HC Deb 06 September 1887 vol 320 cc1518-21

(Baron Henry De Worms, Mr. Jackson.)


Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 (Short title and construction).

MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N)

.: May I ask for some explanation of this Bill?


It is purely of a technical nature, and is simply to carry out the recommendation of the Committee on Public Accounts that certain monies now paid to the Exchequer should be paid to the Mercantile Marine Fund, and also to bring within the definition of lighthouse any improved means of lighting, or apparatus for fog signalling.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 2 (Fees on examination of engineers to be paid to Mercantile Marine Fund).

On the Motion of Baron HENRY DE WORMS, the following Amendments made:—In page 2, line 2, by leaving out "paid," and inserting "payable;" in line 4, by leaving out "paid," and inserting" levied;" and, in line 5, by leaving out "paid," and inserting "levied."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 3 and 4 severally struck out.

Clauses 5 and 6 severally agreed to.

Clause 7 (Explanation of meaning of lighthouse).

Amendment proposed, In page 3, line 12, after "signals," insert "and the expression ' new lighthouse' shall include the addition to any existing lighthouse of any improved light, or any siren, or any description of fog signal."—(Baron Henry De Worms.)

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


I should like to have some explanation of this and what is the object of it. The clause has that objection in the drafting that it does not explain itself except to a person technically acquainted with the subject. The whole thing is set down by a reference to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, and it is impossible to understand it unless one has acquaintance with that Act.


I shall be glad to give an explanation. The hon. and gallant Member is possibly aware that very great improvements have been made in the lighthouses around the coasts of England, Ireland, and Scotland, and it has been found necessary to provide for expenditure on additional apparatus; and it has, therefore, been necessary to include various appliances within the definition lighthouse.


And there is no alteration in the dues?


No alteration at all.


It appears to me that a great part of the clause is superfluous. Should I be in Order in moving the omission of the words from 1854 to the end?


Yes; after the present Amendment is disposed of.


I do not want to offer any factious opposition; but I may say I have visited some 20 or 30 lighthouses, and I found all these foghorns and other apparatus in existence; and I really cannot see why so much attention should be paid to these minute additions to the clause.


I can assure the hon. Gentleman the words are absolutely necessary; and a considerable number of lighthouses have not the elaborate apparatus he has seen in some.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 8 (Repeal).


I desire now to move to report Progress.


There is only one more clause.


We have had scant courtesy shown us to-night. I make my Motion firmly and decidedly, and it will be my duty to carry it through. We should not now proceed with any more Business. I consider we have not been fairly dealt with, and the reason why I say so will be present to the minds of hon. Members opposite. But I need do no more than urge the usual physical reasons for reporting Progress—that we have been 14 hours at work, and we have to meet again at noon to-day.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Edward Harrington.)


I should have thought the Government would have had something to say on this Motion. I shall support my hon. Friend to any extent. We have been the victims of an outrage here to-night. I have been seven years in Parliament and have never before been treated in a similar manner. However, I pass from this for the moment to return to it again and again. I intend to be here to-morrow for the purpose; and there are good physical reasons for the Motion now.


I support the Motion also. Last Friday we had a very late Sitting; and a right hon. Gentleman found fault with me that I was not in my place at noon on Saturday to ask a Question of which I had given Notice. But it is a physical impossibility to do without rest. We see the physical disability under which the Attorney General is suffering at the present moment—the lassitude he displays. I am sure hon. Members should be in accord with us on this occasion.


I hope the Committee will not agree to the Motion. This is a purely technical Bill, it is absolutely necessary, and there remains but one undisputed clause to pass. I must be allowed to say that the opposition to this last Clause of the Bill can only be characterized as obstructive and unfair. I cannot agree to the motion to report Progress, and feel assured that in resisting it I shall have the support of all hon. Members on this side, and in fact of the majority of the Committee. I trust that the Motion will be withdrawn and the Bill allowed to pass without further delay.


I think we have behaved very well; and I cannot understand why the hon. Gentleman should get up in a manner I might almost call ferocious. But I suppose that as some animals usually harmless become fierce in defence of their offspring, so I suppose the hon. Gentleman, putting aside his usual genial manner, is annoyed at opposition to a measure to which he is much attached. I cannot agree with my hon. Friend that the Attorney General has shown any lassitude; on the contrary, I think he has been very clear and lucid in his explanations. But remember two hours ago the Government considered time of so much importance that they hurried and slurred over important Irish Business, exhausting all the Forms of the House to get rid of it. Curiously enough they now do not want to go. But really I think we might close Business now, and I think the hon. Gentleman might be satisfied; we have cleared away all the Amendments to this Bill.

SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)

In the interests of peace may I be allowed to make a suggestion? Things look awkward at the end of this prolonged Sitting. I believe the reason why Irish Members support this Motion, that they evince this desire to stop Business, is that they are very much dissatisfied with an answer given to the hon. Member for West Belfast by the Attorney General for Ireland. I do not wish to interfere in the matter at all; I only make a suggestion. I really believe if the right hon. and learned Gentleman were to get up and say he will make further inquiry into the matter, in which so much interest is displayed, if he were to say that before the end of the Session he will take an opportunity of explaining the matter more fully, I think it might greatly facilitate progress now.


In answer to the hon. Baronet I may say inquiry is being made into the subject. That inquiry is not complete. A Question has been given Notice of for Thursday, and that, I think, will be the most convenient time to refer to the subject. I said that on the materials before me, it was not in my power to direct a prosecution.

Question put, and negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, as amended; to be considered To-morrow.

House adjourned at ten minutes before Five o'clock in the morning.