§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
I wish to ask you, Sir, as to a point of order. In view of what took place at an early hour this morning, I wish to know whether a Bill printed and read a second time on one day can be passed through Committee and also read a third time at one Sitting on the next day, when a sixth part of the Members present are opposed to it, and registered their opposition by their votes?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I can give no opinion on what took place last night. I have not the slightest doubt that the right hon. Gentleman the Chairman of Committees, acting as the Deputy Speaker, did what was right and proper; but on the abstract question I shall be glad to reply to the hon. Baronet, It frequently happens, especially late in the Session, when urgency is in the nature of the case, that two or more stages of one Bill are taken at the same Sitting. My predecessor in the Chair was asked the very same question as late as the 13th of November, 1882, and he stated then very strongly, more strongly than I have ever put it, that it was not a question of leave of the House, but of a vote of the House; and, acting on that opinion, and in accordance with other precedents, I have myself on two occasions—the only occasions I can recollect—done so. These occasions were as late as September in 1149 1887—one on the Superannuation Acts Amendment Bill, and another on the Bankruptcy (Discharge and Closure)Bill; and I took the vote of the House on the question whether the Bill which had then been considered as amended should forthwith be read a third time. The Divisions took place, and the numbers on those two occasions were respectively 81 in the majority and 16 in the minority, 80 in the majority and 14 in the minority; thus proving that it is competent to take the sense of the House on that question, the sense of the House being sufficiently expressed by the numbers I have given.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
Thanking you, Sir, for your ruling, might I ask whether there is any certain number or fixed proportion of Members required before a Bill can be taken in that way?