HC Deb 23 February 1893 vol 9 cc202-3
MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

I beg to ask my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Attercliffe Division of Sheffield a question of which I have given him private notice. It is: Whether his attention has been called to the fact that at the time when he assured this House yesterday that his Bill to amend the Merchandise Marks Acts had been printed and circulated to Members, it had not been so circulated; whether the Bill was, upon that assurance, read a second time without debate at the time when Unopposed Business can alone be taken; and what steps he proposes to take to restore to the House that control over the progress of this Bill which the House parted with yesterday under the misapprehension above described? I may explain that since I gave my hon. and learned Friend this notice he has kindly favoured me with a sight of the proof of his Bill, and has, therefore, made me aware that the Bill, of which I knew nothing yesterday, was not such a Bill as I should desire to oppose on its merits on the Second Reading. I, therefore, only put my question in its full shape, because I had informed my friends near me that I was going to raise in this way the demand which I conceived that the House in general, rather than myself in particular, was justified in addressing to my hon. and learned Friend, and not because I wish to initiate any opposition to the Bill at this stage. Perhaps my hon. and learned Friend will permit me to ask him, also, whether he will put the next stage of the Bill at such a reasonably long date after the circulation of the Bill, which has not yet taken place, as will practically place the House in a position not more prejudiced than at present?

MR. BERNARD COLERIDGE (Sheffield, Attercliffe)

My hon. Friend is quite correct. I made a mistake. I thought the Bill had been circulated, and I believed the Bill had been circulated. I do not think I need trouble the House with the ground of my belief. Enough to say, I made a mistake. The Bill has the sanction and approval of my hon. and learned Friend, who was the only person in the House to offer the slightest opposition to its passing. I am entirely in the hands of the House. If any Members desire to object to the Bill, of course it is in their hands; but, inasmuch as this is a matter of local interest, more or less, and as I, representing one Party in Sheffield, and my hon. Friend representing the other Party in Sheffield, are agreed upon its merits, I would ask whether, in these circumstances, the House may not permit the Bill to stand as it is, and discuss the matter in Committee?