HC Deb 14 July 1890 vol 346 cc1614-7

(4.25.) Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Committe do consist of Twenty-one Members."—(The Lord Advocate.)


, in whose name an Amendment stood on the Paper to substitute the number 72 for 21, said: The Motion which was made the other night contained two propositions—(1) that none but Scotch Members should sit on the Committee; and (2) that all the Scotch Members should sit on the Committee. The Lord Advocate described it as a fantastic proposal, but I see that the right hon. Gentleman has now accepted the first proposition. There is one name—that of Sir C. Dalrymple—which is not that of a Scotch Member, but if the hon. Baronet is not a Scotch Member he is a Scotchman. The hon. and learned Gentleman was proceeding to criticise the composition of the proposed Committee, when.


said: Order, order! The Standing Order only permits a short statement on a Motion of this sort.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

May I suggest that the Government should have put the Motion down at a time when every hon. Member could have expressed his opinion?


I am not permitted by the Standing Order to allow anything more than a short explanatory statement.


The Motion ought to have been made after 12 o'clock.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

I beg to move the Adjournment of the Debate.


No hon. Member can move the Adjournment of the Debate.

MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)

I take it, Sir, that you must put the names separately?


No doubt.


I understand that my Motion is in order.




Then I beg to move it.

Amendment proposed, to leave out "Twenty-one," and insert "Seventy-two,"—(Mr. Edmund Robertson,)—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That 'Twenty-one' stand part of the Question."


During the Debate on the Second Reading of this Bill I intimated, on behalf of the Government, that while we assented to the measure going before a Select Committee, we expressly reserved the right of the Government to influence the composition of the Committee. The hon. Member now proposes that in place of a Committee of 21 members there shall be a Committee of 72. Immediately after the Motion was carried to refer this Bill to a Select Committee, the hon. Member proposed that the Committee should consist of the whole of the Scotch Members, and the present proposal is really a repetition of the rejected Motion. I hold that the course the Government have taken is thoroughly defensible. We have a precedent in 1888. Then there was the Burgh Police (Scotland) Bill before the House, and it involved a considerable amount of detail. It was referred to a Committee of 25 Members, of whom four were English Representatives. Three of these were, however, of Scotch nationality, and the other one was an Englishman sitting for an English constituency. If it is said that this Committee ought to be a microcosm of the House in the sense of representing the various nationalities, the argument is at once reduced ad absurdum, because then a Committee of 21 Members should only include two Scotch Members. I can only repeat that in this matter we are following in the footsteps of our predecessors. We hold that as this matter is one requiring special local knowledge there should be a large infusion of the local element on the Committee.


Order, order! It is my duty to point out that the hon. Gentleman has spoken quite as long as the Mover of this Amendment.

(4.30.) The House divided:—Ayes 138; Noes 130.—(Div. List, No. 184.)

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Mr. Baird, Mr. J. B. Balfour, Mr. James Campbell, Mr. Childers, and Mr. Crawford nominated Members of the Committee.

(4.42.) DR. CLARK

I now propose to substitute for the name of Sir C. Dalrymple—


Order, order! It is not competent for the hon. Member to move without notice the insertion of another name, although he may move to omit any particular name.


I beg, then, Sir, to move the omission of the name of Sir C. Dalrymple, and I do so as a protest against the constitution of the Committee. While only 20 per cent. of the Liberal Scotch Members are to be on the Committee, 75 per cent. of the Conservative Scotch Members are to be placed on the Committee, which I hold ought more fairly to represent Scotch opinion in this House.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Sir C. Dalrymple be one other Member of the Committee."

(4.44.) MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)

I hope my hon. Friend will not propose this Amendment. The hon. Member whose name he proposes to omit is a Scotchman, though it happens that he is not a Scotch Member. He is, however, only an English Member by accident. I think that the proposed Committee accurately represent the ordinary ratio of the various parties in the House.

Question put.

(4.45.) The Committee divided:—Ayes 156; Noes 122.—(Div. List, No. 185.)

Mr. Arthur Elliot, Mr. Hozier, Mr. Hunter, Colonel Malcolm, Sir Herbert Maxwell, Sir Archibald Orr Ewing, Mr. Parker Smith, Mr. Philipps, Mr. Provand, Mr. Edmund Robertson, Mr. Angus Sutherland, Mr. Mark Stewart, Mr. Shiress Will, Mr. Vernon, and the Lord Advocate, nominated other Members of the Committee.

Ordered, That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.

Ordered, that Seven be the quorum.