HC Deb 09 August 1893 vol 15 cc1661-3
MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)

said he observed a Motion on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire (Dr. Farquharson), to the effect that on the Committee to consider the Blackrock and Kingstown Drainage and Improvement Bill two Members should constitute a quorum. He understood the hon. Member, in whose name the Motion stood, did not intend to move it, and he wished to ask whether it would be competent for another hon. Member to move it? If so, he thought it would be in the interests of every Party that the Motion should be moved that day.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

explained that the Motion had been put down for that day by mistake.


I understand the Motion has been put off by arrangement between the two Parties.


I beg to say, Sir, there has been no arrangement made with me.


I understand that in this case the Motion has been put down for to-day by error. I may say that some difficulty has arisen in reference to the Committee. There was a Motion made and carried that the matter should be referred back to the former Committee. It appears, however, that the former Committee cannot be got together. One gentleman is ill, and another Member, I understand, says he thinks it rather hard that he should be summoned again to consider a subject which is extraneous to the matters for which the Committee was originally appointed; and if there are only two Members I do not see how the Committee is to carry on its business. If one hon. Member declines to vote, I do not know what the Chairman would do. The Chairman has spoken to me, and I have told him that he had better make a special Report to the House, and ask for the instructions of the House as to how the Committee should proceed. I know of no present means of getting out of the difficulty.

* SIR C. W. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

I should be sorry if any hitch occurred, for, in spite of all the dreadful prognostications about dropping the Bill, I understand the promoters accept the suggestion made by this House.

MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

I am able to say, in reference to the supporters of the Bill, that they are far from accepting the Motion adopted by the House the other day.


I was assured yesterday by what I considered a high authority that they accepted the suggestion.


I was told by the Chairman of the Blackrock Town Commissioners that they intended to oppose it.

MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)

Would it not be possible, Sir, to move to discharge from the former Committee all those Members who are unwilling to conform to the judgment of the House? I never heard before of a Member of a Committee refusing to discharge any functions which were cast upon him by the House because he differed from the judgment of the House. Would it not be possible to discharge such hon. Members who are unwilling to perform this duty, and entrust it to others who will carry out the judgment of the House?


I understood the Resolution was that this Bill should be referred to a similar Committee.


As to the question which has been put to me by the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton), I may say that there is no "former" Committee. Possibly the Committee of Selection may get the House out of the difficulty by adopting the course suggested by the hon. Member.

MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

May I ask you, Sir, whether it is in Order for an hon. Member to make remarks concerning Members of that Committee being unwilling to act, when the question has not even been discussed, and they have no possible means of defending their position?


I am afraid I am responsible for that statement, because I was informed by the Chairman of the Committee of what had occurred. I wished to be frank with the House, and so I stated what the difficulty was in order that the House might get out of it.


May I ask you, Sir, whether the Motion which was passed did not direct that this Bill should be sent to the "former" Committee. If there is an addition of new Members to this Committee, would that be carrying out the order of the House referring it to the "former" Committee? Would it not be necessary to rescind that?


They might rescind the Order appointing the Special Committee, or if the House wished the remaining Members of the former Committee might be competent to do it; and it might be added that two should constitute the quorum.


That is the question I rose to put at the beginning of the proceedings—namely, whether, although the Notice of Motion was put down without authority, it was not competent now to move the Motion?


No; especially if it were opposed it would have to stand over, and I know of no authority for putting it down to-day. It was, as I explained, an error to put it down for to-day, and was done without any authority from the House.


With reference to what you have said about the Committee of Selection, may I ask whether your meaning was that the Committee of Selection might discharge some Members and add others, so that it might be efficient?


In reference to what the hon. Member has said, I must consult with the Chairman of the Committee of Selection; and he will suggest some course—either that indicated by the hon. Member, or some other method—to get out of the difficulty.