§ SIR W. BARTTELOT (Sussex, N.W.)
May I ask the First Lord of the Treasury when it is probable that the Army Estimates will be taken?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH, Strand, Westminster)
I hope to be able to take both the Army and Navy Estimates to-morrow.
§ MR. SEXTON
What steps will be taken on the part of the Government to keep faith with the Irish Members in reference to the Dublin Corporation Bill?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
When the Bill comes back to this House I propose to move the re-introduction of the clauses struck out in the other House.
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I desire to put two questions to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House with regard to public business. If it is the general desire that the Session should, if possible, be brought to a close not later than Saturday week, I desire to ask what is the last day on which Supply must close, in order to secure that desirable consummation. I also wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman what course the Government intend to take in respect of the 40 Bills of private Members which at present stand upon the Order Book? The Government have now appropriated all the time of the House, and without their consent it is impossible for any one of these Bills to be brought on. It would be a convenience to hon. Members to know that they have been decently interred.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
In answer to the first question of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I have to say that if the ordinary course be followed it would be necessary that Supply should close on Saturday, in order that the prorogation should take place on the following Saturday. The right hon. Gentleman is aware that after Supply is closed the Resolutions in Committee of Ways and Means must be reported, and the Appropriation Bill could not be brought in until the following Monday. That Bill would take, in the ordinary course, four days in this House before it could be sent to the Upper House, and two days would be necessary to pass it through that House. I believe it would be convenient to the House that the sitting on Saturday should not be held subject to the Wednesday Rule, and that I should move that after the Government business is concluded the Speaker should adjourn the House without Question put. In answer to the question as to private Members' Bills, the right hon. Gentleman is aware that, although the 110 Government have taken the whole time of the House, there remains during the progress of the Appropriation Bill through the House a certain amount of time at the disposal of private Members, which if they think fit, the Government would arrange so as to enable them to forward their own measures. There are one or two bills of private Members which the Government would wish to see passed, but, as a general rule, undoubtedly, the Government would discourage the further progress of Bills which, in the great majority of cases, cannot possibly be passed into law this year. I would appeal to hon. Members in charge of Bills not to put their Colleagues in this House to the inconvenience of remaining longer than is absolutely necessary.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
May I ask whether 60 or 70 Votes in the Estimates are to be taken on Saturday and whether the House is to sit until those Votes are taken?
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I answered the question addressed to me by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. Fowler) in the spirit in which it was put. The right hon. Gentleman asked me on what day it would be necessary for Supply to be closed if the prorogation was to take place on August 16, and I answered that question. The Government have indicated their plan, and it is for the House to consider what course it will be necessary to take.