§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (12.20.) MR. T. M. HEALY
I wish to put a question, Sir, on a point of order. I am not contesting this Bill; but to-day, Sir, while you were in the Chair in Committee on another Bill, this Bill stood as second Order, and the question I have to put is on a matter of regularity. The Evening Sitting is well understood to be devoted to discussions raised by private Members on Bills or Motions as they stand on the Notice Paper. But we find that the order of business has been completely changed, and the Government Orders have been plumped down in front 1200 of the private Bills Now, considering the few opportunities private Members have, I think we may well protest against the little salvage of time that remains between this and 1 o'clock being appropriated by the Government.
(12.21.) THE CHAIRMAN
Friday is a Government night, subject to the obligation of putting down Supply as the first Order, and the arrangement for the evening is subject to alterations consequent on the Morning Sitting.
§ (12.21.) MR. T. M. HEALY
Does that not involve the obligation that the Government are to proceed with the Motion for Supply, and that when the Motions hon. Members desire to raise are exhausted, they should take Supply? Instead of this, the Government propose to appropriate the time to these Bills. I must say, speaking with all submission, that this is an irregular and unusual proceeding. Why was Supply withdrawn? Are not the Government anxious to proceed with Supply?
§ Clause 1.
§ (12.22.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I beg to move, Sir, that you do now report Progress. I have been a close observer of procedure for some years, and I have never known a transaction of the nature we have just met with. When a Division has been taken on the first Amendment to a Motion for Supply, it is usual for the Member having the next notice to proceed with the matter he desires to raise on the Main Question, and which he is entitled to discuss.
In Committee on this Bill the hon. Member cannot discuss what may have happened in the House on a Motion for going into Committee on Supply.
§ MR. SEXTON
I merely wish to make my protest against the manoeuvre which has been practised: Supply being withdrawn before any Member could rise, and before we were aware of what was proceeding.
The hon. Member is entitled to move to report Progress, but he cannot now enter into what happened before I was in the Chair. I am quite unconscious of what happened in the House, and the hon. Member cannot discuss that now.
§ MR. SEXTON
On the ground that by the proceeding which has been adopted we have been deprived of our Constitutional right to raise grievances on the Motion of Supply, I move that Progress be reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Sexton.)
§ (12.25.) COLONEL HUGHES
I support the Motion for reporting Progress. I appreciate the kindness of those who consider I had a right to proceed with the Motion I have upon the Paper. I was waiting to be called, but I understand that the original Motion to which my Motion was an Amendment, was withdrawn, and I was, therefore, precluded from moving my Motion. I can only think that was a slight upon myself, because it was done without a word of explanation.
Order, order! I must point out again, as I have already pointed out to the hon. Member for West Belfast, it is incompetent for hon. Members on this Motion to discuss what happened when Mr. Speaker was in the Chair.
§ *MR. W. H. SMITH
I am sorry to find so serious a misapprehension prevails in certain quarters of the House as to the course which has been pursued. It was in perfect accordance with the rules of the House, and there was no intention of taking any advantage of my hon. and gallant Friend. I may, perhaps, be allowed to make this explanation to remove misapprehension. The hon. and gallant Member could not have made his Motion under any circumstances, because the question that Mr. Speaker should leave the Chair was carried by the Division which took place.
§ *MR. W. H. SMITH
No doubt the hon. and gallant Gentleman might have made his speech, but he could not have made his Motion. I understand the hon. and gallant Member desired to do more than make a speech.
§ *MR. W. H. SMITH
The course taken was precisely that which has over and over again been taken under similar circumstances. All I can say now is that if hon. Members do not desire to make Progress, I have no objection to this Motion being carried, and then I will move the Adjournment of the House forthwith.
§ (12.28.) DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
I want the First Lord to understand the real circumstances of the case in connection with to-night's Sitting. In the course of the last few days we were asked by a Conservative Whip whether there might not be a count-out taken this evening, and in the face of that—
§ (12.28.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I simply wish to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman in reference to Order No. 35 (School Board for London (Superannuation) Bill). It has been several times before the House. Are the Government prepared to accept the Second Reading and refer the Bill to a Select Committee? I am only raising the question in the interest of the hon. Baronet (Sir Richard Temple), to whom I have promised support.
§ (12.29.) MR. T. M. HEALY
The First Lord has suggested a course which is somewhat inconvenient. It is far better to run through the Orders than to have them deferred in a batch. It is far better to let the day's work be done in the day. There is no advantage in a sudden Motion for Adjournment.
§ *(12.29.) MR. W. H. SMITH
On the whole, I think it is better to move the Adjournment, seeing there is no disposition to make progress with business we have before us.
§ (12.29.) MR. CONYBEARE
It is not that we object to making progress; we object to the shabby dodge the Government have resorted to.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.