HC Deb 14 February 1893 vol 8 cc1394-7

I beg to move— That the Motion for Leave to introduce the Government of Ireland Bill do have precedence of the Orders of the Day and Notices of Motion on every day on which it may be appointed. I may say it is not the intention of the Government to seek to interfere with ordinary Bills on Wednesdays under present circumstances.

Motion made, mid Question proposed, That the Motion for Leave to introduce the Government of Ireland Bill do have precedence of the Orders of the Day and Notices of Motion on every day on which it may be appointed."—(Mr. W. E. Gladstone).


May I ask what business the right hon. Gentleman proposes to take after the Home Rule Bill has been read a first time?


At the present moment I am not precisely aware of the state of the competition between the necessity for Supply and the also urgent necessity of proceeding with our other measures, but I will endeavour to give the earliest information I can on that subject.


I am exceedingly disappointed that the course of business has rendered it necessary to postpone my Motion for the appointment of a Committee to impure into the question of the classes of Government employees who are paid less wages than are generally accepted as current for similar men in the same district. Logically, it is indefensible for the Government to treat their own servants worse than their contractors' servants are treated. On behalf of those who are interested in this subject I do appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury-to give us some other opportunity—say after Easter—to discuss this question, if the inquiry by the Board of Trade has not by that time rendered it unnecessary. The question is—


The hon. Member is not entitled to enter into the merits of the question.


I would merely say, Sir, that many Members, especially those who have working men in their constituencies, look upon this question as most urgent. I know that the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Mundella) is willing, in his large-hearted way, to do justice to these suffering people, but it is a question of time. When is justice going to be done? I ask those who are responsible whether, after Easter, they will give me a couple of hours for the discussion that would have taken place this evening but for my losing my place.


As I represent a dockyard constituency in which this question is of the greatest importance, I beg to join in my hon. Friend's appeal to the Government to find some way of facilitating discussion on this question.

MR. KEARLEIT (Devonport)

I also would ask the Government to endeavour, if possible, to give us an opportunity of discussing this very important question. I do not think the hon. Member opposite is asking for any undue concession.

MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

I should like to put a question as to private Members' days. This is the very first private Members' day we have had, and of course it has been taken away from us. I suppose it is the general wish of the House that the sitting this evening should be devoted to another subject, but I certainly hope it will be understood that other days are not going to be taken away. There have been a good many complaints on this subject in the last six or seven years. [Ironical Ministerial cheers.] I venture to say I made the same remark when I was sitting on the other side of the House. On those occasions the strongest supporters I had were those who are now sitting opposite. I think it ought to be distinctly understood that during the next month or six weeks private Members' rights will not be interfered with, however important Government measures may be.


I think the demand of the hon. Member who has just sat down is a very fair one, and I make no complaint of those Members representing the dockyards and large Government employments who have made an appeal to me. Her Majesty's Government have brought forward this Motion simply upon the ground of the paramount and over-ruling importance of the great subject which was introduced to the notice of the House last night, and we do not entertain any intention of taking at the present period of the Session, or at any very early period of the Session, similar steps with regard to measures of secondary importance. As regards the dockyard question, the hon. and gallant Gentleman who opened this discussion will no doubt have observed that a very large and important portion of that question is dealt with in a notice given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Sir J. Gorst), who still retains recollections of his older loves. I apprehend that it will be in the power of Gentlemen who enter into the discussion on that occasion to extend the right hon. Gentleman's Motion at the proper stage, so as to include matters which are not at present included in it. At any rate, whether that be so or not, the hon. and gallant Gentleman may be quite certain that on the Military and Naval Estimates he will have ample opportunity of pleading the interests which he is anxious to promote. As far as regards pledging myself to dispose of Government days after Easter, I think it would be a glaring indiscretion on my part to take such a course, and we must get a little nearer Easter before I come to any decision.

Question put, and agreed to.

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