HC Deb 16 November 1888 vol 330 cc1392-3
MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)

I wish to ask whether the First Lord of the Treasury can state the numbers and the names of the Scottish Members at whose instance the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Southern Division of Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) recommended him to defer the consideration of the Universities (Scotland) Bill for such a share of Parliamentary time as could be spared from the discussion of the Appropriation Bill?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

I do not think that any answer I have given with reference to the Question which was put to me with regard to the Universities (Scotland) Bill bears the interpretation which the hon. Member has put upon it. I never imputed to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh that he had consulted the Scottish Members; but I said that he had expressed an opinion which the Government thought was an exceedingly good one, and of which they were glad to avail themselves. I did not understand that the right hon. Gentleman had consulted—[Mr. WALLACE: He said so.] If the right hon. Gentleman said he consulted them, he is best able to answer that himself. I did not impute that to him.

MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)

I am sorry that my hon. Friend, who was in the House with me till half-past one last night, did not tell me he was going to put this Question, because then I should have been prepared to answer him either directly or by giving the First Lord of the Treasury the necessary information. But the fact is simply this: I was under the impression that the Government were going straight through with the Estimates, and then with the Appropriation Bill; and I was also under the impression, from communications made to me by several of the Scottish Members—not by one, but by several—that they did desire to have a debate upon the Universities Bill this Session—not that they approved, in all its clauses, of the Bill, because there are parts of the Bill I myself most strongly object to, and I know they most strongly object to, but they thought it would be convenient that there should he a debate on this Bill. And with that information and that object, I told the First Lord of the Treasury I thought it would be a good thing—I said nothing about the Scottish Members—if, when the Votes had been passed, and we reached the stage of the Appropriation Bill, we had a debate on the Universities Bill. I still think that course would be desirable. It would be in the interests of the question, because the Universities Bill has never been discussed in this House at all. That is all I said.