HC Deb 21 May 1897 vol 49 cc1038-9

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether it has been brought to his notice that the Benefices Bill stands the first Order for Wednesday 20th instant; and whether he can give an assurance that that day will not be taken for Government business?


In answer to my noble Friend I have to say that it does seem certain that Wednesday the 26th instant, will be taken for Government business, the Committee stage of the Compensation to Workmen Bill. I, of course, greatly regret that my noble Friend should be deprived of that Wednesday for his Benefices Bill, especially when it happens that the Measure has my warm personal sympathy, as my noble Friend is aware. But, whatever is to be gained by the discussion of the Bill, there is little or no probability—I will put it more strongly, and say that there is no possibility—of a private Bill being passed into law at this time of the Session.


May I ask whether, in view of the great importance attributed to many of the provisions of this Bill, my right hon. Friend can hold out any expectation that, in, lieu of this particular Wednesday, we may have some other opportunity of discussing the Bill in the course of the Session, or, failing that, whether the Government will consider the propriety of dealing with this subject themselves in the next Session of Parliament?


My noble Friend is a sufficiently experienced Member of the House to know that the Government can express no preference for or give advantage to any private Member's Bill. With regard to the second part of his Question, I am not in a position to give a complete answer to it at the present time, but I can assure him of the sympathy of myself and many of my colleagues on this question. ["Hear, hear!"]