HC Deb 01 August 1891 vol 356 cc1103-4

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER in the Chair.]


(7.5.) SIR H. DAVEY (Stockton)

On the Motion that this Schedule stand part of the Bill, I desire to say that I am not going to oppose the Motion, but I wish to express my surprise and amazement that the Bill should be reported to the House in its present form. A distinct engagement was made with my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton by the First Lord of the Treasury, on the faith of which my right hon. Friend withdrew his block to the Bill. The Bill is not in the form in which my right hon. Friend understood it would be, and I think the circumstances ought not to pass unnoticed, because my right hon. Friend regards it as a breach of faith and of the understanding on which the Bill was allowed to be read a second time.


In replying to my hon. and learned Friend, I have to say that I am sorry there was a misunderstanding with regard to this Bill. The First Lord of the Treasury, in a communication to me, states that he had thought it possible to divide the Bill, so as to allow a portion of it to pass at once, leaving the 5th and 6th Victoria to be dealt with next Session. That was the statement of the First Lord of the Treasury, and doubtless the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton took that to mean a pledge. I understand that the Committee on the Bill did not consider the statement of the First Lord of the Treasury as binding upon them; but I am sure it is to be regretted if, in consequence of the action of the Committee, it is thought that my right hon. Friend has been guilty of a breach of faith. I understand, too, that had the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton insisted upon the observance of what he considered a pledge, the Government would have been compelled to with draw this portion of the Bill; but I believe the right hon. Gentleman waived his objection, though he felt strongly the course which was being taken.


With regard to this matter, I am sorry there should have been a misunderstanding in the conduct of the Committee. I certainly felt it was the duty of the Committee to go through the Bill, as it was referred to them, and that the question of any Parliamentary engagement made across the floor of the House should be dealt with in the House itself.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next.