§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Sir W. HARCOURT
I wish to consult the convenience of hon. Gentlemen who desire to express their views upon this Bill, and what I have to suggest is that the Second Reading should be agreed to this evening, and the Committee stage taken to-morrow. The Bill will be placed as the first Order tomorrow, and this will allow discussion on the details of the measure.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir W. Harcourt.)
§ MR. BONSOR (Surrey, Wimbledon)
thought it was hardly respectful for the right hon. Gentleman, or anyone else, to ask the House to discuss the Second Reading of the Bill at such a time of the night. For the last six years an expectant country had been awaiting the advent of the right hon. Gentleman to the office he now occupied. They had been told that when the right hon. Gentleman was Chancellor of the Exchequer great reforms in the finances of the country would take place, and that-all in equalities in taxation would be removed. But in the result, all they had got was the "penny in the slot" proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. In all seriousness he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would not press his Motion. The hour was late, and there were two Amendments on the Paper of great importance relating to the abolition of the Tea Duty and the increase of the Income Tax, which could not be adequately discussed in Committee. He moved the adjournment of the Debate.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Bonsor.)
§ MR. GOSCHEN (St. George's, Hanover Square)
I feel the force of what has been urged by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The question really depends on whether the House generally desires to have further debate on the Second Reading. My hon. Friends can bring the questions of the Tea Duty and the Income Tax forward in Committee and have them discussed. I do not remember a case, however, when a Bill of this description has been taken at such a late hour; but, on the other hand, I have not heard that any considerable number of Members wish to speak on the Second Reading. If there are only the two points referred to for discussion they might be discussed fully in Committee.
§ *Mr. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said, although his own particular Motion on the Paper would be placed at a great disadvantage, as only part of it could be moved in Committee, he should not oppose the Second Reading, on the 1709 understanding that the Bill would be put down as the first Order to-morrow, and that an opportunity should he given for discussing the important questions to he raised at a proper length. This would show his great desire to push forward the Government Business.
§ Mr. BROOKFIELD (Sussex, Rye)
considered that the questions of the proposed abolition of the Tea Duty and the increase of the Income Tax could not be properly discussed in Committee. He therefore hoped that his hon. Friend would persist in moving the adjournment of the Debate, and he would support him.
§ *Mr. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said, they must not forget that this demand was made on them by a Government which had secured the whole time of the House. He therefore thought they should not be asked to abandon all debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, and he hoped the Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate would not be withdrawn.
§ Commander BETHELL (York, E. R., Holderness)
said, he thought they should allow the Second Reading to be taken, and reserve discussion till the Committee stage of the Bill. If they did not do that, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would try to corner them in some way. If they did not allow the Second Reading to be taken that, night, the right hon. Gentleman would probably put down the Committee stage at a time when proper discussion could not take place, whereas, by allowing the Second Reading to be taken, they had the promise of the right hon. Gentleman that the Committee stage would he put down as the first Order to-morrow.
§ Viscount CRANBORNE (Rochester)
objected to discussing an important Budget at that hour of the night. They were in the presence of grave financial difficulties—a falling Revenue and a despairing Chancellor of the Exchequer. The question of the Tea Duty was exceedingly important, because it affected the whole question of the Customs in relation to the Government of Ireland Bill; and the right hon. Gentleman knew that a very strong feeling had been aroused in the country by his proposal to make good the deficiency in the Revenue by throwing an extra 1d. on 1710 the Income Tax. For these reasons he did not think the House should be asked to proceed with the Second Reading of so important a measure at that late hour of the night.
*Mr. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said, that undoubtedly much inconvenience would be caused to hon. Members if the Second Reading were taken that night. He suggested that the Second Reading should be put down for to-morrow, when they would undertake not to discuss the Bill at an unreasonable length.
MR. FARQUHARSON (Dorset, W.)
supported the Adjournment, and asked the Speaker as a, point of Order whether it was not the fact that in Committee discussion was not allowed to be so ample as in a full House?
§ Sir W. HARCOURT
As opinion seems to be divided even on the Benches opposite, I will assent to the Second Reading being taken to-morrow. I can not, however, undertake that it will be the first Order, but it will be taken at a reasonable hour.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Original Question put, and negatived.
§ Debate adjourned till To-morrow.