§ MR. WOODS (Lancashire, Ince)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if, with a view of facilitating the passing of the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill into law this Session, it having passed its Second Reading on 3rd May by a large majority, he will give to the promoters of the Bill reasonable opportunities for relegating the Bill to the Grand Committee on Law?
§ MR. DAVID THOMAS
At the same time I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any precedent for referring to the Grand Committee on Law a private Member's Bill of so highly controversial and exceptional a character as the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
There are many reasons why it would be desirable, if we could, to find further opportunities for the discussion upon this Bill; but with respect to the particular mode of procedure suggested—though I can quite understand the reasons for the suggestion—there are, I am afraid, great objections. I doubt very much whether the Bill could be referred to a Grand Committee without much debate; and I doubt whether, when it came out of Grand Committee, there would not be a disposition to discuss over again the matter there decided. This is a solid ground of objection, because I think it must be admitted that when there is so considerable a minority opposed to a Bill—and opposed to it, not upon casual and secondary grounds, but upon matters of principle and substance in the Bill—it would hardly be in accordance with the understanding on which Grand Committees were established that we should refer such Bills to a Grand Committee.
§ MR. TOMLINSON
May I inquire whether the Government intend to propose any Amendments; and, if so, when they will be placed upon the Paper?
§ MR. GLADSTONE
The Government has not taken part as a Government in the question, and until there is some opportunity of further progress with the Bill, I do not think it is very likely the Government will put down any Amendments.