HC Deb 20 May 1896 vol 41 cc42-4

With regard to the question when this Bill will be put down again, perhaps—though it is rather a stretch of the ordinary procedure—I may be permitted to make one or two observations. In the first place, I propose to suspend the 12 o' clock rule to-morrow in the hope of getting the Bill through on that day. If we are fortunate and are able to do that I shall propose that we meet on Friday at 12 o'clock, and I shall put down some absolutely uncontroversial Measures for consideration on that day, and I shall move to adjourn the House immediately after they are disposed of. I do not think that that business will take very long, and as soon as it is concluded we shall adjourn the House. No private Members' Bills will be taken. Under those circumstances, the Bill being, by hypothesis, through Committee on Thursday night, the holidays will extend until Monday week. But if the Bill is not through to-morrow night I am afraid that I shall have to ask the House to meet to-morrow (Thursday) week, in order to continue the discussion of the Measure in Committee. [Cheers and counter cheer.] Of course there is an alternative possibility, which is that of having a full sitting on Friday for the purpose of finishing the Bill, but I have felt throughout, in view of the rule relating to the taking of Supply on Friday, that I should not be justified in suggesting that a full sitting should be taken on that day except for Supply, unless that course were in accordance with the general views of hon. Members on this and the other side of the House.

MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)

asked what Measures would be taken on Friday?


The business which I should propose to take would be the Second Reading of the Conciliation Bill, which ought to be referred to a Grand Committee—["hear, hear!"]—the Edinburgh General Register-house Bill, the Public Offices (Sites) Bill, the Cabs (London) Bill—["hear, hear!"]—the Land Tax Commissioners' Names Bill, the Naval Reserve Bill, and the Military Lands Act Amendment Bill. [Cries of "No!" and "That is an opposed Bill."] That is not the Manœuvres Bill. I think it will be found that this list of Bills carries out the description I gave. [An HON. MEMBER: "There is very strong opposition to the Military Lands Bill."] Then I shall not take it.


With regard to the scheme of business which the right hon. Gentleman has proposed I do not suppose that we have any option. [Laughter.] We know perfectly well the régime under which we live, and that whether we are or are not to discuss and debate Bills does not depend upon us. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman has made up his mind that a particular Bill is to terminate on any particular day I suppose we have to submit. There is no other process open to us, and experience teaches us not to complain of that which we cannot resist. We have entered upon a régime the passion for which, like the passion for drink, increases by indulgence—[laughter]—and we shall soon arrive, I suppose, at the delirium tremens stage— [laughter]—of that process which terminates our Debates, and which I observe grows stronger every day. I suppose it is idle for us to protest against it in this House, though elsewhere we may express our feelings upon the subject. ["Hear, hear!"] It remains for the right hon. Gentleman—if he thinks it for the advantage of public business and for the credit of the House—to fix the times and seasons at which the consideration of important Measures shall conclude. I must really leave the responsibility for that entirely in the right hon. Gentleman's hands. It must depend upon the Government what is to be the practice of Parliament in this respect. The right hon. Gentleman knows what our opinion on the subject is. The double-barrelled Divisions to which we are now accustomed seem to have become the law and practice of Parliament. ["Hear, hear!"] I should like to know what the idea of the Government is as to the business which is to come on after the Recess, and what Bills they are going to take when the consideration of the Rating Bill is concluded.


Order, order! I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that it will shortly be too late for his question to be answered. [Laughter.]


If we are fortunate enough to finish the Rating Bill to-morrow we shall not meet until Monday week, and I should propose to take Measures of minor importance on Monday and Tuesday. I will specify them to-morrow. Wednesday, of course, would be a private Members' day, and I should think that the Indian Troops Resolution would be taken on Thursday.

MR. H. C. F. LUTTRELL (Devon, Tavistock) rose to ask a question, but it being Six of the clock,


adjourned the House without Question put.

Adjourned at Six o'clock.