HC Deb 19 August 1895 vol 36 cc299-301

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY moved— That the Order of the Day be deferred until after the Order for resuming the adjourned Debate on the Amendment to the Motion for an Address in Answer to Her Majesty's Speech.


asked whether there was any precedent in the whole range of the history of the British Constitution for this Motion. In spite of his warning on Thursday last the Government had insisted on making the Motion the first Order of the day. They said that they would postpone the Order if it was required, and the right hon. Gentleman had that day given an additional undertaking that the matter should not be brought on after 9 o'clock. It was, therefore, now proposed to manufacture two Orders of the day out of one, by putting the John Daly Motion down as the first Order for 3 o'clock, and then putting it down again as the second Order at 9 o'clock. He wished to know whether that was a fair way of dealing with the House. In view of the fact that this Motion concerned a Member of that House, and that the Member in question was in gaol, and therefore unable to defend himself, at least he might ask that no new or strange procedure should be followed in regard to it. The Government had no hesitation in moving a long series of resolutions early in the day, and they had just Closured the discussion upon them, and now the right hon. Gentleman had wound up by proposing to adjourn the Debate upon this question until the Debate on the Address in answer to the Queen's Speech was brought to an end, as the right hon. Gentleman hoped, before 9 o'clock, in which case the present Order of the day was to be discussed as the second Order of the day. They were entitled to know when the Debate was to come on. The Debate on the Queen's Speech might break down at any moment; there might be no division on it; and the Irish Members, who were more keenly concerned than any others in the Daly motion, might find it called on suddenly in the dinner hour, when the Attorney General might rise and simply take off his hat. That was riot the way to take a motion of this kind. It should be taken on a stated day, and at a stated time of day, when every Member of the House would know that it was to be brought on. At present they did not know whether it was to be brought on at 9, 10, 11, or 12 o'clock that night, or at 1, 2, or 3 o'clock in the morning. [Sir R. WEBSTER made a sign of dissent.] The Attorney General shook his head, but did the Government intend by the aid of the Closure to squeeze the four Amendments on the Queen's Speech in three or four hours? What was the advantage of the present motion? The Government having now taken the whole time of the House, having swept away every rule under which the House worked, and every order for the protection of private Members, now proposed to add the additional disability that hon. Members were not to know when such a motion as that concerning John Daly was to be brought on.


The hon. and learned Gentleman has hurled a large number of accusations at my head with regard to the conduct of our proceedings. Let me remind the House of the facts. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford put a question to me, inquiring after what hour I would deal with the subject of John Daly to-day. With the general assent of the House, as I understood it, I mentioned 9 o'clock. That appeared to meet with general assent. I was then asked by the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean how I proposed to alter the notice of motion, and the right hon. Gentleman admitted that it could be done, with the general assent of the House, in the manner that I now propose, and which is intended simply and solely for the convenience of the House. ["Hear, hear!"] If the hon. and learned Gentleman had told me, at question time, that he and his friends had any strong objection to the course proposed, I should not have put forward this motion, which is not a matter of principle, but simply intended to meet the convenience of the hon. and learned Gentleman and those who sit near him. If, however, he takes so strong a view, let us by all means proceed with the Queen's Speech and finish that as soon as may be, and we will bring on the question of Daly as the first Order to-morrow.

Order deferred till to-morrow.