§ MR. BROMLEY - DAVENPORT (Cheshire, Macclesfield)
I wish to ask the hon. Member for Kerry whether he is correctly reported in The Times, Daily News, and other London morning papers to have stated in the course of last night's Debate—["Order!"]
§ MR. BROMLEY-DAVENPORT
On a point of Order, I would ask yon, Sir, whether, in view of the fact that the Chairman did not hear the words last night, we have now any opportunity of raising the question?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The question ought to have been raised at the moment. It cannot be raised now as a question of Order.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The incident is closed, and it is no longer a question of Order. It is a matter entirely for the Chairman to deal with.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether you will state, for the information of the House, what has been of late years the Rule relating to the intention in the discussion of Supplementary Estimates as to debating the question of principles belonging to the original Estimate to which the Vote is supplementary, especially as set forth in the Report and Evidence taken by the Committee on Estimates in the year 1885?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I have always, since I have been in the Chair, manifested great reluctance to answer any question which might seem to be in the nature of an appeal from the Chairman of Committees to myself; but the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has put his question clearly indicates to me that he does not wish to refer to me as a Court of Appeal. I wish to dissociate myself entirely and absolutely from anything that occurred last night. The question has only been put to me since I came into the Chair to-day, and I will endeavour to answer it to the best of my ability. Undoubtedly of late years a certain restriction has been placed upon the discussions of Supplementary Estimates, and they have been restrictions to the items which form the bulk of the Supplementary Estimates. As a general rule, on the Supplementary Estimates it is in order to discuss only the particular items which constitute the Supplementary Estimates, and the sub-heads of the original Estimates can only be referred to so far as they are involved in the fair discussion of the points contained in the items asked for in the Supplementary Estimates. Of course it is quite obvious it would be improper, as a 976 general rule, to raise on a Supplementary Estimate the whole question of policy involved in the original Estimate, but, as I have stated, the discussion is properly confined to the items of the Supplementary Estimate. I think, however, that I ought to state that items of Supplementary Estimates may raise in themselves questions of policy, but the interpretation whether they do raise questions of policy or not must clearly be left to the Chairman of Committees. If I may be allowed to illustrate what I mean, I would say the question of the draining of any particular house in Constantinople would clearly not raise the whole question of Foreign Embassies. But on the other hand, a Vote which would largely increase the Vote for a railway to Uganda might raise the whole question of the policy involved in the original Vote for Uganda. I do not know that I need say anything else but that I entirely sever myself from anything that occurred last night. The question has been asked me, and it is quite true that restriction has been placed upon the discussion of items in Supplementary Estimates, and the question whether principles are involved, either new principles or principles which were originally involved in the original Estimates, must be one entirely at the discretion of the gentleman who occupies, and worthily occupies, the Chair.