HC Deb 28 July 1898 vol 63 cc238-69

Motion made, and Question proposed— That the Bill be now read the third time.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

On the preceding stage of this Hill I endeavoured to call attention to what I think was a very irregular matter. I wag very much astonished by the statement made that I was misinformed as to the facts of this case. My point was that this Bill, which had passed through all its stages in the other House, was referred to the Unopposed Bills Committee without any Amendment. Well, the next day it appears it was reported with an Amendment. I was told that I was misinformed as to the facts. Now, I have obtained a statement from the Parliamentary agent, who is practically the promoter of the Bill, and it is to this effect: the statement is that this Unopposed Committee received the Bill without Amendment at the meeting of that Committee. The representative of the Education Department attended and stated that there was no Amendment to the Bill, and a representative of the promoters, or who were practically the promoters, of the Bill also attended, and, as there was no Amendment, the leaves of the whole Bill were turned over in, the ordinary way, and it was understood that this stage of the Unopposed Committee was at an end. These are the facts upon which I proceeded upon the last occasion. I think I may mention that without fear of contradiction. The point is that subsequently the Bill was amended. Now, Sir, I want to call the attention of the House to this fact. After the Bill had passed through the Unopposed Bills Committee it was amended secretly, and, above all, without any notice being given to those who were practically the promoters of the Bill. Now, if it were necessary to carry any Amendment, I understand that for the convenience of the Department the Chairman of Ways and Means practically was in possession of the Bill until it was reported to this House. My point is, if it were necessary to carry any Amendment, notice should be given to the London School Board. I asked the question of the right honourable Gentleman as to why he did not do that, and he stated that he had not the time, after his attention was called to it, to give notice to the London School Board. Well, I do not desire to question anything that the right honourable Gentleman said, because I think it can only refer to his personal honour, because the Education Department were for three, four, and six months previous to this in communication with the London School Board, because all these Provisional Orders demand that proof should be given that they have been duly advertised, and this Provisional Order was advertised in five London papers; and on the 30th of April this House and the Education Department recognised that the forms which had been gone through with regard to this particular site were satisfactory. Even supposing the right honourable Gentleman's attention had been called to the inclusion of this site, as I believe it was, there were these other transactions to which I have referred. I say that the Vice-President of the Council should have postponed the consideration of the matter. There was plenty of time to give the London School Board notice of the fact that this site had been struck out. I think it reflects a great deal of discredit upon the conduct of this business by the Education Department. This is no trifling matter. The striking out of this site has been justified on the grounds that it was in the interests of Voluntary schools. There is a temporary building already on the spot in which 366 children are housed. It appears this building is in two parts, so that there are really two schools instead of one erected at great expense, and this all arises from the fact that this site was treated in an underhand manner, and the Amendment was carried without any discussion. When we mentioned it before, it was said that we should have an opportunity of discussing the matter, but judgment was given against us on that point. It is a very different thing to discuss a matter of this kind on its merits before any decision was arrived at, which is what the London School Board desired to do. Now, this House naturally likes to support the action taken in Committee, and, therefore, I was at every disadvantage in asking that this site should be reinstated in the Bill. I think we have every reason to protest against the way this Bill has been carried through. I find myself in a very difficult position in moving that this Bill be not read a third time, nor can I restore the site to the Bill. However, as I think the matter is of great importance, I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, as a matter of procedure, whether it is in accordance with the practice of this House to amend a private Bill which has passed its Second Reading without notice to those primarily interested in its promotion, after the Bill has passed through the Unopposed Committee, or as we think it passed through the Unopposed Committee, and before it had been endorsed by the Chairman of Ways and Means, and without Amendment, and before the Report stage in this House. I should be much obliged if you would give your ruling on this point, Mr. Speaker.


It is quite obvious that after a Bill has been read a second time no Amendment can be made in it except by the authorised Committee, but that Committee is not bound to give notice of any Amendment to anybody. I have communicated with the right honourable Gentleman the Chairman of Committees as to what has taken place, and he informs me that this Amendment was made by the Committee.


But should not notice have been given to the promoters?


The Committee is not bound to give any notice whatever.

