HC Deb 16 July 1888 vol 328 cc1411-3
MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)

I should like to put a Question to the First Lord of the Treassury with regard to the course of Business. The first Question has reference to the Notice No. 5, for to-night, which has just been the subject of some remarks. It would be greatly, I think, to the convenience of the House if the right hon. Gentleman could inform me whether he intends to make the Motion to-night which he has put on the Paper; and, if so, after what hour he will not take it? I want, also, to ask him a more general Question. In consequence of my having learnt that the progress made with the Local Government Bill has been of a satisfactory character, and that the Bill is not likely, perhaps, to occupy so much of the time of the House as we at one time apprehended, I desire to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, if that should prove to be so, he will—I do not say to-night, but probably at the close of the Committee on the Local Government Bill, or some other early date—give such further information to the House as he can with respect to the future intentions of the Government with regard to Business, and especially as to the probability of a Sitting in the Autumn?


I think the right hon. Gentleman will see, with reference to the latter part of his Question, that I had better reserve my observations for some further opportunity before I answer him. I think it may be desirable to see what progress is made with the Local Government Bill, and to make any further statement that is necessary when we have concluded Committee on that Bill. With reference to Notice No. 5, I have placed that Notice on the Paper in the form in which it stands, in order to give as complete information as possible to the right hon. Gentleman and to the House as to the character and scope of the Bill. I had hoped that the Bill would be accepted without debate—that is to say, the Motion for the introduction of the Bill. If it is opposed, it cannot be taken to-night, because we shall not reach it until after 12 o'clock.


Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that we are not to be allowed to debate the first reading, whatever may be the hour at which the Motion is reached to-night; and that we are to accept as sheep the judgment of a jury of butchers?


The hon. Member must be aware of the Rules of the House. If there is opposition to the Bill, I believe it cannot be taken after 12 o'clock; but it can be discussed after 12 o'clock and up to the hour of 1.


With regard to Notice No. 5, do I understand that it is the intention of the right hon. Gentleman to propose that Notice to-night after 12 o'clock, for discussion to-night?


Yes, Sir; I shall ask leave to introduce the Bill after 12 o'clock tonight, and then discussion may take place. But the right hon. Gentleman is aware that if that discussion takes the character of opposition to it, it cannot be continued.


What does the right hon. Gentleman mean? Will he be kind enough to say under what Rule of the House it is provided that if the discussion takes the character of opposition it cannot be continued?


If the Motion is opposed it cannot be taken.

SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)

May I ask whether it would not be convenient to everyone that the right hon. Gentleman should agree to take Notice No. 5 as the first Order to-morrow?


Distinctly not. Subsequently,


said: With reference to Notice No. 5, may I ask you, Sir, whether, as it refers to the conduct of hon. Members of this House it does not come within the category of a question of Privilege?


Certainly not. It is put down in the usual way as a Notice of Motion, and it will come on when called on. Of course, if the discussion takes place after 12 o'clock, the hour for adjournment would be 1 o'clock.