§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."1347
§ MR. PICKERSGILL) (Bethnal Green, S.W.
I beg to move that the debate be now adjourned. I do so because I read in the papers on Saturday that Mr. Stephens, who has been engaged in levying distraints for tithes in Wales, has come up to London for the express purpose of interviewing the Home Secretary and obtaining the assistance of the Military Forces of the Crown in carrying out those distraints. This, Sir, is an important Constitutional question. We have seen the Forces of the Crown again and again employed by the Government against Her Majesty's subjects, first in England, then in Ireland and Scotland, and now in Wales; and I think it is high time that some assurance of a satisfactory kind should be given by the Government before we give them the control of the Army that this sort of thing shall not continue. In the Preamble of the Bill it is stated that the Army is to be maintained for the defence of the country; but Her Majesty's Government have of late on several occasions employed the Forces of the Crown notoriously and recklessly against ordinary and peaceful citizens. They so employed them in Trafalgar Square on the 13th November, 1887.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The remarks of the hon. Gentleman cannot be made on the Army Annual Bill, as they do not relate to that measure.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
I hope, Sir, you will allow me to say a word to make my meaning clear. The object of the Bill is to give the Government the control of the Army for another year, and I am endeavouring, subject to your ruling, to point out that on several occasions the Government have made an improper—and as I am prepared to contend—an unconstitutional use of the Forces of the Crown. I am anxious, before we place in the hands of the Government this formidable weapon, to obtain from them some satisfactory assurance that it shall not be recklessly used against the citizens of this country. In moving that the debate be now adjourned, I should be glad to give the Home Secretary an opportunity of making a statement, which I trust may be reasonably satisfactory to the House.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the debate be now adjourned."
§ MR. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)
I am glad to be able to support the Motion, as I have seen that the use made of the Military Forces in this country has of late not been what we have been previously accustomed to. I have had opportunities of seeing the Military Forces used for purposes—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I must point out to the hon. Gentleman that the question now before the House is restricted to the Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate.
§ MR. T. ROWLANDS
Unless the Home Secretary gives a satisfactory answer on the point which has been raised we shall divide the House.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 31; Noes 110.—(Div. List, No. 56.)
§ Original Question again proposed,—"That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 105; Noes 36.—(Div. List, No. 57.)
§ Original Question put accordingly, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 110; Noes 32.—(Div. List, No. 58.)
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
Mr. Speaker, I beg to call attention to the fact that it is past one o'clock, after which business cannot be taken.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. and learned Member is aware that the remaining business can be taken after twelve o'clock, and it is strictly in accordance with the Rules to dispose of the remaining unopposed business now.
§ Remaining Orders of the Day deferred.
§ House adjourned at twenty minutes after One o'clock.