SIR J. GORST (Cambridge University)

I do not say that the reason why notice was not given to the London School Board was because I had not time, after the matter came to my knowledge, to give notice. I said that I had no time after the decision of the Committee of Council on the Bill had been arrived at, and that was a fact; and I acted with the greatest possible promptitude in the matter.


This matter has been before the Department for months, and it must have been known that it was intended to take this site compulsorily, and they must have come to the conclusion that this site was necessary, and they were perfectly prepared to confer the powers on the London School Board. Now, what is it that has occurred afterwards? Why, through somebody's influence the Department have struck out the site. Now, I think we ought to have some defence from the Education Department of this conduct. First of all, notice is given in the ordinary course. Ample time is provided for, in order that the Education Department should investigate the whole of the sites, which is necessary to confer the adequate powers of compulsory purchase upon the School Board. Now, they came, to this conclusion, that this was a case for compulsory powers to be given. The Vice-President of the Council presumably concurs; the Bill goes through all its stages in the other House, and in this House up to the Committee stage, through the First, Second, and Third Readings and the Committee stage, and nothing is done by the Department. Now what happened afterwards? Why there is not the remotest doubt as to what happened. We know that the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich placed an Amendment, on the Paper. He called the attention of the Vice-President of the Council to this Amendment, and, as he was a little bit nervous as to the task placed upon him, and wanted a little tonic, he said he was not ready for it. Well, he was attacked in the House of Commons on one occasion, and he collapsed. Now, is this to be a precedent? That is the question. Will the promoters have an opportunity of laying their case before the Committee or before the Education Department? No notice was given of this Amendment, and, what is still worse, the solicitor of the School Board being present at the Committee, the whole Committee stage practically passed through unopposed, the Chairman of Committees signs the document—and I do not think he challenges that statement—he signs the Bill as an umamended Bill after the whole of the proceedings have terminated. He signs the Bill as unamended, and then the Vice-President of the Council goes to him with a sort of backstairs business when there is no one present. The School Board, who are the promoters of the Bill, know nothing about it. Well, he goes there after a private conversation with the honourable Member for Greenwich, and then he asks us to strike out site No. 10. Well, if that is the way in which private Bills are to be voted, I want to know what is to be the end of it. It will be unnecessary to pass openly and straightforwardly anything in the future. All you will have to do will be to get round the Vice-President or the Secretary of State or the Archbishop, and they will alter the Measure. You will say to the Minister, "Do not oppose it in the House of Lords and the House of Commons, take care not to oppose it openly, allow it to go through every stage, and after that come to me and I will strike it out. I will overrule the deliberate decision of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and do it myself." That is practically what it amounts to.

* SIR W. HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)

I think we have had a very insufficient explanation of this matter from the Vice-President of the Council. As the honourable and learned Member for Carnarvon has said, this is not a case which applies merely to one Department, but it affects the whole of the Departments of the Government, and they are bound to give a satisfactory defence of this matter. Now, what is the case? Here is a Bill containing a matter of interest, which might involve any other matter in which Parliament is concerned, in which the Department has approved of the proposal, and passed through a Select Committee of the House of Lords without any objection. Consequently the head of the Department—and we even had the Duke of Devonshire concerned—supported it in the House of Lords. That Measure came down openly as far as the proceedings are known to us. The Government have supported this matter and approved of it clearly up to the last stage, and then secretly, without any public communication to this House, without any notice to the body which is interested in the matter—namely, the London School Board—a body which, in my opinion and in the opinion of the people of London, deserves to be respected, whether it is respected by gentlemen opposite or not—behind their backs, believing that they were secure in the support of the Government, as we are told, by a private arrangement with the noble Lord, the Member for Greenwich, who has congratulated the Vice-President of the Council upon having done his work in the past so admirably, this matter is so disposed of, and the site is struck out. Now, I venture to say, that that is a breach of the relations of the Executive Government and a Department to the House of Commons, and it is one that ought to be taken notice of; and not only that, but it is one that ought to be denounced, and it is one which by Division we will protest against. There can be no confidence placed in the conduct of public affairs as between Departments and the House of Commons if proceedings of this kind are to be tolerated in the future.

