§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1.
§ (5.1.) MR. SEXTON
I wish to ask whether any new Acts have been put into the Schedule this year? I also wish to know what are the intentions of the Government with regard to the Intoxicating Liquors (Ireland) Bill, which stands upon the Paper? Will not the needs of the ensuing year be sufficiently met by the inclusion of the Sunday Closing Act in the Continuance Bill? Then what is the effect of including in the Schedule three Irish Acts relating to land? I regret to see that both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney General for Ireland are absent from their places.
§ Question, "That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Clause 2.
§ MR. SEXTON
I have only to put the same question. Perhaps some Member of the Government can answer.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH, Strand, Westminster)
I may explain that the Irish Law Officer had not been able to have any luncheon, and is now getting some refreshment. The right hon. Gentleman will be sent for. I may point out that the Irish Sunday Liquor Bill is in the hands of private Members, and is not 51 a Government Bill. If the Members interested can find an opportunity for bringing the Bill forward, it is not the intention of the Government to place obstacles in their way; but, in order to guard against all eventualities, the Government have included in the Continuance Bill the Irish Sunday Closing Act.
§ MR. STOREY (Sunderland)
I wish to ask for an assurance that the Government will not permit private Members' Bills, including the Irish Liquor Bill, to be brought in at the end of Government business after a prolonged Sitting. Now that the 12 o'clock Rule has been suspended, Government business can go on until any hour in the morning. It would not be right to allow private Bills to be taken at 3 or 4 a.m.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I must remind the hon. Member that the Resolution carried yesterday applies only to Government business. The Liquor Bill is not a Ministerial measure, and, therefore, the suspension of the 12 o'clock Rule will not apply.
§ MR. STOREY
The point of my inquiry is this: Government business may go on to any hour of the morning, and a private Member would be kept waiting. What I suggest is that the Government should undertake to oppose the Bill. Otherwise a private Member who objects to it might be kept in his place until 3 o'clock in the morning simply to say "I object."
§ MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N. E.)
I wish to know whether the Government, during the Recess, will consider the propriety of making some of these Bills permanent Acts. Many of them have been Continuance Bills for a great number of years. If they are worthy of being kept on the Statute Book year after year, surely it is time some of them were made permanent Acts.
§ MR. WINTERBOTHAM (Gloucester, Cirencester)
I appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury not to accede to the request of the hon. Member for Sunderland. Why should private Members be prevented by the Government from getting their Bills through? If the hon. Member objects to any Bill—being, perhaps, the only Member who objects to it—it is surely not too much to expect 52 that he should be in his place when it comes on. The effect of the hon. Member's suggestion is that no private Bill should go through after 12 o'clock.
§ (5.8.) MR. E. HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
I find that paragraph 6 of the Shedule relates to the county cess in Scotland. I wish to impress upon the Government the uselessness of continuing a Bill of this kind. Apparently, there is no inherent power of enforcing penalties on the cess collector. There was the case of a collector in Kerry last year who ran away with £2,000, and there was the case brought before the House of another collector who had £42,000 in the bank credited to his own name, and not in the name of the county. These serious irregularities occur, and the Lord Lieutenant has no power to enforce that there shall be regularity in the administration of the public funds. I think it is too much to pass this blank cheque, as it were, to the Grand Juries of Ireland, who can do what they like with the public money, and actually employ the Irish Police to collect the money out of which the public are robbed and cheated by these collectors. I merely wish to emphasise the fact that the people have no control over these Grand Juries, which are not representative, and are virtually created by the Lord Lieutenant.
§ (5.10.) MR. MURPHY (Dublin, St. Patrick's)
I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman the Irish Attorney General is not in his place, because I should like to get some explanation of the continuance of the dwellings of the Working Classes (Ireland) Act. An Act has been passed this Session for the purpose of consolidating all these enactments relating to the dwellings of the working classes, and it very likely repeals this Act which you now include in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.
§ MR. SEXTON
The Act to which my hon. Friend refers is an old Act, and I do not think you could make much of it one way or the other. With regard to the question I asked of the Irish Law Officer, I think we know what he will say, and that we need not wait for him.
§ Question, "That Clause 2 stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ [Mr. MADDEN entered the House.]53
§ MR. SEXTON
Now that the Attorney General for Ireland is here, I wish to ask him what will be the precise effect of continuing for a year three of the Irish Land Acts?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN, Dublin University)
The hon. Gentleman asked why in the Schedule reference is made to the Leaseholders' Clause in the Act of 1887. The object is to extend for another year the time during which leaseholders can make applications under the Act of 1887.
§ Schedule agreed to.
§ Preamble agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time to-morrow.