HC Deb 09 March 1891 vol 351 cc491-4

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee of Supply."—(Mr. Jackson.)

*(4.16.) DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

I beg to move the substitution of the word "to-morrow" for "immediately." The purpose of the Amend- ment is to prevent such a Motion from becoming a regular piece of business on Mondays. The Motion is only resorted to when a Count-out has occurred on the previous Friday evening, and there-would be no need for it at all if a House-were kept. There would have been an ample opportunity for getting Supply if a House had been kept and business had been allowed to proceed. It is a recognised rule that it is the duty of the Government to keep a House on Fridays. Over and over again the Government have been lectured for adopting this practice by an ancient colleague, the right hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck), who has quoted for their benefit the importance-attached to keeping a House, both by Lord Palmerston and the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone). Now that private Members have been deprived of so many opportunities of bringing forward grievances on the Motion to go into Supply, it is more than ever important that the Government should perform their duty in keeping a House on Fridays. There was a similar Motion brought forward last Monday, aad I did not challenge it, because I thought the Count-out on the Friday might have been an inadvertence. But when it is seen that the Counts-out are encouraged by the Government, it is time to take action. I beg to move the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "immediately," in order to insert the word "To-morrow,"—(Dr. Cameron,)—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the word 'immediately' stand part of the Question."

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

The hon. Member has taken a curious method of punishing the Government for failing to keep a House on Friday. The hon. Member proposes practically to deprive private Members of their day for bringing forward Motions.


I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. I do not propose anything of the kind.


The Motion, if carried, would have that result.


No, not at all.


That must be the inevitable result; because, as I have explained to the House more than once, the Supplementary Estimates must be concluded by March 16. I exceedingly regret the Count-out of Friday last, but I am not sure whether the hon. Member himself was in the House at the time. It is understood that if the Government make an effort to keep a House hon. Members who have Motions to bring forward will, at least, find some support among their own friends. On Friday evening the Government did their share, though the Count-out occurred at that most favourable moment for a count when hon. Members and even Ministers found it necessary to take a little refreshment. The fact that there were 38 Members present showed that the Government did their part; and it is evident that hon. Members opposite failed to come to the assistance of their champion who wished to bring about universal Home Rule. I hope the House will not longer debate the question and still further limit the time at our disposal for obtaining Supply. I greatly regret that it was not possible to go on with the Debate on Friday night, because some fallacies of hon. Gentlemen opposite might have been easily exposed and exploded.


Order, order!


I beg pardon. I will not further refer to the Debate of Friday, but I will merely add that I learnt on Friday, through the usual channels of information, that there was no prospect whatever of the Government reaching Supply that evening. I hope that the House will now consent to proceed with business.

(4.23.) DR. TANNER

Any one present last Friday must have been perfectly aware that outside in the Lobby, at the time of the count, there was at least a score of Members, including some junior Members of the Government, who did their best to obstruct other hon. Members, including myself, from entering the House. Everybody knows that the right hon. Gentleman does his best in his own highly respectable way, but I think he ought to make himself better informed in regard to what takes place in the House.

(4.25.) DR. CLARK (Caithness)

I do not blame the Government. It seems that it is their policy to discredit private Members, in order that they may take Friday nights for Supply. After all, the matter rests with private Members to decide.

The House divided:—Ayes 184; Noes 42.—(Div. List, No. 79.)

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved, "That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee of Supply."

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