HC Deb 01 April 1892 vol 3 cc486-9

It would perhaps meet the convenience of the House if I were to say that in consequence of not having been able to finish the Debate on the Scotch Education Bill on Thursday, I think it would probably be convenient to us and to the House to finish that Debate, of which, I think, little remains, the first thing on Monday. The House is aware that the subject was nearly exhausted last night, and I trust hon. Gentlemen who have still remarks to make will abbreviate them as much as possible and enable us to get to the Small Holdings Bill Committee, which the House is desirous of dealing with as speedily as possible. I shall, therefore, put down the adjourned Debate on the Second Reading of the Scotch Bill as the first Order after the Resolution I have to move on Monday.

MR. J. MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

I am afraid the announcement which the right hon. Gentleman has just made will come as a very disagreeable surprise to hon. Members. The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that a great number of Members have made arrangements to attend on Monday with the express view of proceeding at once with the Small Holdings Bill. He has told us that there is an understanding that the discussion on the Scotch Equivalent Grant Bill will take a very short time. He did not tell us what he means by a very short time, but from what I am told as to the number of Gentlemen who rose when the Adjournment was moved he can scarcely look forward to the time being so short as not to take all the first freshness out of the Debate on the Small Holdings Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has given, not one, but repeated pledges that this Bill should be taken first on Monday, and I hope he will still see fit, in view of these pledges and the great inconvenience which would undoubtedly be caused to many hon. Members, to adhere to that arrangement.

MR. H. GARDNER (Essex, Saffron Walden)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that in reply to the last question on the subject, he said, "I have already answered that question four times," and that the taking of the Small Holdings Bill in Committee was as certain as anything in this House can be? May I also ask whether he is aware that many Members on both sides, at some inconvenience, have made arrangements to be here on Monday in order to attend the Committee in accordance with the distinct pledge of the right hon. Gentleman.


The hon. Gentleman is mistaken in his recollection of the facts. The statement I made regarding the certainty of the first Order had reference, not to next Monday, but to yesterday, in answer to the question of the hon. Member for Edinburgh who asked whether the Scotch Education Bill was certain to be the first Order on Thursday. I stated that it was as certain as anything in this House can be. The light hon. Gentleman has not, I think, used the strictly proper words when he says I gave a pledge last Monday. What happens is, that the Minister-in-charge is asked from time to time if he can forecast the course of business, and to meet the convenience of Members he does give a sketch of the course of business, and for that purpose he has to estimate the length of time that the various Bills will take. I confess that after the prolonged discussion we had on the Scotch Grant on the First Reading, it never occurred to me for a moment that we should not be able to get the Second Reading in the course of a whole evening's Debate. Had I had the least suspicion that that result would have occurred I should have requested the House to suspend the Twelve o'clock Rule on Thursday, and we should have sat till we finished it.


Will the right hon. Gentleman go on with the Small Holdings Bill de die in diem, including Monday?


I cannot give any pledge, and have not ventured even to give a forecast for next week.


Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to go on with the Ordnance Vote before Easter.


I am afraid I cannot give any pledge on that point.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman if his attention has been called to the fact that a Minister of the Crown, the Comptroller of the Household, presided at a meeting of Members of Parliament yesterday, at which a resolution was carried to intimidate the electors of the United Kingdom, and in a certain event, to excite a certain portion of the people of Ireland to civil war?


I have no knowledge of the facts referred to in the hon. Member's question.

MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider, during the evening, if it would not be possible to take the Small Holdings Bill as the first Order on Monday, and the Scotch Grant Bill on Tuesday morning?


My hope is that the Scotch Bill will be over by half past six, and that we shall be able to go on with the Small Holdings Bill on Monday night, Tuesday morning, Thursday, and Friday. That would be more convenient than interrupting the Small Holdings Bill by a Scotch Debate on Tuesday morning.

MR. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire)

Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is going to move that the Small Holdings Bill be taken on Tuesday and Friday evenings?


I only pro pose that the Government should be allowed to take Tuesday and Friday mornings and the Bill.

MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)

I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the Resolution to which his attention has been called, he will fulfil his promise as to visiting Ulster, and will he support the terms of that Resolution?


I give notice that I shall move that, as the Member who occupied the chair at that meeting was a Minister of the Crown, a copy of the Resolution be laid on the Table.