HC Deb 11 April 1889 vol 335 cc229-30

I wish, Sir, to ask the honourable Member for Hanley whether he intends to proceed with the Women's Suffrage Bill this Session; and, if so, whether he will endeavour to secure a day for its discussion, or engage not to take it except at a time when it may be fully debated?

MR. WOODALL (Hanley)

I have to thank the hon. Gentleman for his courtesy in giving me private notice of this question. The House is aware that, availing myself of the position obtained in the ballot, I put down the Women's Suffrage Bill for Second Reading on Wednesday next. The Leader of the the House, in the exercise of his discretion, has intimated his intention to follow the general usage in regard to the Easter Holidays, rather than to act upon the precedent he himself established so recently as 1887. I do not propose to challenge this decision by putting the House to the trouble of a division on the Motion for Adjournment. And I have no hesitation in giving the assurance asked for by the hon. Member, whose solicitude in regard to the Bill has been evidenced by his vigilant and persistent hostility. There is, however, no chance of making any further progress with the question this Session in what remains of private Members' time. But after the recent declaration of the Prime Minister in favour of the enfranchisement of women, I am not without hope that the Government will endeavour to give effect to the opinion of Lord Salisbury by affording me some facilities for taking the opinion of the House. I propose, therefore, to defer the withdrawal of the Bill until I am assured that such an expectation is not likely to be realized.