§ MR. BENN (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, having regard to the length of time taken by the minority, as compared with the majority, in recent Divisions on the Home Rule Bill, he can suggest any means to facilitate the clearing of the House and the Opposition Lobby, so as to minimise the physical exhaustion and waste of public time occasioned by the length of the process of dividing?
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, I should like to ask him whether it is not the fact that a great number of Amendments have been to insert restrictions in this clause—[Cries of "Oh!"]—and that, therefore, the Government followers ["Order!"] have been in the Opposition Lobby; so that if there has been any delay it has really been caused by the right hon. Gentleman's own followers?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE, Edinburgh, Midlothian)
In answer to this question, I do not propose to make any reference to one side of the House or the other or to draw any distinction between them. But I think it is the fact that there have been avoidable delays in the taking of our Divisions of late. In answer to my hon. Friend, I have to say that I propose to consult the Authorities of the House in order to see what can be done to abridge or remove those delays.
§ MR. WOODS (Lancashire, Ince)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if Her Majesty's Government have considered any practicable steps to bring 242 the discussion of the clauses of the Bill for the Better Government of Ireland to a close within a reasonable time (say, three weeks), so as to enable English, Scotch, and Welsh Business to be then proceeded with; or, if not, will the Government devote two days per week now to such English, Scotch, and Welsh Business as is in a fair state of progress, and permit the Session to be prolonged so as to enable the House to deal in a practical manner with the many pressing public questions now waiting discussion?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
My hon. Friend was good enough to postpone this question at my request a few days ago. I am now in a position to answer it. To-morrow at the commencement of Business I propose to move a Resolution for the purpose of expediting the proceeding in connection with the progress of the Irish Government Bill. The terms of this Resolution are nearly prepared, and I shall receive them in the course of the day and be able to make them known to the House before the close of the present Sitting.
§ At a later stage,
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
With regard to the Resolution which the right hon. Gentleman intends to move, of course it would be convenient if we could have it in our hands as soon as possible, or, at all events, if we could be acquainted with its general tenour. As I understand it, the right hon. Gentleman proposes to give us the terms of the Motion at the close of the present Sitting. Could the right hon. Gentleman, by putting it in the Vote Office, or in some other way, at least give us an intimation as to its character without waiting to make a public announcement across the floor of the House?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
As regards the terms of the Resolution, we shall at the earliest moment and without waiting for half-past 5, if we receive them before that in due form, make them known. Of course, it is desirable that they should be known at the earliest possible moment. With regard to the general purport of the Resolution, it is founded upon the principle of the Resolution in 1887, but with important modifications which we think to be in the interest of the convenience and 243 liberty of the House. I am now only describing our intention. The right hon. Gentleman will form his own judgment upon the revolution [Laughter]—upon the Resolution—when he sees its terms. What I have said represents its general purport as well as I can convey it.