HC Deb 15 July 1890 vol 346 cc1739-42

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, for the remainder of the Session, Government Business have priority on Wednesdays.''—(Mr. William Henry Smith.)

(4.15.) MR. LEA (Londonderry, S.)

I must protest against the Motion, as it will interfere with the progress of the Intoxicating Liquors (Ireland) Bill, which stands on the Paper for tomorrow. It is a scandal that this measure should not be passed. The original Bill on the subject expired in 1882, and ever since that time legislation has been continued in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. The measure before the House this Session is approved by the great majority of the Irish people, and is supported strongly by the most prominent men in Ireland, including the Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Croke, Mr. Davitt, and the President of the Presbyterian Assembly. In view of the difficulty experienced in attempting to pass a Bill of this kind, I am not surprised that there should, be a feeling in Ireland that Parliament cannot legislate for that country.

*(4.17.) MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)

I wish to put in a plea for the first Order now on the Paper for Wednesday—the Public Health Acts Amendment Bill. The Bill is founded upon different local Acts, and the scheme of the Bill has been confirmed by the House in a remarkable manner by the provisions of Local Acts which have been passed during this Session. I trust that it may become law this Session.

(4.18.) MR. J. O'CONNOR

I maintain that the Irish Intoxicating Liquor Bill is not an urgent measure at all. Sunday closing already prevails in Ireland, except in a few towns, and the object of the Bill is to extend Sunday closing to those few towns. The hon. Member for South Londonderry (Mr. Lea) knows very well that it is the intention of the Government, as expressed by their Attorney General, to oppose the Bill, and I have no doubt that the Government, supported by its own majority, and aided by a large proportion of Members on this side of the House, will defeat the measure if it is proceeded with. The result would be that if the Government give way to the hon. Gentleman Wednesday will be wasted.

*(4.20.) MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

I think that the right hon. Gentleman, now that he proposes to take the whole time of the House for the rest of the Session, ought to state on what day he intends to take the Indian Council Bill? It has been upon the Paper from week to week, and all I ask now is that the right hon. Gentleman shall fix a day, so that there shall be no manner of doubt hereafter. I do not think that that is an unreasonable request. I also think that the right hon. Gentleman ought to give some explanation why the Government have made no effort whatever this Session to carry the Employers' Liability Bill, which was named in the Queen's Speech.

(4.21.) MR. H. GARDNER

I hope I may be allowed to enter a plea on behalf of the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill. The Bill has been before the country for half a century, and has again and again received the support of the House of Commons. It affects a matter of extreme importance to a large number of people, and I think the Government might very well afford facilities for carrying the measure.

(4.22.) MR. JORDAN

I think it is very unfair for the Government to shunt the Irish Sunday Closing Bill again. It is nothing short of scandalous for the Government to put off this question from year to year, seeing that opinion in Ireland is overwhelmingly in favour of it.

*(4.23.) MR. W. H. SMITH

I have listened with very great interest to the remarks made by hon. Gentlemen on the Irish Sunday Closing Bill. I fully admit the importance of the question, but I am not able to concur with the hon. Gentleman who opened the Debate in the remark which he made, to the effect that the Government seek to deprive Members who take an interest in the question of the opportunity they have of passing the Bill. There are 72 Amendments already on the Paper, and two Bills at least stand in front for consideration as amended. Therefore, I am afraid it would be only at a late hour to-morrow that hon. Members would have an opportunity of proceeding with this Bill in Committee. The hon. Gentleman must, therefore, see that there would be but little chance of getting this Bill through to-morrow. But, Sir, I am in the recollection of the House when I state that I believe the House itself has expressed, in the ordinary way, its desire that Wednesdays should now be taken for the better winding-up of the Session, and I could not resist that very general expression of feeling. I hope the hon. Gentleman will see that I am not depriving him of any opportunity of pressing forward his Bill, and I trust that yet, in the remaining days of the Session, he may find some opportunity of doing so. With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh,) for my own part I am not able to concur in the view he has expressed. The hon. Gentleman is aware that I am exceedingly anxious that the Indian Council Bill should be considered by the House and passed, but he is also aware that other more urgent business remains to be done. I can only say now that I hope still it will be possible for the House to take that Bill before the end of the Session, and I can assure the hon. Member that he shall have due notice before it comes on. The hon. Member for the Saffron Walden Division of Essex (Mr. H. Gardner) has spoken on behalf of a long-suffering class, who have waited for half a century for the passing of this Bill. I can hardly think that they will suffer very much more if they wait for another year or two, and I am sorry to say that I cannot ask the House to prolong the Session in order to pass that Bill into law. There is one other Bill, referred to by the hon. Member for Wigan, which stands first on the Paper for to-morrow for consideration as amended. Looking to the character of that Bill and of the Public Libraries Bill, and looking to the fact that they are supported on both sides of the House, I hope an opportunity will be found for passing them into law. When measures promoted by private Members have reached the stage these measures have reached, I think the House would desire that time should be found for taking the remaining stages.

*MR. DUFF (Banffshire)

I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury when he again proposes to take Navy Estimates? I desire to remind the right hon. Gentleman, that during the present Session, only about four hours of one night have been given to Navy Estimates. On that occasion about £8,000,000 were obtained. The Navy Estimates this year amount to £14,500,000, or about one quarter the amount of the expenditure over which the House has any effective control. May I further ask what arrangements it is proposed to make for the further discussion on the Report of the Commission presided over by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale. Can it be discussed on the Admiralty Vote?


The discussion of this Report has already proceeded for some hours. It will be possible to further discuss it upon the Admiralty Vote, which I hope will shortly be taken. But until the Irish Votes are disposed of it is impossible to make any definite arrangement as to other Votes.

Question put, and agreed to.

Ordered, That, for the remainder of the Session, Government business have priority on Wednesdays.—(Mr. William Henry Smith.)

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