* SIR C. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

There is one view of this subject which has not been put before the House, and that is the bearing of what has occurred in this case upon the whole Provisional Order system. We are continually asked to give our sanction to Provisional Orders in such cases, instead of proceeding by private Bills, and I have always tried to put before the House that this power of the Department to suddenly strike out portions of a Bill is a serious defect in the way of Provisional Order procedure. That power has, however, never been, exercised before without proper notice. I have mentioned this matter to the House before, and protested against the practice of exercising this power even when it has been exercised with notice; but this is a much stronger case, and strikes more directly against the system, because we have had no notice whatever given in this case.

MR. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)

Under the circumstances, if it be permitted to me to do so, I will move— That the Bill be now recommitted.

MR. PRICE (Norfolk, E.)

I beg leave to second that Motion.


I appeal to the Government in this matter. Here is a thing which—and I cannot use any other word until some further explanation is forthcoming—is a concealment of the action of the Executive Government. It may be that there are reasons to be given; it may be that these transactions can be explained and are capable of explanation. But if it is a fact that this thing has been done unknown to the House of Commons, unknown to the School Board, who are interested in the matter, surely the Government and the House would wish that any error of that kind should be corrected, and that the mistake should be repaired and rectified, and that the House should now have the opportunity by recommitting the Bill of having that competence in the matter and that power of dealing with it which they ought to have had from the first.


I made a full statement the other day on this matter before the House, and it is only owing to my reluctance not to take up the time of the House that I have not repeated my statement to-day. The matter is a very simple one, and this, is only a sort of a storm in a teacup. The site in question—site No. 10—was struck out of the London School Board Bill the Session before last, and that was done after a very long and careful inquiry by the Education Department. The School Board for London, and those who opposed the site, were then informed that a temporary school should be built in the neighbourhood, and the question whether the site was to be taken was to depend upon the success of the temporary school. The school was accordingly erected, and it is now opened; after this, unknown to the heads of the Government, site 10 was again reinserted in this Bill. Of course, the Departments technically were aware of the insertion of this site, but, practically, the Lord President of the Council and some of the other higher officials, only had their attention called to that, fact at the very last moment. But the moment it was discovered the Department decided that, in good faith to those who had opposed the proposal, and towards the arrangement which has been made as to the, erection of the temporary school, the site should be struck out of the Bill. As to the executive officer, he had to strike out the site, and he would have given notice to the School Board if there had been time. But there was no grievance created by that notice not being given; and what has been done is what the Department have always claimed a right to do, and it is constantly done.


Yes, with notice.


Well, this Bill was a public Measure in charge of the Education Department, and we were the promoters of the Bill. The right honourable Baronet has said that this is an abuse of the Provisional Order system.


I did not say that. What I stated was that I disliked the practice very much. My point is that it damages the Provisional Order system as against private Bills. This is a public Bill, I understand, in charge of the Education Department, and they are the promoters of it; consequently, I say that there was a breach of faith in this matter.


Does the right honourable Gentleman say that this is a Bill brought forward by the Education Department?




Then why did they put in site 10?


That site was put in inadvertently with a large number of other sites, because there was no opposition to it. Nobody gave, any notice of opposition, and it went in along with the others. Now, what is it that has been proposed to be done in this case? The right honourable Gentleman proposed a Motion for the recommittal of this Bill. Well, that is, perfectly useless, because the House has already determined that on the Motion of the honourable Member for Islington, and it has resolved that site No. 10 shall not be inserted. I contend, therefore, that it will not be in order put this site in the Bill. If it is re-committed, the only way to reinstate this site is to go to the, other House, and, if you can persuade the other House to do it, that is the best way to proceed. As the honourable Member for Islington's proposal was not carried, I apprehend that no re-committal of the Bill would be in order now.


