§ MR. D. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if the reports that he has promised a Saturday Sitting for the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill, provided an assurance were given that a House would be made on that day, were correct; whether there is any precedent for giving such facilities to a Private Member's Bill of a highly controversial character; and whether the Government intend to give precedence to the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill over all other Private Members' Bills, such as the Places of Worship Enfranchisement and Liquor Traffic Local Veto (Wales) Bills, and over Government measures such as the Established Church (Wales) Bill?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
In reply to the question, what I have to say is, in the first place, that there was no promise or engagement of any kind entered into by Her Majesty's Government. I had the honour of receiving a deputation a few days ago of two hon. Friends acting for the promoters of the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill; and as I understood from them that they desired to ascertain and to be guided by the prevailing sentiment of the House I respectfully advised them to spend a little time in endeavouring to ascertain what was the prevailing sentiment. What I said also was this—that my opinion distinctly is that it is not for the Government to take a leading part in, or to endeavour to exercise a strong influence upon, the questions they have raised. But it is my opinion also that in case it should be found to be the prevailing sentiment of the House—and by that I mean more than a mere numerical majority—that this additional burden should be undertaken—and I am afraid it might be a burden for more than a single Saturday 658 —it would not be the duty of the Government to set themselves in opposition to that sentiment.