HC Deb 20 May 1897 vol 49 cc932-3
MR. H. SETON-KARR (St. Helens)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the new and important principles and the wide-reaching effect of the Workmen (Compensation for Accidents) Bill, and the great number of men and large amount of invested capital affected thereby, the Government will postpone the Committee stage of the said Bill to a later date, in order that adequate time may be given to those affected thereby to fully and carefully consider the provisions of the Bill?


I understand my hon. Friend's Question is as to whether the Committee stage of the Workmen (Compensation for Accidents) Bill can be deferred from Monday. This is really more a question for the House than for the Government to determine. The Government desire to meet the convenience of the House. I am extremely anxious that the Committee stage should be taken at the very earliest date—[cheers]—and I can hardly believe that any serious inconvenience will be inflicted upon any trade or any interest by taking it on Monday. If it be deferred I am afraid it may greatly interfere with the comfort of the House in connection with the Whitsuntide holidays, and I should be very sorry to bring back hon. Members for very important business on the Monday following Whit Monday. At present my idea would be that the House should indeed meet on the Monday following Whit Monday, and that during that week we should as far as possible take business of a wholly uncontroversial character— Supply, or largely Supply—and that the majority of Members need not, therefore, curtail their holidays. Of course, if we do not make much progress, if we do not finish the Committee stage of the Workmen (Compensation for Accidents) Bill, or, at all events, make so great progress that the end was within very measurable distance, I am afraid I shall have to ask the House to take that Bill in that week, which I do not think would be very convenient to hon. Members. I hope, therefore, that Members who have amendments to put down will do what, I am sure, they can do if they exert themselves—that is, frame their amendments in time for discussion in the House on Monday and following days.

MR. JOHN ELLIS (Notts, Rushcliffe)

Are we to understand that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to ask the House to reassemble for some business on the Monday after Whit Monday?


As far as I can foresee from the progress of public business, that will probably be the best course.


Is that final?


May I ask whether, in the event of the right hon. Gentleman receiving representations that individual industries which are seriously affected by the Bill desire longer time to consider their amendments to that Bill, he will postpone the Committee stage?


It is difficult to answer that question. I would point out to my hon. Friend that in any case there will be a Report stage for anything that is omitted in Committee. I still think that the general convenience of the House should be considered in this matter, and f cannot easily imagine the sort of amendment it would be impossible to construct before Monday, ["Hear, hear"!]