There is a perfect answer to the apparently only strong point of the right honourable Gentleman's remarks. It happens that two years ago the Education Department demanded that a temporary school should be erected on that spot. The school board absolutely and loyally did this. They erected a temporary school—in fact, they erected two schools there, and both are now crowded with 366 children, so that there has been something like 10 months' experience of a temporary school on the spot to which this Bill refers That is what makes the strength of the present position. The London School Board has done everything it was asked to do; it has done what the Education Department demanded; and it has found that it was necessary to build a school there, and these 400 or more children are put to the greatest inconvenience for school accommodation and the greatest possible discomfort. Not only this, but the London School Board is saddled with all this unnecessary expense. Now, Mr. Speaker, I do hope that the right honourable Gentleman will give us another word, and we shall be able to settle this matter. Nothing could be more pacific than my suggestion. I would ask my honourable Friend not to press this matter to a Division, if the right honourable Gentleman will give us a little more assurance as to what will take place in the other House. They examine every point in the other House, and if the bishops and the Voluntary schools want any protection, surely they would get it there. I think I have made the point perfectly clear that the London school Board did everything that it ought to do, and that there is the most flagrant and apparent case against the action of the Education Department, and I do hope that if nothing more is said, they will accept the Motion that has been made.


The Vice-President of the Council has evaded the gravest allegation made by the honourable Member for Islington, and that is that this Bill passed through the Committee stage without any Amendment, and that the Chairman afterwards signed the document as an unamended Bill in the presence of the parties who were concerned. I submit to the House that that is a very great departure from the procedure of this House, and I draw the attention of the House to the fact that although the Vice-President of the Council made a lengthy statement to-day and the other day, he has not traversed that charge at all, and, what is more, the Chairman of Committees, who is responsible for this, is not present now, although he knows perfectly well that this matter is going to come on. He knows the whole of the facts, in opposition to the honourable Member for Islington, and he is not here to challenge them. He knows that this thing was done in the absence of the parties interested, after he had signed the document; therefore I say that is a very grave departure from the Rules of this House, and I emphasise the fact that the Vice-President of the Council has not answered that charge at all. I can quite understand why he objects to be questioned upon this point. It is very awkward to be questioned about things of this sort. He said that the heads of the Department knew nothing about No. 10 site, but this throws some light not only upon the Education Department, but upon every other Department of the Government as to the way their business is being conducted. I ask the Vice-President of the Council, when these proposals were submitted to the Education Department, was there not a Report made upon those proposals of the London School Board? This is usually done by every Government Department. It is all very well to say that this Bill is promoted, not by the London School Board, but by the Education Department; technically that is true, but nobody knows better than the Vice-President of the Council himself that substantially it is not true, and the answer is not a perfectly genuine one. These Bills, it is true, are promoted nominally by the Department who have got them in charge, but really they are promoted by the local authorities. The Vice-President of the Council says there was no time to interfere. Well, there was a vast amount of expense incurred by the London School Board in solicitors' charges and other matters, and the Vice-President allows them to go through all this form of expense, and there is no opposition, and at the very last moment he throws away all these costs by means of this departure from the usual course, and he is setting up a perfectly dangerous precedent, and one which I venture to say every Member of this. House must agree with me in describing as grossly unconstitutional.

MR. H. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

The Vice-President has protested against this discussion, and has pointed out that even if this Bill were recommitted, site No. 10 would not and could not be put in. But the Vice-President does not seem to understand why we are dividing the House. We are dividing in order to relieve our Parliamentary consciences. We find that there has been a great deal of departmental secret "hanky-panky" business in regard to this Bill, and we consider that the control of Parliament, even upon the Education Department's own Bill, will be destroyed, and the respect entertained for Parliament outside in regard to legislation will be injured by this course of procedure. For these reasons, I hope my honourable Friend will divide the House.

SIR H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton)

