Motion made and Question proposed,
That on Tuesday, for the remainder of the Session, Government Business do have Precedence, and that, unless the House otherwise order, the House do meet at Three of the Clock, and that the provisions of Standing Order 56 be extended to such Sittings."—(Mr. William Henry Smith.)
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH
I wish to draw the attention of the First Lord of the Treasury to the Motion which stands second on the Paper for to-morrow evening, and which has reference to the grievances of the natives of India. Of course, that Motion cannot be brought on now, and, therefore, I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that it will be quite impossible to bring on that question on the Motion that Mr. Speaker leave the Chair, for the purpose of hearing the annual statement upon the Indian Budget. Under the new Rules Mr. Speaker will leave the Chair without the question being put, and the Motion which stands upon the Paper for to-morrow would not be in order with Mr. Courtney in the Chair. It is, therefore, probable that this important question will stand no chance of coming on for discussion this Session, unless I raise it in a more or less irregular fashion. Certainly, strong temptations are placed in the way of hon. Members who have no desire to trench upon the forms of the House to raise such questions as these by Amendments to the Address. Personally, I have never taken that course yet, but I have had this Motion on the Paper for the last 17 two Sessions. It is a question which affects 200 millions of people in India, and it ought not to be entirely thrown over without consideration. I do not ask the right hon. Gentleman to promise me a day, but on behalf of a very large number of people who, rightly or wrongly, consider that they have a real question to submit to the House, I put it to him whether it is not too much to defer the discussion of these questions year after year until the Benches are empty, and then only have a mere talk upon them, in which the sense of the House cannot be taken. I would suggest that that is not the proper treatment of our Indian subjects, and that it does not tend to promote their loyalty towards us. I trust that the First Lord of the Treasury will take care, when the Indian Budget statement is made, that an opportunity is afforded for taking the sense of the House upon the proposition I desire to submit to it.
§ MR. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
May I ask if it is the intention of the right hon. Gentleman to make any statement as to the Government business in submitting a Motion of this kind?
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I refrained from making a statement on moving the Motion, because, as the right hon. Gentleman is aware, as a rule many questions are addressed to the Minister who makes a Motion of this kind, and I can only address the House a second time by the indulgence of the House. I thought it would be more convenient that I should wait until questions had been put to me; but if the right hon. Gentleman and the House are desirous that I should make a brief statement now, I am quite ready to do so. The Government make this Motion with a view to the progress of the business of the House. We have been in Committee of Supply in the course of the present Session on 29 different occasions, and we have obtained only 80 Votes out of the large number of Votes which we have to get. With regard to what the course of business is likely to be, I will answer in the first place the question put by the hon. Member for Cumberland (Sir W. Lawson), as to the Sugar Convention Bill, which stands for consideration next Thursday. I think it may be well to say that, looking at the state of public business, and looking to the 18 desire, which I believe is shared by the House generally, that the Session should not be unduly prolonged, and having regard also to the fact that this Bill will be as operative if passed next year as if it were passed during the present Session, the Government do not think it necessary to press the consideration of the measure. I am by no means desirous of asking the House to consider a Bill now which can without any detriment to the public interests be postponed. We think it is sufficient for us to undertake the work which is pressing. With reference to the course of business this week, I have already stated that we propose to take the Army and Navy Estimates to-day and tomorrow, the Universities (Scotland) Bill on Thursday, and, if we are fortunate enough to pass the Second Reading on that day, we will take Supply on Friday. I think it is sufficient for the present that I should state what business we propose to take this week. I hope it will be possible to proceed at an early date with the Second Readings of the Irish Drainage Bills, the Irish Light Railways Bill, and the subsequent stages of the Scotch Universities Bill. The House is now in possession of all the important Government Bills, and I trust that the amount of business before the House will not be more than will enable the House to dispose of it without trenching too largly upon the time of hon. Members, and will admit of an earlier rising than has been the case in former Sessions. The Committee stage of the Merchant Shipping (Pilotage) Bill, which is on the Paper for to-night, will not be taken, as it will be referred to a Standing Committee, who will consider its details without trenching upon the time of the House. The Lunacy Bill will also by agreement be referred to a Standing Committee. The Universities (Scotland) Bill will tax the attention of the House for some time, and after it is disposed of we propose to proceed with some of the less important measures, so that we may then be able to proceed with the Scotch Local Government Bills from day to day until they are passed.