HC Deb 01 August 1896 vol 43 cc1317-8
MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

raised a question of privilege. He said that it was essential with regard to all private Bills that ample time should be given to opponents to bring forward their objections. Yesterday, at half-past 4 o'clock, a Motion was carried to recommit the Dublin Corporation Bill. At 5 o'clock the Committee of Selection met, without notice to the Chairman, (Sir John Mowbray), and appointed four Members to serve on the Select Committee for the recommitted Bill. Monday at 11 o'clock was named for the further hearing of the Bill till a protest was made, and then, as a matter of grace to the opponents, a postponement till Tuesday was made. Grave interests were involved, and half-a-dozen townships were concerned. They could not decide what to do at a moment's notice, and in any case they required time to organise the opposition. He submitted that the Committee of Selection, in acting without notice to their Chairman, and in refusing to give time for the opposition to the Bill, had abrogated the private Bill practice of the House and had denied justice to the parties concerned.


I have not yet seen any question of privilege. The Select Committee when appointed have a right to fix their own time, unless this House makes an Order to the contrary. It may be a matter of complaint, but it cannot be a question of privilege, that the Committee have appointed a day which is said to be inconvenient to the parties.


Then I submit that the Committee of Selection, in holding a meeting without notice to its Chairman, and without considering the Bill, committed an irregularity of procedure amounting to a breach of privilege.


As far as I can see, nothing has been done contrary to any Rules of the House. The convenience of the parties is a matter for the Chairman of Committees.