§ (5.42.) THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
rose to move—That so much of the Order of the 3rd of March as prescribes that Financial Business and proceedings on the Introduction of Bills shall be the principal business at Morning Sittings be rescinded.I think that the House will agree that, with the Bill of my right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Chaplin) on the Paper, it would be useful to make some progress with it in Committee before we enter into the consideration of any other business. I therefore hope that the House will unanimously grant the Government the very small privilege for which they now ask. I ought to advert to the circumstances that when I first gave notice that I would bring forward a Resolution of this kind I had hopes myself, and I had led others to hope, that the first business we should take this evening was the Committee stage of the Small Holdings Bill; but, as the House knows, the Debate on the Equivalent Grant for Scotland on Thursday last took more time than was anticipated, and I was very anxious to meet the wishes of gentlemen from Scotland, who, I am 600 sure, did not wish to delay business by prolonging the Debate. I thought it was the general wish of the House that we should dispose of the Second Reading stage of that Bill before we proceeded with any other business. I am quite conscious of the fact that some small inconvenience may and must result to hon. Gentlemen who take a keen interest in the Small Holdings Bill, and who wish to proceed with it without delay; but they will see that in this case the Government have not the control of the time of the House. Those who are most anxious with regard to the Small Holdings Bill will agree as to the undesirability of leaving the Second Reading of the Equivalent Grant for Scotland Bill in suspension until after Easter. I hope this arrangement will assist the House in dealing with the business which is before it.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That so much of the Order of the 3rd of March as prescribes that Financial Business and proceedings on the Introduction of Bills shall be the principal business at Morning Sittings be rescinded."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ * MR. MORTON
I entirely object to this Resolution. We understood when we gave up the Morning Sittings to the Government that the time should be used for purposes of Supply. I have no objection to parts of the days being taken for Supply, but if they are to be used for other purposes I shall oppose it. It is "the same old dodge" as has been played on other occasions. Supply is to be put off until the end of July—supposing the Government are then in office—and then it will be rushed through in the middle of the night. I want to see Supply taken as early as possible in the Session, and regularly, so that it may be properly dealt with. We have had the Ordnance Vote before us on one or two occasions, and, so far as I can see, the right hon. Gentleman does not care to have that matter properly discussed. I dare say there are some people who wish to hush up the Enfield scandal, or what may be more properly called the Enfield and Birmingham scandal altogether.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
Is the hon. Member in Order now in discussing the Ordnance Vote?
§ * MR. MORTON
That is entirely what I intended to show, Mr. Speaker. I will not detain the House now by further reference to the Enfield and Birmingham scandal. I will only say that unless the Government give way on the question of compulsion, the Small Holdings Bill will be a farce, and that I shall oppose this Resolution.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I presume that if the Resolution is agreed to, the Small Holdings Bill will be the only one that will be taken on Tuesday and Friday?
§ MR. D. THOMAS
Would the right hon. Gentleman regard the Clergy Discipline Bill as of a controversial nature?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It will not be sprung upon the House; I mean that I will give full notice of when it will be brought before the House. My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland is not here now, and I do not wish to say anything more with regard to it in his absence.
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
I would like to ask whether the Scotch Private Bill would be considered controversial?
§ Motion agreed to.