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I may say that my intention was not to place the right hon. Gentleman in a position of embarrassment when speaking. I was under the impression that this was an independent 19 Motion, and that the right hon. Gentleman would have a right to reply, With reference to the statement which the right hon. Gentleman has now made, I have little to say on the present occasion. I am glad the Scotch Bills are to be proceeded with, and I hope that with the arrangements the right hon. Gentleman has spoken of we may reckon with great confidence on their being passed during the present year. The most important of the topics usually touched upon in regard to a Motion of this kind is that which embraces the future intentions of the Government with regard to fresh legislation. We now hear explicitly that we have before us all the important measures which it is the intention of the Government to press forward during the present year, subject, of course, to any unexpected and pressing necessity which may arise. Further, as we understand, we have before us now the work of the year. Under these circumstances, I do not think that any reasonable objection can be taken to the Motion made by the right hon. Gentleman. I cannot entirely say I am as sanguine as I infer he is from the brief reference he has made to the Sugar Duties Bill, which stands in the Orders for Thursday. Apparently the right hon. Gentleman thinks that all that will have to be done will be to make a formal Motion for the withdrawal of the measure. I do not think, having regard to the importance of the Bill and the question which it raises into life, and which it is likely to keep alive so long as the measure itself is living, either in this Session or another—I do not think it can be disposed of without any discussion whatever; although at the same time I do not think that that discussion need extend to any great or inconvenient length. I certainly do not oppose the Motion which the right hon. Gentleman has made.
§ MR. H. GARDNER (Essex, Saffron Walden)
May I ask when the Tithe Rent Charge Bill will be printed and circulated, and whether it is intended to proceed with it on an early date?
§ * MR.BRADLAUGH
May I ask whether the Government intend to introduce the Employers' Liability Bill this Session?
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
Do I understand that there is no intention of 20 introducing a Bill to carry out the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Civil Establishments, although such a measure was mentioned, in the Queen's Speech?
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
I rise, Sir, for the purpose of moving an Amendment. I think that private Members are entitled to protest a little against this proposal. I believe that in this country even servants are entitled to four weeks' notice, and I. consider that private Members ought to have some notice before their rights are swept away. My Amendment is after the word "Tuesday" to insert "after this day four weeks." I find that an hon. Friend of mine has down for discussion on a Tuesday a most important question in reference to Grand Juries in Ireland, and that the subject of the Scotch crofters is also intended to be discussed on a Tuesday. There is also on the paper for a Tuesday a Motion about the services of the late Sir William Palliser. I had a Motion myself on the subject last year, but the supporters of the Government deliberately talked it out. On Fridays only one Motion can be moved, and I deny that this policy of taking away the only real opportunity which private Members have of bringing forward public questions has any practical use. It gives the Government a few more hours a night, but it encourages Members to talk on Supply and on other subjects in order to ventilate grievances which they-have a right to bring forward on private Members' nights. Certainly, as far as I am concerned, it will rather encourage me to speak more on Supply-than I have had an opportunity of speaking earlier in the Session. I want to facilitate the voting of Supply; but I do not think the Government are setting to work the right way in coming forward at this comparatively early period, of the Session to confiscate practically all the days that are not already appropriated.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I rise, Mr. Speaker, to second the Amendment, and I do so because this practice of confiscating the time of private Members is one which is growing, like other improper practices, on the part of the Government. I think we should lose no time in entering our protest against these further inroads on our 21 rights and privileges. In addition to the Motions which have been mentioned, there is one in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) on the question of perpetual pensions, and I think it is material that an opportunity should be given us for discussing that subject. When I look back over the proceedings of the Government so far, I think we cannot congratulate them upon having performed very much work. So far as I know only two Bills have been passed, namely, the Naval Defence Bill and the National Debt Bill. The Government have declared that they desire this to be a Session the greater part of which is to be devoted to Supply. Well, we have discussed questions on Supply, and no one can accuse Members on this side of the House of unduly protracting debates by anything in the nature of organized obstruction. Therefore, there is no argument for filching Tuesdays from private Members to be based upon the slow progress of Supply. The fact is that under the existing paternal Government this House is becoming simply a Debating Chamber for the purpose of recording the decisions of Her Majesty's Ministers. There is practically no independence whatever. There is no opportunity for us to discuss anything except practically what the Government choose to set down on the Paper, and I hold that it is our duty to do what we can to put au end to this treatment, or at any rate to enter a strong protest against it. With reference to one important measure which the Government have announced it to be their intention to throw overboard, namely, the Sugar Convention Bill, the right hon. Gentleman recited several reasons why the Bill could not be proceeded with. He did not, however, state one very potent reason, that is to say that the Government would have been defeated if they had pressed forward the measure. I would ask the right hon. Baron (Baron de Worms), whose policy in this matter has met with such signal defeat, whether he does not now propose to "consider his position," and the advisability of retaining his seat on the Treasury Bench? I think it essential that we should have a thorough discussion of all Government measures, and those measures—which are much more numerous—in which our con- 22 stituents take an interest, even if it should be necessary to sit until the end of September. I, therefore, have the greatest pleasure in seconding the Amendment.
