HC Deb 02 March 1893 vol 9 cc835-6

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether it is true, as reported, that it is the intention of the Government to refer all purely Scotch measures to a Committee consisting of all the Scottish Members; and, if so, whether all purely English measures will in a like manner be referred to a Committee consisting of all the English Members; and, if not, will he explain on what grounds?


I do not know whether it is open to put the construction upon questions that they are not sometimes in their tone favourable to Home Rule because of the anxiety shown as to what will follow that measure. As to the immediate subject of the question, it is undoubtedly a fact that there is a wide-spread dissatisfaction among hon. Members with respect to the progress, or rather the non-progress, of Scotch business in the House of Commons. I sympathise with Scotch Members, and recognise that there is cause for their dissatisfaction; and we are very desirous to consider whether it may not be possible, by some judicious measure affecting the Procedure of the House, to remove some part of the evil. On the first opportunity we have to make a proposal on the subject, if we are able to do so, I will take care that due notice of it is given to the House.


The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the latter part of my question.


I do not think it is convenient in the interest of Public Business to heap contingency upon contingency. The established practice of many Departments with regard to contingencies is not to arrive at a conclusion or say what they would do until the contingency arrives. I cannot consent to go beyond the answer I have already given with respect to Scotland, and if we take a step of that kind with respect to Scotland it will be for the noble Marquess to consider whether it is desirable to propose any such step with regard to England.