§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I may, perhaps, now refer to the Question which was addressed to me by the right hon. Member for Berwickshire (Mr. Marjoribanks) with regard to the Scotch Estimates, and also to make a statement as to the course of the Estimates generally for the next few days. We hope to be able to reach the Irish Estimates again this evening, and to proceed with them to-morrow and on Monday. We propose to place distinct Votes on the Paper for each day as the first Votes to be considered, in order that hon. Gentlemen who are specially interested may have an opportunity for fully preparing themselves for any particular Vote. We propose to take the Scotch Estimates on Tuesday and on Wednesday next, if it should be necessary to continue them on Wednesday. It is necessary we should obtain a Vote or Votes for the Navy on Thursday; and we propose, therefore, to proceed with the Navy Estimates on Thursday, beginning with Vote VIII. On Friday morning we propose to take the Army 1422 Estimates; and on Saturday to conclude the Navy and Army Estimates, if they should not have been concluded on the Friday. On Monday in the following week—that is, the 17th—we propose to take Class V. of the Civil Service Estimates, and on Tuesday the 18th the Revenue Estimates. I think it is desirable I should make this statement to the House, in order that hon. Members may know beforehand the order in which the Votes shall come on; and I may once more appeal to the House to give such assistance as may be necessary to enable us to complete the Business of the House before necessary holidays are taken. I have now added 10 days to the 32 already occupied in Supply; and when it is understood that these Estimates will again have to be considered within the next three or four months, hon. Members will see that they will have a speedy opportunity of again raising any question in which they may be interested; and I trust they will concur with those who desire to give fair but not excessive consideration to the questions raised in endeavouring to bring the Business of the country to a conclusion.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
What sort of a Sitting is it to be to-morrow? Is it to be like a Wednesday Sitting? And what is the arrangement with regard to the debate on the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I understood that the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. J. C. Stevenson) accepted the proposal I made—that we should have an Evening Sitting on Friday the 14th for the consideration of the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday Bill; and with regard to to-morrow, it will be like a Wednesday Sitting. It is for the convenience of the House that the Sitting should not be unduly protracted; and I hope that that which is for the convenience of the House will also be for the advantage of Business.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether it was proposed to pass the Appropriation Bill before Christmas; and, if so, when it would be introduced? He also wished to know whether they were to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's references to next year's Estimates that this was a pledge that those Estimates 1423 would be introduced early in the Session and then proceeded with?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I have endeavoured to give the House every assurance which is in my power. It is the intention of the Government to ask the House to consider the Estimates at the earliest possible period next year. No one is more sensible than I am of the inconvenience of delaying them till the end of the year; and, undoubtedly, so far as it is possible for me to give a pledge to that effect, I give it without any reservation whatever. The introduction of the Appropriation Bill must depend on the conclusion of Supply. It is just possible, according to the arrangements I have foreshadowed, to pass the Appropriation Bill before Christmas.
§ MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)
Will the right hon. Gentleman make a statement with regard to the Universities (Scotland) Bill?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I am afraid I cannot add to the statement I have already made. I have accepted the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers), that the Universities (Scotland) Bill shall be discussed pari passu with the Appropriation Bill. But it cannot be taken before that time.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is the case that he has received a Memorial signed by a number of Scottish Members strongly expressing the opinion that it is inexpedient to proceed with the Universities (Scotland) Bill this Session?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
Yes, Sir; it is perfectly true that I have received a Memorial to that effect. I have received a Memorial signed by 22 Scottish Members asking me to proceed with the Bill, and a Memorial signed by 21 Scottish Members asking me not to proceed with it.
§ MR. HUNTER
The right hon. Gentleman has reversed the numbers. There are 22 Members against, and 21 for, proceeding with the Bill this Session.