§ Amendment proposed, alter "Tuesday" to insert "after this day four weeks."—(Colonel Nolan.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. AMBROSE (Middlesex, Harrow)
I should like to ask the Leader of the House whether his statement that we are now in possession of all the business the Government intend to deal with this Session is to be taken as including certain measures at present before the House of Lords, such as the Land. Transfer Bill?
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
A question was put to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury as to the Board of Agriculture Bill, and I was unable to catch in his reply any allusion to that measure. There is no serious opposition to it, and. I presume the right hon. Gentleman hopes to be able to proceed with it. Before we surrender Tuesday as a private Members' day for the rest of the Session I should like to urge on the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to afford us an opportunity for the further discussion of the question of bi-metallism. The interest shown. in this question to some extent removes it from the category of other questions which are in the hands of private Members at the present moment. All I ask is whether it will be possible for the Government to give a day for the renewal of the debate some time before the Session closes?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
After the interesting speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division on the eve of the adjournment for the Whitsuu holidays, and the equally interesting speech of the hon. Member for Flintshire, all the interest in the subject of bi-metallism was exhausted. I think it is perfectly monstrous that the right hon. Gentleman, after having let off his own speech, should ask for a second day in order that he may hear what replies can be made to him. For my own part, I should as soon think of replying to a bi-metallist as of replying to any one 23 coming down to this House and propounding a scheme for squaring the circle. I regret that the First Lord of the Treasury when moving a Resolution of this kind should be so exceedingly aggressive. The right hon. Gentleman cannot take a private Members' day without adding insult to injury; and when he speaks of obtaining only 80 votes in 29 days he should remember that from the beginning of the Session he has been marauding upon the time of private Members. When the right hon. Gentleman does that he must expect more exhaustive discussions on the Estimates. I have been blamed for speaking often on the Estimates. (Cries of "No.") I am glad hon. Members say "No." I shall remember what hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side say, and shall speak as often in the future. I am not ashamed of taking an interest in the Estimates. I know perfectly well that the country is thoroughly disgusted with the present House of Commons. There are two policies in this House. There is the Government policy of sticking there as long as possible, and avoiding an appeal to the country, and there is the Opposition policy of appealing to the country. I consider that, however poor a speech delivered on the Estimates or any other subject may be, the time is well employed, because even the making of a bad speech prevents the Government from bringing forward matters which they consider to be of importance to the country, and upon which they wish to force the decision of a House which has not the confidence of the country. I hope in the future the First Lord of the Treasury will not be so aggressive, and will not throw taunts and sneers at hon. Members when they are endeavouring to do their duty to their constituents. Let the right hon. Gentleman remember that we on this side are perfectly ready to meet our constituents. We have done our very best in this House to force a Dissolution and to prevent a Ministry and a House of Commons which do not possess the confidence of the country from legislating upon matters upon which the country demands to be consulted.
