§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ *(11.33.) MR. W. H. SMITH
Objection has been taken on the other side of the House to proceeding with this Bill in the course of the present Sittings. I had hoped there would not have been this objection, but, of course, I am bound by the engagement I entered into with the House that only certain measures should be proceeded with at the present time, and, therefore, if the objection made by certain Members from Scotland is persevered in I must postpone the further consideration of the measure until after Christmas. I regret very much that I am obliged to do so. I had hoped this was a measure that would have been received with favour in all parts of the House, or, at least, that it would have been accepted by the House, and that any objections that might be made to its provisions would have been dealt with by the House. But, if as I understand, hon. Gentlemen persevere with their objections, I have no alternative but to postpone the further consideration of the measure.
§ (11.34.) MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)
I cannot admit the justice of all the right hon. Gentleman's remarks. These Sittings were held under a pledge that only certain measures should be proceeded with, and I think we are justified in holding the Government to that pledge. We do not enter into the question of the desirability or non-desirability of the present measure. We only desire to hold the Government to the pledge they gave.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
May I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that this is one of the most revolutionary Bills ever introduced into this House? It takes away from the House powers which it has always had until now. This is the second time such a thing has been done. On the first occasion the hearing of Parliamentary Election Petitions was handed over to the Judges. I certainly object to the powers of the 628 House with regard to Railway Bills being transferred to Commissioners or Boards. We do not want any more Commissioners or Boards in Scotland, as we are overdone with them already.
§ Second Reading deferred till Thursday, 22nd January.