§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Question proposed, "That Clause 2 stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. W. WHITELAW (Perth)
said, that he should oppose this Bill unless the case of certain Scotch officers were dealt with. He was in communication with the Scotch Office with the view to the introduction of a Bill on the matter, and until such a Bill was introduced and advanced to the same stage as the present Bill, he felt compelled to object to the further progress of the Bill. He begged to move to report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again." —(Mr. W. Whitelaw.)
§ MR. ASQUITH
was sorry to hear the hon. Gentleman giving expression to such a threat. This was in no sense a Bill in which the Government had any interest whatever. It was a Bill which provided solely for the case of a certain gallant officer who had performed admirable service, but who, through some technical flaw in the Prisons Act of 1877, could not obtain the pension to which he was entitled, and it was in order to remove that flaw that the present Bill had been introduced. That was the whole scope of the Bill. Yet the hon. Gentleman, without any regard to the merits of the Bill, got up and said that unless the case of certain officials in Scotland were attended to—which had nothing whatsoever to do with the case of this gallant officer in England—he should stop the further progress of the measure. He ventured to say that such a course was an abuse of Parliamentary Forms. If the hon. Gentleman could show that any officers in Scotland were being unjustly treated, he was sure the matter would be remedied by the Scotch Office.
§ MR. WHITELAW
There are three hon. Members who are supporters of the Government who entirely approve of the action I have taken.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
remarked that the virtuous indignation of the Home Secretary was somewhat thrown away, as the remedy was in his own hands. The Government had taken all the time of the House, and the right hon. Gentleman had only to put down the Bill as a first Order, and it would not be unduly discussed.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said, he would not take any Division upon this Motion, but should throw upon the hon. Gentleman and those who acted with him the whole responsibility for blocking this Bill.
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL (Wigton)
said, although the Home Secretary was a Scotch Member, he did not seem to be acquainted with the best method of conciliating opposition. Had the right hon. Gentleman condescended to make the explanation which he did without accompanying it by a rebuke, the hon. Member for Perth would probably have been more disposed to assist the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Friday next, at Two of the clock.