§ * SIR J. PEASE (Durham, Barnard Castle)
I desire to say a word in reference to an observation which fell from the junior Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) as to the Indian Budget. 24 It has been my fate, on two or three occasions, to have to stop in town waiting for the Indian Budget debate to come on; and I hold it to be a great misfortune that so very important a thing as the financial statement as to India, which really involves our whole Indian policy, should come on at so late a period of the Session as has been hitherto unfortunately the case. I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman who has charge of the business of the House whether he would not take an early day for the discussion of such an interesting matter? As to what has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the Sleaford Division, I think the question he introduced on the eve of the Whitsuntide recess a most important and interesting one. But in reality, Sir, the debate was a very unsatisfactory one; and when we consider that the question is one which has an important bearing on India, I think it is one on which we ought to be able to hear a fuller expression of the views of the House, and especially of those of the Government, through the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as those of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, who has taken much interest in this question. I hope, therefore, that more time will be given to those who have taken an interest in the question, to express their views.
§ * COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, S.W.)
I should like to point out that I have a Motion on the Paper for next Friday in relation to a provision for the daughters of the late Sir W. Palisser; but, owing to the rule which relates to Fridays' questions, I find that I shall not be able to take a division, so that the matter has very little chance of obtaining the decision of the House. I know that a number of hon. Members have expressed an interest in the subject, and, knowing the circumstances of the case as I do, I feel satisfied that if a proper opportunity could be afforded of bringing it forward, the House would be inclined to give a favourable consideration to my Motion.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
In supporting the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan), I would suggest to the First Lord of the Treasury that he would really save time by accepting it. I may remind him that last year when the crofters Estimate came up, we allowed the Vote to be taken without debate on the understanding that we were to have a day for the discussion we wished to raise, and by the Motion now before the House the Government are going to take a night which we have succeeded in getting for the discussion of the crofters question. The result will be that the Scotch Members will think twice before they allow the Government another such opportunity, and the Government will find that instead of one discussion on this matter there will be three—namely, one on the Vote for the Scotch Fishery Board, another on the Vote for the Lord Advocate's salary, and a third on the Vote for the salaries of the Crofters Commission. Therefore, if the Government wish to see Supply got through with expedition, they should not take up the time that belongs to private Members, and so compel them to raise three debates in Supply on matters all of which might be dealt with at one sitting if the opportunity were afforded. The result of our giving way as we did last year was that instead of our having plenty of time for the discussion as we had b en led to expect, only a couple of hours were at our disposal, and we were unable to get a division on the important points raised in the debate. I feel confident that if the First Lord persists in his Motion, he will find that more of the time of the House will be wasted than if he adhered to the ordinary rule.
§ MR. W. REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.)
I should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury would state when he proposes to take the Irish Estimates.
§ SIR R. KNIGHTLEY (North Hants, S.)
I desire to support the appeal that has been made by my hon. Friend near me and by other hon. Members that the Government may see their way to affording an opportunity for renewing the discussion on the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division of Lincoln- 26 shire in reference to bi-metallism, as I think it would be only right that the House should have a fuller statement of the opinion of Her Majesty's Government on the subject.
§ MR. T. ELLIS (Merionethshire)
I should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education (Sir W. Hart Dyke) when he proposes to afford facilities for considering the Intermediate Education in Wales Bill in Committee, and when he will be able to place upon the Paper the Government Amendments to that measure.
§ * MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
We on this side of the House are, I think, entitled to congratulate ourselves on the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury has not in any way imputed to us the undue prolongation of debates in this House; but I think that this omission carries with it the obligation on the part of himself and Colleagues of seeing that outside of this House no such imputations are cast upon our conduct. We know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer this Session, and notably last Session, and the Secretary to the Treasury, have taken that course outside this House. The Government and its followers should surely see to it that what is said on such a subject should be said in the House and not beyond its walls. I take it, from what has now happened, that we are to have an end of complaints of this kind being made outside the House. I would also venture to say a word in regard to the arrangement of the business of the House, which has almost become a matter of scandal. Hon. Members on both sides in private conversation agree that the enormous physical and mental strain which is put upon us is largely due to the course which has of late been adopted with reference to the arrangement of the business, whereby it is perfectly impossible for any of us to know two or three days beforehand what is the business to which our attention is to be called. I hope the First Lord will be able to find a way of remedying this evil. The complaint does not arise from this side of the House only, as will appear from the remarks made in a public organ which is the chief supporter of the Government, the Standard newspaper on the 29th April, which says:— 27An impression has got abroad that Ministers have been rather given to proceed upon the happy-go-lucky system; to throw themselves into the arena with a certain number of Bills in their hands, and then to trust to fortune for the issue. Without asserting that these insinuations are well founded, we may frankly say that the Government have not been as conspicuous for success in manœvring their measures as for the quality of the measures themselves, or the ability with which they fought them when it came to close quarters. At this period of the Session, the economy of time, and the disposal of legislation in its proper order, become matters of paramount importance. It would be unpardonable this year to be compelled to have recourse to a supplementary Session in the autumn.We have not forgotten what was said by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Sussex (Sir W. Barttelot) on this subject of an Autumn Session, and we heartily endorse his assertion that it was "a most miserable failure." The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord has said that the House is now in possession of all the measures of the Government—
§ * MR. J. E. ELLIS
Of course, the introduction of the word "important" opens a wide door; and we want to know the meaning the right hon. Gentleman attaches to that word. I should like to know whether he means it to include all the Bills which involve matters of controversy, such for example as the Employers' Liability Bill, and the Irish Bill affecting the tribunals dealing with Real Estate, because on these measures—certainly on the Employers' Liability Bill—there is sure to be considerable and prolonged discussion. I hope, therefore, we may take the right hon. Gentleman's declaration to mean that we may be able to get through our business at a reasonable period of the Session, and that the Government may be able to let us know in due time what it is they intend to put before us.
