HC Deb 06 August 1896 vol 43 cc1702-4
SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)

I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury a question in relation to business. When the Agricultural Rating Bill passed there was a direction that the Local Government Board, by Order, should make regulations; that those regulations should be laid before both Houses of Parliament; and that if neither House within ten days passed a resolution adverse to the regulations they should be binding in law. It seems that those regulations, which are very complicated and require very close attention, were laid on the Table of the House on July 28. That is nine days ago, and they were only delivered to Members yesterday. Therefore, unless they are discussed to-morrow, they cannot be discussed at all; and, apart from that, they cannot be discussed without the co-operation of the Government, because under the Standing Orders none but Government business can be taken now. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will do all that he can; and I ask what arrangement he will be prepared to make to give us an opportunity of discussing these very important matters? [Cheers.]


said that the President of the Local Government Board in Committee suggested that the regulations should lie on the Table only ten days instead of 30, in order that they might come into force in the present year: and the suggestion was adopted on the understanding that an opportunity would be given for discussing them.


I am sorry that my right hon. Friend the President of Local Government Board is not able to be here to-day, that I might have the benefit of his advice. It is a surprise to me that of I the ten days only one day remains, but that depends on the procedure of the House, over which I have no control, and we must make the best of the situation. In the ordinary course to-morrow would be sacred to Supply; but I feel the strength of the appeal made by the right hon. Gentleman, and I shall be willing to put down, as a Government Order, second to Supply, a Motion on which these Rules can be discussed to-morrow.


That would be a most reasonable concession, subject to the condition that Supply is not driven so late that there would be no time to discuss the regulations at reasonable length. It is a very important question.


As far as I am concerned I shall be willing to meet that view. It is not a Government interest that Supply should be discussed, except that there should not be too many Votes left over on the last day. If the Committee will co-operate with me in getting through Supply with reasonable rapidity, I will arrange to bring on the other question at a time convenient to the right hon. Gentleman.

  1. BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE. 175 words