§ "That this Act continue in force until December 31, 1899, and no longer."
§ If ever there was a case for limiting the duration of an Act of Parliament it was the case of the Bill now before them. [Ministerial laughter.] They were laying for the first time upon the Commissioners of Customs an entirely new duty and a duty which was admitted to be a most difficult and most delicate character. There were some of them who believed that, as a matter of fact, this Bill would never be put into operation, but they also felt very strongly that, if the Bill were put into operation, it must have a most serious effect upon the general trade of the country. [Ministerial laughter.] At all events, it was very desirable that the House should 82 have an early opportunity of reviewing and considering the effect of the operation of the Bill. He hoped the Government would not oppose this reasonable Amendment in order merely to avoid the report stage. It was peculiarly necessary in this case that they should have a report stage.
*THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS
That has nothing to do with the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman. [Ministerial cheers.]
said he would content himself by saying that, apart from the substantial merits of this Amendment, it would have the effect of giving the House an opportunity of having a report stage.
§ MR. RITCHIE
said he did not think the hon. Gentleman had given any argument whatever why this Bill should lie limited in its duration. Either the principle of the Bill was a good one or a bad one. The principle of the Bill had been accepted by au immense majority of the House of Commons, and there was no reason whatever, in his opinion, why its duration should be limited.
THE FIRST LORD OF TILE TREASURY
moved "That the Question be now put."
Question put, "That the Question be now put."
The Committee divided: —Ayes, I73; Noes, 67.—(Division List, No. 298.)
Question put accordingly, "That the Clause be Read a Second time."
The Committee divided: —Ayes, 64; Noes, 175.—(Division List, No. 299.)
And, it being after Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
Committee report progress; to sit again upon Thursday.