§ * MR. HOYLE (Lancashire, S.E.)
In venturing to urge that the Government will afford a further opportunity of discussing the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division, I may say that it is a a subject which has attracted a good deal of attention in Lancashire. The Manchester Chamber of Commerce, after an exhaustive trade inquiry extending over nearly 12 months, passed a resolution in harmony with the Motion 28 of the right hon. Gentleman. In addition to that there was also a free and open meeting held in the great Free Trade Hall, at which resolutions were adopted to the same effect with only two dissentients. I venture to hope, therefore, that the First Lord of the Treasury will be able to give the House another opportunity of discussing the subject.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I will endeavour as well as I can to answer the very numerous appeals made to me by Gentlemen interested in various measures. The hon. Member for Northampton alluded to the Employers' Liability Bill. Considering the importance of that Bill, I hope hon. Members on both sides of the House will desire to pass it, and on the part of the Government it will receive a decided preference over other measures considered in former Sessions. I hope it will be possible to pass it this Session. With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Preston as to a Bill to carry out the valuable recommendations of the Royal Commission, I hope we will have a Bill for that purpose; but I can hardly regard that Bill as one of the measures which require special mention in this House. [Mr. HANBURY: It has been mentioned in the Queen's Speech.] It was undoubtedly mentioned in the Queen's Speech, but I consider it will not be regarded as a controversial measure, and therefore I hope we will be able to pass it. An hon. Member has referred to the Land Transfer Bill in the other House. I trust it may be possible for the House of Commons to consider that measure. When I stated to the House that it was in possession of the important measures of the Government, I referred to measures in both Houses of Parliament—to measures in progress in the House of Lords as well as in this House. With regard to the Bill to establish a Board of Agriculture, I hope to proceed with it next week, and I have no doubt it will receive the consideration of the House without undue delay. I am not in a position to enter into any engagement for the renewal of the Debate on bimetallism, but I hope my right hon. Friend may he able to find an opportunity towards the end of the Session for the renewal of the discussion. I am sure the House will have a vivid 29 recollection of the very interesting speech which my right hon. Friend (Mr. Chaplin) made on the last occasion. It was a most valuable contribution to the consideration of the subject of bimetallism. The Government, at all events, will not he justified in putting aside important public and Government business in order to renew the Debate at an earlier period than I have indicated. The senior Member for Northampton seemed to think that I was aggressive and adding insult to injury by the course which I have taken on the part of the Government on the present occasion. I think the hon. Gentleman can hardly complain that it is aggressive, because the language the hon. Gentleman has used would justify even stronger measures than those proposed to be taken. When any Member of the Government has to ask for the time of the House, it is not desirable he should travel into matters of controversy or endeavour to discuss who may have wasted the time of the House. I am quite prepared, so far as I am concerned, to let the country settle that question for itself. The hon. Baronet opposite has referred to the Indian Budget. Every Government, I believe, for the last 20 years has been appealed to to give an early day for the consideration of it, and every Government has been desirous of giving an earlier day than that which has been afforded; but the protracted consideration of Supply is in itself a serious difficulty, and if a day were taken from Supply it means the prolongation of the Session in a manner which is inconvenient to hon. Gentlemen on all sides of the House. I trust that at some time or other we may he able, though I am not very sanguine about it myself, to arrive at some better method of considering Supply. With regard to the claims of the late Sir W. Palliser's family, I should not be justified in giving facilities for the purpose of discussing a Motion on that subject. It is the duty of the Executive Government to consider the claims of public servants, and very serious mischief is done when hon. Gentlemen on both sides, out of friendly personal regard or from their own view of the services rendered by particular persons, think it their duty to raise discussions in the House of Commons on the claims of those public servants for higher re- 30 muneration than the Government of the