HC Deb 25 July 1898 vol 62 cc1281-7
DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

This is a Vote involving a large expenditure of money, and this Bill has always hitherto been brought forward at an earlier period. That being so, I cannot understand why the Government are bringing it forward now. There are

many other Bills that could be taken, and I really think that the right honourable Gentleman will see that it is highly desirable, instead of rushing it through at this late hour, that he should take on some of the less contentious Measures, and reserve this for to-morrow or Thursday. If he would do this, I am sure everybody would be a great deal more satisfied, and would be in a great deal better temper. I hope the right honourable Gentleman will see his way to withdraw this Measure, because a number of us hare long distances to travel, and I am speaking on their behalf. I do appeal to the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to withdraw this Bill. I beg to move— That this House do now adjourn.


I beg leave to second this Motion.


I do not desire to take any business to-night which is not absolutely necessary, in order that the machinery of Government may continue. The honourable Member's request is not an unreasonable one to make. By an unbroken precedent, it has always been held that we should bring in these Consolidated Fund Bills at the earliest opportunity, but they have never been made the occasion for much discussion, and the honourable Member who has just sat down is mistaken on that point. It has never been the practice of the House, and I do not think anybody can recall an occasion upon which this Consolidated Fund Bill has been discussed.


Yes; there have been such occasions.


Well, it is the rarest possible thing to have them discussed, and I thought it had never been done. It will be inconvenient to take the Bill on Friday night, and I trust that honourable Members opposite will now stretch a point, and I hope no attempt will now be made to prevent a Bill from passing which is absolutely necessary.




Because public servants will remain unpaid. The money has been voted, and it cannot be paid out unless this Bill be passed. It is not for our convenience, but simply to carry on the ordinary business of the country, that we make this appeal. Then there is the Admiralty Vote, which must be reported to-night. All I ask the House to do is to pass these purely formal Measures in order that we may carry on the business of the country.


I do not think there would be any objection to the Report of Supply, and the Report of the Admiralty Supply, but with regard to this Consolidated Fund Bill, while, I believe, there is not likely to be much discussion upon it, there is a strong feeling outside this House against passing such enormous sums of money at such a late hour of the night. I have never known it done so late as this before. It is passing a Bill through what, I suppose, is a necessary stage, and it should be taken at a time when the proper financial control of the House can be effectively exercised. This Bill involves the expenditure of £11,000,000, and this is a very improper practice that it should be taken now, and it is the fault of the Government that this should occur. The Government should not run themselves up to the last minute.


I do not think the right honourable Baronet understands that all the money appropriated under this Bill has been voted by this House already. What I argue is that this is a necessary step consequent upon certain expenditure having been authorised, to enable us to meet that expenditure. The last Ways and Means Act was passed, as is usual, before the 31st of March, but the ways and means authorised by that Act are now nearly exhausted. It is absolutely the usual course which has been pursued, only the Vote on Account having been very large it is rather late in the Session. I have been in the House a good many years, but I never remember any Debate being raised on one of these intermediate appropriation Bills.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer is quite in error. The very last Bill, the Consolidated Fund (No. 1) Bill, was debated for several hours this very Session.


That was the end of the financial year.


Yes, it was. It is the prerogative of this House in a matter on the Report stage, and they had this privilege of debating it upon the Appripriation Bill. This is one of the privileges of the House for the purpose of checking the finances. The First Lord of the Treasury has supplied us with a good reason to vote for the adjournment. His object is to have the Vote of Supply included in this Bill and consequently to get the money for it. We could not debate this Bill on the Report of Supply on the Navy Votes that we passed on Friday night, but if the Report in Supply were approved of, then, of course, the matter would be quite competent to discuss under the Second Reading. Therefore, I think, as it is the intention of the Government to include the Vote of Supply on the Navy Vote in the Committee stage of this Bill, of course they will include everything up to the Report stage, and I should be very much surprised if they did not do it, for they are entitled to do it if you pass the Report to-night. The First Lord has furnished us with a good argument if you pass it now. It is the Government's own fault that they have run themselves so short of time. They could have brought on this Bill on Friday, a week ago, for there was nothing to hinder them. It was only that they were anxious to carry as much business as possible that they put it off as long as they could. The Government having run the time so short, it is unreasonable

