HC Deb 13 August 1896 vol 44 cc817-9

Order read, for Consideration of the Bill, as amended (by the Standing Committee).

MR. JAMES BAILEY (Newington, Walworth)

moved "That the Bill as amended by the Standing Committee be considered."

MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)

said that he ventured to appeal to the Leader of the House or to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to abide by the pledges given a few days ago with regard to the abandonment of all Bills that were contentious other than Government Bills. He appealed, not on frivolous grounds, to the Leader of the House with regard to this Bill, which he had conscientiously opposed for some time. If, when the Bill was previously brought forward, the House had sat longer on that occasion, he believed considerable opposition might have been brought to bear against the Bill. [Cries of "No, no!"] He asserted the contrary, for, as he had said, notice had been given of several Amendments. The Bill was a contentious one in a Parliamentary sense and if it was then proceeded with, it would, even at that late hour, be strenuously opposed. But he hoped the Leader of the House, or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would not break the pledge which was given by the Government. [An HON. MEMBER: "What pledge?"] The pledge given by the Leader of the House when he said that the Bill would not be proceeded with if there was any serious objection raised to it. There was serious objection to it—[cries of "By whom?" and laughter]—and in order to give, the Government an opportunity of replying to what he had said, he would move the adjournment of the Debate.


seconded the Motion.


said he had had no communication with his right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on the matter, but he was bound to say, expressing his own opinion, that he did not think the contention of the hon. Member was reasonable. [Cheers.] It was not yet 12 o'clock, and, so far as he knew, the hon. Member was alone, or almost alone, in his opposition to the Bill. [Cheers.] That, surely did not constitute the serious opposition contemplated by his right hon. Friend, and he did not see why the House should not proceed with the Bill. [Cheers.]

MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

said that undoubtedly the House was given to understand a few weeks ago that for the remainder of the Session no private Bill had the slightest chance. The Shop Hours Bill and other Bills of importance, in which many Members on both sides of the House were greatly interested, had been abandoned because opposition was offered to them, and because, therefore, they were held to be contentious. Yet now, at the very end of the Session, the Government—with the best intentions, no doubt—["hear, hear!"]—had evidently made a selection of certain Bills with the view of passing them if possible. He admitted that the present Bill was supported by many Members on both sides of the House; at the same time, it was disapproved by several Members, and a portion of the public. It was not, therefore a non-contentious Measure, and the Government would have to decide whether they would take the responsibility of making an invidious selection of Bills among hundreds of others of equal importance, and proceeding with them, in face of their recent declaration they had made that no Bill would henceforth have the slightest chance unless it was thoroughly non-contentious. He submitted that in those circumstances the Government were not justified in proceeding with the Bill. ["Hear, hear!" and cries of dissent.]


, who spoke amidst cries of "Divide," expressed the hope that the Government would persist in their intention to proceed with the Bill. The Opposition represented a very small minority—["hear, hear!" and laughter]—and the hon. Member for 'Kirkcaldy was wrong in suggesting that exceptional treatment had been accorded to this Bill. No other private Bill on the Paper had been so far advanced as the present one. [Cries of "Divide!"]

MR. HUBERT DUNCOMBE (Cumberland, Egremont)

moved, "That the question be now put." [Cheers and laughter.]


declined then to put the question.


concluded by observing that he believed the Government were perfectly justified in proceeding with the Bill, seeing that it had been considered by a Standing Committee, and its object being generally approved by the House, and being of a non-Party character.

Motion negatived; Bill considered.

Amendments, moved by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board, agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.