HC Deb 15 May 1891 vol 353 cc778-81
MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)

I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is to be understood that, in accordance with the arrangement made last night, the business of the present Sitting will be the Land Purchase Bill and the Motion for Adjournment only, and that no attempt will be made to deal with the other Orders of the Day. I desire also to know whether it is intended to take the Land Purchase Bill on Monday, the 25th, or on Thursday, the 28th, or if Supply will be taken on Monday and Tuesday?

MR. RATHBONE (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)

May I be allowed to suggest that we should adhere to the old principle and put down Supply for the first day when we re-assemble? It is not likely that the Debate on the Chief Secretary's clause will take more than a day, and if this Bill is re-printed as far as it has gone, in the manner in which this is done for the Grand Committees, we might be prepared to go on with the Debate on Report on a day subsequent to Monday.


It is not proposed to take any other Business whatever at the present Sitting except the Land Purchase Bill and the Motion for Adjournment. If the Committee on the Land Bill is completed to-night with the exception of the new clause to be moved by the Chief Secretary, then the Government propose to adjourn to Monday week, taking a Vote on Account on Monday, and the Land Purchase Bill on Tuesday.


Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that all the new clauses except that of the Chief Secretary are to be disposed of to-day?


I do not know whether the hon. Member was in his place yesterday when I put, I think clearly and definitely, the course we propose to pursue. There is only the one clause I have referred to which we propose to leave over for discussion in Committee, and unless that course is assented to, we must adopt our old programme, and meet again next Thursday. Several hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House who had new clauses down have, with a view to meeting the general convenience of the House, reserved them until the Report stage; and that being so, I do not think it would be fair to make an exception in favour of other hon. Gentlemen, and allow their clauses to be held over for Committee.

MR. LEA (Londonderry, S.)

Yesterday I gave notice that I would defer the new clause standing in my name to Report stage, but I had intended to move to-day two clauses standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell). After what has fallen from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, I shall postpone these clauses also to Report.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

In asking a question may I also make a brief explanation. When yesterday we were asked to come to an arrangement for facilitating progress with the Bill, I intimated to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that we did not assent to the proposition that only one clause should be postponed. I now ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will consent to the holding over of my new clause prohibiting advances on certain estates, as well as the new clause of the Chief Secretary. I cannot, under the circumstances, consent to forego my right of having the clause discussed in Committee, where I may add, it will probably occupy a less time than on Report. There are special circumstances in this case. The question concerned in the clause was closured in Committee after three-quarters of an hour's discussion, and we proposed to raise it upon Clause 6. But it happened that this clause was passed in the absence of Irish Members for a few minutes, after an attendance of five hours.


I regret that we cannot assent to the suggestion of the hon. Member. To do so would be a breach of faith, for we have induced hon. Members to withdraw their clauses on the faith of the statement that only one clause—namely, that of the Chief Secretary—would be held over for consideration in Committee after the Recess. We have refused the requests of hon. Members who care as much for their Amendments as the hon. Gentleman. Their Amendments are of precisely the same importance, and they have been induced to take them off the Paper on the hypothesis that practically only one clause would be reserved. I am extremely sorry that we are not able to meet the hon. Gentleman, but we and, I believe, our friends are perfectly prepared to go on on Thursday.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

No; you are not.


We are just as ready to go on as you are.


I think all who are interested in the Bill will not object to meeting on Thursday. It is not for the convenience of the House generally, and there are many reasons why it is not desirable that we should meet before Monday. The hon. Gentleman will only be precluded from debating the matter with greater flexibility in Committee, and that is not a reason which ought to induce him to insist on the clause being postponed. The Government have met the hon. Gentleman very fairly.


Not in the least.


I am very sorry, but I cannot give way on the point.


If one of the clauses which the Government have induced proposers to withdraw is that of the hon Member for South Derry, then that is a manœuvre of the Government that comes near an abuse of the forms of the House. The discussion in Committee is far more effective than the Debate carried on on strict lines on Report.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

May I ask at what hour the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to move the Adjournment of the House?


I do not think I can bind myself to any particular hour, but I shall be guided very much by the opinion of the House, subject to the general understanding arrived at yesterday.

MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)

It was understood a week ago that there was to be a Morning Sitting, and a great many Members have in consequence made arrangements to leave town this evening. Is it fair that it should be left in doubt that the arrangement will be carried out?


I shall be guided by the general feeling of the House as to the hour of adjournment, but I do not anticipate that hon. Members who have made arrangements referred to will find it necessary to change their plans.

Forward to