HC Deb 11 May 1896 vol 40 cc1015-7

asked what business would be taken after the close of the Education Bill Debate?


asked whether, having regard to the fact that 67 speakers took part in the Debate on the Bill of 1870, and that only 28 Members had spoken on this Bill, which was a more controversial Measure, he would arrange to defer the Division until Thursday?


As soon as the Second Reading of the Education Bill is concluded we propose to take the Committee stage of the Rating Bill. Friday, as usual, will be devoted to Supply, and we shall take the Navy Estimates. As to the Question of the hon. Member opposite, my study of the Debate on the Bill of 1870 has led me to a different conclusion. I make it that on the Second Reading of that Bill three days or only two and a half were occupied by Debate, and that 25 Members spoke in it. The Bill was recommitted, and there was no doubt a Debate lasting for five days more—["Hear, hear!"]—upon the recommitted Bill; but then that was stated by the present Leader of the Opposition to be an entirely new Measure. I do not therefore think that is a precedent for continuing the present Debate for more than four or five nights. [Cheers.] I may remind the hon. Member that the Welsh Disestablishment Bill took only five nights, that the Finance Bill of the right hon. Gentleman opposite took only three nights, and if the Debate closes to-morrow, as I hope it will—[cheers]— the discussion will have lasted five nights. Even at the rate of speaking which has prevailed—[a laugh]—I find that, as a matter of speculation, some 50 speakers will probably have the advantage of addressing the House, and the House will have had the advantage of hearing them, before the Debate closes. I earnestly hope, therefore, that the House will feel that five nights are adequate for even a Bill of this importance, and that they will allow us to take the Second Reading to-morrow. In order to facilitate that I beg to give notice that I shall to-morrow—["Oh!"]—move the suspension of the 12 o'clock Rule. As I am on my legs, the House will permit me to give public notice that henceforth public business will commence at a quarter-past 3 instead of half-past, if the state of private business admits without inconvenience.


As to the notice just given as to the 12 o'clock Rule, I beg to give notice that I shall oppose it. I have always been desirous on all occasions of making arrangements for the convenience of both sides of the House. As I have received representations on this occasion of the desire of so many hon. Members on this side of the House to speak in the Debate, and as I understand many Gentlemen opposite also desire to discuss the Bill, I cannot give any consent whatever to the attempt to closure this Debate to-morrow night. I think that would not be a legitimate proceeding, and, so far as I am concerned, I shall offer all the opposition in my power to such an illegitimate—


Order, order! The right hon. Gentleman is not in order in criticising beforehand a possible application of the closure.


I do not wish to enter into any controversial matter, and I should like to make arrangements suitable to all parties; but may I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that all, or nearly all, the Gentlemen who desire to speak can do so if only they will curtail somewhat their speeches? [Laughter and cheers.]

MR. GEORGE LAMBERT (Devon, South Molton)

Can the right hon. Gentleman make any communication to the House as to the Whitsuntide holidays?


It is an unfortunate moment to ask me that question. I am in great fear that it may be a question whether we shall have any holidays at all.