Bolton, Thomas Dolling Griffith, Ellis J. Warner. T. C. T.
Brigg, John Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale- Wedderburn, Sir William
Caldwell, James Joicey, Sir James Yoxall, James Henry
Channing, Francis Allston Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)
Clark, Dr.G.B. (Caithness-sh.) Macaleese, Daniel TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Norton, Capt. C. William Dr. Tanner and Mr. Joseph A. Pease.
Doogan, P. C. Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Goddard, Daniel Ford Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Acland-Hood, Capt.SirAlex.F. Chelsea, Viscount Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Cochrane. Hon. T. H. A. E. Gretton, John
Bagot, Capt. J. F. Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Greville, Captain
Balfour. Rt.Hon.A.J. (Manc'r) Colomb, Sir J. C. Ready Haldane, Richard B.
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D. Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.
Beach,Rt.Hn.SirM.H.(Brist'l) Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Hanbury. Rt. Hon. R. W.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Dalkeith, Earl of Hill, A. (Down, W.)
Bond, Edward Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Johnston, W. (Belfast)
Brassey, Albert Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Knowles, Lees
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Duncombe, Hon. H. V. Lafone, Alfred
Bucknill, Thomas T. Fardell, Sir T. George Laurie, Lieut.-General
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Fellowes, Hon. A. E. Lawrence,SirEDurning(Corn.)
Cavendish. V.C.W. (Derbysh.) Finlay, Sir. R. Bannatyne Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Fisher, William H. Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)
Chaloner, Captain, R. G. W. Folkestone, Viscount Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lanes)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J.(Birm) Godson, Sir A. F. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r) Goschen,Rt.Hn.G.J.(St,G'rg's) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Goulding, Edward Alfred Loder, G. W. E.
Charangton, Spencer Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverp'l)

to come and say that this Bill should be passed at this hour of the morning, when we shall be deprived of an opportunity of discussing it. I think the Motion is a very proper one, and certainly the Government have themselves to blame for it.


I do think this Bill has been brought on too late in the Session, As far as the Government are concerned, they are now in a great hurry for the money, and what we object to is that this Vote should be brought on between two and three o'clock in the morning. I think the best course would be to take a Division upon this, as ft protest.

Question put— That the House do now adjourn.

The House divided:—Ayes 19; Noes 98.—(Division List No. 257.)

Lorne, Marquess of Pierpoint, Robert Tomlinson, W. E. M.
Lowles, John Purvis, Robert Valentia, Viscount
Loyd, Archie Kirkman Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W. Warr, A. F.
Macartney, W. G. E. Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T. Webster., Sir R, E. (I. of W.)
Maclune, Sir J. W. Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Whiteley,H. (Ashton-under-L.)
Milton, Viscount Ryder, John H. D. Williams, J. P. (Birm.)
Monk, Charles James Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire) Wilson, John (Ealkirk)
More, Robert Jasper Simeon, Sir Barrington Wodehouse,Rt.Hn.E.R.(Bath)
Morrell, George Herbert Skewes-Cox, Thomas Wylie, Alexander
Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) Smith, J. P. (Lanark) Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute) Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand) Young, Commander (Berka,E.)
Murray, C. J. (Coventry) Stanley, Lord (Lanes)
Murray, Col. W. (Bath) Sturt, Hon. H. N. TELLERS FOR THE NOSE—
Nicol, Donald Ninian lalbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Sir William Walrond and
Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Thornton, Percy M. Mr. Anstruther.

Question put— That the Bill be now read a second time.

Agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for this day.