN GOBST) (Chatham)
I may explain that this is a technical Amendment, which, with others, is proposed to enable holders of 4 per cent Stock, who are trustees for minors or persons of unsound mind, to exchange such Stock for 3½ per cent Stock. The Amendments are suggested by the Bank of England and gentlemen who are aware of Stock standing in small amounts in the name of trustees, and they have been submitted to the Attorney General, and approved by him, from the point of view of a protector of the rights of minors and persons of unsound mind.
§ MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)
I understand that the power is permissive; and, if so, will it not be somewhat expensive for a trustee to make application for the consent of a Judge of the High Court? Is it not desirable that the conversion should be made compulsory, at once protecting a guardian who has not the power of varying the terms of his trust, and saving the expense of going through the formalities of getting the consent of the Judge to the transfer?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment proposed.413
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
We do not hear a word of the Amendments as they are proposed, or when put from the Chair, and we are passing clauses we really know nothing about.
§ MR. CHANCE
I would appeal to the hon. and learned Attorney General, would it not be better to make the conversion of the Stock held by trustees compulsory? Will not the form prescribed imply considerable expense to holders of Stock of small amounts? Would it not be better to make the conversion of the Stock compulsory at once?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
There will be no great expense incurred, and the conversion is optional, and alternative to the redemption of the Stock at par. The guardian may withhold his consent to the exchange.
§ MR. CHANCE
As I understand the clause, it is introducing an entirely new principle into lunacy practice.
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
It may be as the hon. Member says; but, at this late hour, I will not enter upon an argument. I can only say that it is, in our opinion, a proper course in the interest of those concerned. Of course, the hon. Member will have the opportunity of looking into the matter and raising any specific point later.
§ SIR JOHN GORST
Of course, if such a Motion is pressed, I cannot resist it; but I would remind the Committee of the importance of time in the matter. If we pass the Bill through Committee to-night, it can be printed and set down for Report on Thursday, and we shall then have an opportunity of considering it.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Remaining Clauses agreed to.
§ Bill reported; as amended, to be considered on Thursday, and to be printed. [Bill 267.]