HC Deb 12 June 1890 vol 345 cc735-9
MR. CAINE (Barrow-in-Furness)

I leg to ask the President of the Local Government Board what Amendments to the Licensing Clauses which are on the Paper the Government propose to accept?


I intend to accept the following Amendment, which stands on the Paper in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Great Grimsby:— Clause 6,page 4,line 25, after "agreement" insert "Provided always that nothing in this Act contained shall he construed as altering the existing law affecting the renewal of licences, or as giving to the holder of any licence any right or privilege other than that now enjoyed by him.


Are the Government prepared to accept my attempt to deal with the question of licensing in Ireland separately from England, and thus save the time of the House? What objection is there to allowing a private Member to pass through a Bill on this subject? Will the Government consent to re-commit the Local Taxation Bill in order to insert an Irish clause?


The Government do not see the necessity for doing this, and prefer to deal with the question as a whole.


Why do the Government persist in wasting Government time, which is extremely precious at this period of the Session, when the matter can be dealt with for Ireland in the time of private Members? Why need they do this if they do not object to the principles or proposals of my Bill?


My view has always been that the Bill of the hon. Member is unnecessary, and it deals only with a part of the policy of the Government, or deals with it only in a fragmentary manner. I have no objection to the Bill making such progress that it might be passed if that of the Government does not pass into law.


When will the Select Committee on the Infant Life Protection Bill be moved for?


I am not in a position to answer until I have had an opportunity to make inquiry.


I wish to ask for some definite information as to the time when the Irish Estimates will be taken?

(5.35.) MR. SEXTON

I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Land Purchase Bill is to have precedence of the other Government measures?


I must press the Leader of the House to say whether he really considers there is any prospect of the Irish Land Bill being passed this Session.


In reply to the question put by the hon. Member for East Mayo, I wish to say I am not in a position to give any pledge in regard to the matter referred to; but I will under- take that due notice shall be given. With regard to the Land Purchase (Ireland) Bill, that will be postponed pro forma till next Monday.


My question was put seriously. Do the Government intend to press on the Bill?

(5.34.) MR. T. M. HEALY

I wish to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether it is now intended to follow the precedent set in 1886, when a great meeting of the Liberal Party was held at the Foreign Office, and on the same day the right hon. Gentleman himself moved the adjournment of the House for the purpose of extracting from the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian some account of what had passed at the Foreign Office. Does the right hon. Gentleman now intend to give the House a short account of what has passed at the meeting at the Carlton Club? At all events, we are entitled to press for an answer as to what is intended to be done with the Irish Land Purchase Bill.


What I did in 1886 was to move the adjournment of the House, not for the purpose of extracting from the head of the Government what had passed at a private meeting, but for the purpose of ascertaining what action the Government would take with regard to a Bill which was at that moment actually under discussion in the House.

(5.38.) MR. W. H. SMITH

I thought I had made my statement sufficiently clear. I am not in a position to make any statement as to the course of public business at the present moment; but no inference of one kind or another ought to be drawn from that fact.


Will the right hon. Gentleman inform us at least on what day we may expect a statement from him?


With reference to the promise of the right hon. Gentleman that he will give us notice when the Irish Estimates will be brought on, that promise was kindly meant, but it would rather indicate that the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to take them in their order. Lest he should be under the impression that that is what we desire, I wish to say that it is our desire that they should be taken this Session in their order, as they are reached, and should not be postponed as they have been on previous occasions, with the result that they have come on so late that discussion was impossible.

(5.45.) MR. T. M. HEALY

I ask leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of calling attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in the management of the business of the House, and in withholding from the House a statement of the intentions of the Government as to the course of business on the day on which it had been announced that a statement would be made on that subject.


I cannot put that Motion. I consider that the subject is not a "definite subject of urgent public importance;" and I shall decline to put the Motion at any risk to myself. I consider it is an abuse of the Rule of the House, a Rule which is not intended to be used for such a purpose as the Motion has in view. Notice has been given that an announcement will be made of the arrangements for public business, and to discuss the subject on a Motion for adjournment would be to anticipate the announcement of which notice has been given.


May I ask whether the leader of the House will undertake, either on Friday or on Monday, to state the intentions of the Government as to the Land Purchase Bill?


I will endeavour at the earliest possible moment to give to the House the information it is entitled to receive. I hope it may be possible on Monday, but I am not able to say now.


I understood you had stated, Sir, that the difficulty in the way of a Motion for adjournment, such as was made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite in 1886, was that notice had been given that an announcement would be made as to the course of public business. What we have endeavoured in vain to do is to extract from the Government information as to the time when the promised announcement is to be made. We understood the First Lord of the Treasury had promised to make it this week; and, if it is not made to-day, then it must be made to-morrow, if that promise is to be kept. If we are not to have the opportunity of bringing on a Motion to obtain information on this subject, we are, at least, entitled to a definite statement as to when the announcement will be made.


I am not aware that it is the custom of the House or of Parliament to require a Minister to state more than he is fairly in a position to state. I have stated to the House that it is my wish and my resolve to communicate to the House the proposals which we have to make with regard to the public business at the earliest moment. I said last Monday that I hoped to do so in the course of a few days. I think the right hon. Gentleman was not quite accurate in stating that I undertook to do so this week. I will endeavour to do so at the earliest possible moment. I cannot do so before next Monday; if it is possible I will do so then.

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