day has thought it right to give. With regard to this particular officer, I have to point out that very large sums of money were paid to him during his lifetime, and other provision made. I only refer to that to show my hon. Friend that the Government have carefully considered this question, and that we should not be doing our duty if we afforded time for such a discussion. It is intended to send the Merchant Shipping (Pilotage) Bill, referred to by the hon. Member for Sunderland, to a Standing Committee. The Amendments to the Welsh Intermediate Education Bill have been drafted, and on a very early day they will he placed on the Paper, and the Vice-President of the Council is ready to confer with the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Rushcliffe Division with regard to them. With reference to Tuesday evenings sittings, I think the past does not support the view that hon. Members are very desirous of having Tuesday evenings for the discussion of private business, as on three Tuesdays out of six, between Easter and Whitsuntide, there was no House at 9 o'clock, and on more than one occasion the House was made with the assistance of the Government in deference to the representations of hon. Gentlemen.
§ MR. H. GARDNER
The right hon. Gentleman, I am quite sure unintentionally, has not answered my question with regard to the Tithe Recovery Bill, when it will be in the hands of Members, and whether it is the intention of the Government to give it an early day.
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH
I have a Motion on the Paper, and I have heard with deep regret that I cannot have a day for the discussion of Indian grievances, which I have brought now before the House for two Sessions, which affect 200 millions of people, and which have been the subject of discussions at Congresses in India year after year. I ask the Leader of the House, whether he does not think it right that some opportunity should be afforded with the Speaker in the Chair for a discussion of my Motion when the Indian Budget is taken.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I must apologise to the hon. Member. I accidentally omitted to refer to the memorandum I made. I fully recognize the importance of the question which the hon. Member 31 desires to raise. While I can give him no assurance, I will consider whether it is possible to effect any change in the rule which prohibits debate on such a question on the occasion of the Indian Budget. In answer to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gardner), I have to say that my right hon. Friend who has charge of the Bill fully expects that it will be circulated to-morrow or on Wednesday, but it will not be taken this week.
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH
When the Indian Budget is to be taken, my Motion could be put down before you, Sir, leave the Chair, so as to give a chance of discussing it.
§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
Before the Vote is taken, will the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury say whether it is the intention of the Government to proceed with the Bill prepared by the Solicitor General for Ireland, which provides for the registration of title, chiefly with a view to giving the advantages of registration of title to purchasers under the "Ashbourne Act." The Solicitor General for Ireland has repeatedly promised to push the Bill forward during the Session, and I now wish to know what are the intentions of the Government in regard to it.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
The Registration of Titles Bill is, as I understand it, a non-controversial measure, and it is our desire to proceed with it, but we must have the assistance of the House in this matter, because we are not in a position to give much time to the consideration of it. In regard to the Irish Drainage Bills, I may point out that all four are practically identical with the Drainage Bills of last year. We think it is important that the whole of the Bills should go to a Committee for consideration, and we deem that the Committee stage is even more important than the Second Reading. We hope, therefore, that we shall be able at an early date, to send the Bills to Committee.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 45; Noes 223.—(Div. List, No, 140.)
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR (Leeds, S.)
Before the Motion is put, may I venture to suggest that as the whole of Thursday night will probably be occupied with the Scotch Universities Bill, it would be better for any Motion 32 for the discharge of the Sugar Convention Bill to be postponed until some future occasion.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I will consider the matter, and do what I can to meet the wishes of the right hon. Gentleman. At any rate, I will undertake that the Motion for the discharge of the Order shall not be taken on Thursday.
§ Main Question put and agreed to.