HC Deb 20 July 1896 vol 43 cc237-40

Considered in Committee. [Progress, 15th July.] That it is expedient to authorise the issue, out of the Consolidated Fund, of any sums, not exceeding in the whole £4,775,000, for the execution of certain Military Works, and to authorise the Treasury to borrow by means of terminable annuities payable out of moneys to be provided by Parliament for Army Services, and if those moneys are insufficient, out of the Consolidated Fund, such sums as may be required for the purpose of providing money for the issue of the above-mentioned sum of £4,775,000 out of the Consolidated Fund or the repayment to that fund of all or any part of the sum so issued."—(Mr. Hanbury.)

Question again proposed.

DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

objected to the matter, involving as it did more than £4,000,000, being taken at that late hour. The Chancellor of the Exchequer never attempted to sneak financial proposals through the House at early hours. Why should the hon. Gentleman try to do so? A sum of over £4,000,000 ought certainly to be asked for in the light of day. Why try and get the Resolution through when the light of the Press could not be thrown upon it, and in the absence of many of their colleagues? He trusted that what he had said would be provocative of some explanation from the hon. Gentleman.


explained that this was merely a formal stage, and that formal stages were frequently taken early in the morning. The hon. Gentleman regarded the amount as large, but it was well he should recollect that this was merely a continuance Bill authorising two loans, one in 1888 and the other in 1890. It was considered undesirable to ask Parliament to authorise more than could be expended in the first case in three years, and, in the second case, in five years. This loan was repayable out of money provided in Committee of Supply. The progress of the loan would, therefore, be open to Parliamentary criticism in each succeeding year. It was in continuation of loans which had lapsed. Many works already begun would have to be left unfinished if the supplies at the disposal of the authorities were not renewed. That would not be economical, and if some of the works undertaken were not proceeded with the health of our troops might suffer. Other works were required for purposes of defence. When the Bill was introduced he would make a full statement if it was desirable.


hoped the Government did not intend to take all the items on the Order Paper. No indication was given by the First Lord of the Treasury when he moved the suspension of the 12 o'clock Rule that any such course was contemplated. It was understood that they were to rise at a reasonable time after 12 o' clock, and now it was close upon 2 o'clock. The right hon. Gentleman having moved to report progress on the Land Bill on the ground that the House was probably exhausted, it was monstrous that they should be asked to settle down to the discussion of a fresh subject.


observed that the Motion to report progress had unexpectedly interrupted them in their calm discussion of the Irish Land Bill. What was the Motion made for? In order that this new subject might be brought on, and that the expenditure of £4,700,000 for works might be sanctioned. As far as he could ascertain, not one penny of this money was to be spent in Ireland. The Government owed the Irish teachers £6125,000, and this sum they had refused to pay. Whenever the sanction of that House was asked to the expenditure of money, he should raise this question of the arrears due to Ireland for education, and the refusal of the Government to liquidate them. The whole rental of Ireland was not £10,000,000; and by this proposal half that sum was to be voted away without a word of explanation. But if a landlord was to be deprived of 6s. 8d., the country was thrown almost into a state of revolution, and the Peers came down with uplifted hands to save the situation. Perhaps some statement of great gravity was to be made to justify this demand. Had the German Emperor sent another telegram, or had Li Hung Chang borne a warlike message from the Emperor of China?


appealed to the House to allow this formal stage to be taken. It was asking too much of the House of Commons to require it to sit beyond a certain hour in connection with the Irish Land Bill, and the taking of this formal stage would not preclude further Debate or voting at an earlier hour, he hoped. It was not his intention to stop the proceedings of the Irish Land Bill for the purpose of introducing further controversial matter. His intention was to devote the evening to the Land Bill alone.


said that, when the suspension of the 12 o'clock Rule was moved, the House was given to understand that a moderate use would be made of it; and it was not carrying out that understanding to enter on further business at 2 o'clock in the morning. There were 32 Orders on the Paper, and not a single word had been said as to the intentions of the Government.


It is not my intention to take anything which is objected to.


said that he objected to this proposal. It was not non-contentious business. If the House were fit to go on with business of that kind, it was fit to go on with the Irish Land Bill. Hon. Members would have to be down at the House again at three o'clock that afternoon, when they would have to submit to another prolonged Sitting. He begged to move to report progress.


supported the Motion to report progress. It was unfair to ask the Committee to vote five millions of money at that hour of the night without its being possible for the Government to give any explanation of their reasons for asking for this large sum.


said that in the circumstances he would not oppose the Motion for reporting progress.

Question, "That the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.

Committee report progress; to sit again To-morrow.