In this case there is a much wider application, for it affects the general procedure and practice of the House, and not only the injustice done in this case. No doubt the Vice-President is technically right in this, that the House having decided that this site 10 should not be inserted in the Bill, it would not be competent for the Committee to reverse the decision of the House. I want, however, to point out to the House the great danger of this mode of procedure if the House is going to condone this new departure. Now, I am a strong advocate for proceeding by Provisional Order, and I differ from my right honourable Friend below the Gangway, the Member for the Forest of Dean, on this point. I think it is one of the truest solutions of the enormous expense of private Bill legislation. The thing is that this has, passed absolutely unnoticed by the Government of the day, and the head of the Department is simply dealing with his own individual action. Now, this is a question affecting the procedure of the House, and neither the Leader of the House nor any Member of the Cabinet has thought it worth while to take any part in the discussion. Now, I want to point out where this practice will lead us to. Let us take the case of an Order made by another Department. Technically the Bills forming these Provisional Orders are simply performing an executive act on behalf of some body who have a right to make such a petition for such Provisional Orders—I mean such bodies as the London School Board, town councils, or other local bodies. Now, if that form of application for these Orders is opposed, the Government Department takes no further interest in the procedure, and it bears no part of the expense of the position, for that falls, on the local authority who have to defend it. Take the ordinary course of the Local Government Board in reference to the poor laws. A local authority applies for power to borrow certain money in order to perform certain works, and an inspector goes down, and he inquires fully into the case. He makes his report to the Local Government Board, and, therefore, they make a certain Order, in, which they insert certain conditions as to costs, as to time, and as to the sinking fund, and any other conditions which a Committee of this House might be disposed to insert in a private Bill. Now that Order is published. The local authorities are perfectly satisfied with that Order, it is brought in and nobody presents a petition against the formation of it, and, therefore, the local authority have a right to assume that it is going to pass through the House without opposition, and they practically take no further trouble, in the matter. The Local Government Board, as a matter of form, pass the Bill as an unopposed Bill, and if it goes before the Chairman of Committees, as an unopposed Bill would go, I have always thought that no substantial alteration could be made in a Bill of that description. But that is not necessary for my argument. Supposing some local person, or some other local authority interested in this Provisional Order, proposed some change, and went and convinced the Local Government, Board that that Order should be radically altered, that some main provision should be altered, or some new power should be put in, or that you must strike out some restriction imposed, or impose some restriction which should not be imposed, and all this without any communication with the local authority interested, even after the Bill has been formally passed by the Unopposed Committee. Now, does this House intend any official of this House—I will not exempt even Mr. Speaker from this remark—any official—to have the power to alter private Bill legislation without notice to anybody, and without notice to any of the parties concerned. I think the privileges of this House are vitally involved, and this is a matter in which the House has a right to have an opinion from the Executive Government of the day. In order to elicit that opinion I beg leave to move— That the House do now adjourn.

MR. L. H. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)

The Motion just made is of a most unfortunate character because it will stop any further discussion of the question. Now, although I have nothing to say about the Motion for adjournment, I have something to say on the matter before the House, and upon the speech of the right honourable Gentleman opposite, and I hope he will withdraw his Motion.


The right honourable Gentleman has had much more experience than I have of Parliamentary procedure, and he must know that this Motion is the only constitutional mode of asking the Executive Government to take part in the Debate. Of course, if any Minister would rise and give an explanation, I will at once withdraw; if not, I shall press my Motion to a Division.

Question put— That the House do now adjourn.

The House divided:—Ayes 92; Noes 148.—(Division List No. 266.)

Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Price, Robert John
Ambrose, Robert (Mayo, W.) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Randell, David
Asher, Alexander Healy, T. M. (N. Louth) Reid, Sir Robert T.
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Hedderwick, T. C. H. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Balfour,Rt.Hn.J.B. (Clackm.) Horniman, Frederick John Roberts, J. H. (Denbighs)
Barlow, John Emmott Jameson, Major J. Eustace Robson, William Snowdon
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Joicey, Sir James Roche, Hon. J. (E. Kerry)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Jones, David B. (Swansea) Savory, Sir Joseph
Birrell, Augustine Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)
Blake, Edward Kearley, Hudson E. Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Brigg, John Labouchere, Henry Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland) Souttar, Robinson
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Leuty, Thomas Richmond Steadman, William Charles
Caldwell, James Lloyd-George, David Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Cameron, Robert (Durham) Lough, Thomas Tanner, Charles Kearns
Cawley, Frederick Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)
Clough, Walter Owen Macaleese, Daniel Thomas, Alf. (Glamorgan, E.)
Colville, John MacDonnell,Dr.M.A. (Qn's C.) Wallace, Robt. (Edinburgh)
Crombie, John William MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Curran, Thos. (Sligo, S.) McEwan, William Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Davitt, Michael Maddison, Fred. Wayman, Thomas
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Wedderburn, Sir William
Dillon, John Mellor, Rt. Hn. J. W. (Yorks) Williams, John C. (Notts)
Donelan, Captain A. Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Wilson, H. J. (York, W.R.)
Doogan, P. C. Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Wilson, John (Govan)
Dunn, Sir William Norton, Captain Cecil Wm. Woodall, William
Evans, Sir F. H. (S'th'mpt'n) O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Woodhouse,SirJT(Hudd'rsf'ld)
Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) O'Kelly, James Yoxall, James Henry
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Oldroyd, Mark
Goddard, Daniel Ford Perks, Robert William TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. William McArthur and Mr. Causton.
Griffith, Ellis J. Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Haldane, Richard Burdon Pirie, Duncan V.
Aird, John Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r) Gray, Ernest (West Ham)
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Gretton, John
Arnold, Alfred Charrington, Spencer Halsey, Thomas Frederick
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Coghill, Douglas Harry Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hickman, Sir Alfred
Bagot, Captain J. FitzRoy Colomb, Sir John C. R. Hill, Arthur (Down, W.)
Baird, John Geo. Alexander Cornwallis, F. Stanley W. Hill, Sir Edw. Stock (Bristol)
Balcarres, Lord Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H. Hornby, William Henry
Balfour, Rt.Hon.A.J. (Manc'r) Curzon,RtHn.G.N. (Lanc.SW) Houston, R. P.
Balfour, Rt.Hon. G.W. (Leeds) Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Howell, William Tudor
Banbury, Frederick George Dalbiac, Col. Philip Hugh Hozier, Hon. J. H. C.
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Dalkeith, Earl of Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn
Bartley, George C. T. Dalrymple, Sir Charles Hudson, George Bickersteth
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. D. Johnston, William (Belfast)
Beach,Rt.Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Kenyon, James
Beach, W. W. B. (Hants) Doxford, William Theodore King, Sir Henry Seymour
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Drage, Geoffrey Knowles, Lees
Bethell, Commander Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Lafone, Alfred
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw. Laurie, Lieut.-General
Blundell, Colonel Henry Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Firbank, Joseph Thomas Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)
Boulnois, Edmund Fisher, William Hayes Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lancs.)
Bousfield, William Robert FitzWygram, General Sir F. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn) Flannery, Fortescue Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.
Brassey, Albert Fletcher, Sir Henry Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)
Bullard, Sir Harry Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans) Lorne, Marquess of
Carlile, William Walter Giles, Charles Tyrrell Lowe, Francis William
Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward Gordon, Hon. John Edward Lowles, John
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon Lucas-Shadwell, William
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J. (St.G'rg's) Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Chamberlain,Rt.Hn. J. (Birm.) Goulding, Edward Alfred Maclure, Sir John William
McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool) Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W. Tritton, Charles Ernest
McKillop, James Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T. Verney, Hon. Richard G.
Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.
Milner, Sir Frederick George Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)
Milton, Viscount Ryder, John Herbert Dudley Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Monk, Charles James Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard Whiteley, Geo. (Stockport)
Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Sharpe, William Edward T. Whiteley,H.(Ashton-under-L.)
Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) Shaw-Stewart,M.H. (Renfrew) Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)
Murray, Et. Hn. A. G. (Bute) Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Simeon, Sir Barrington Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. S.
Murray, Colonel W. (Bath) Smith, James P. (Lanark) Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.
Nicholson, William Graham Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
O'Brien, P. (Kilkenny) Stanley, Lord (Lancs) Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)
Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Stone, Sir Benjamin
Phillpotts, Captain Arthur Strauss, Arthur TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther
Pierpoint, Robert Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Purvis, Robert Talbot,RtHn.J.G.(Oxf'dUny.)
Rasch, Major Frederic Carne Thornton, Percy M.

Question again proposed— That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.


I desire to reply to the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton. Certainly, if such a contingency as that suggested by the right honourable Gentleman had happened, it would be a grave matter for the consideration of the House, but what has actually occurred does not warrant any such fears. A Provisional Order Bill originates, as my right honourable Friend says, and is drawn up by the Department after a local inquiry amongst those who require a Provisional Order to carry on the work necessary to secure their recommendations, and those interested in the concern have the power of coming in and interfering and altering the Provisional Order, after which it is then sent to Parliament embodying important and perfectly independent schemes, and, as a common matter of business, these Bills then go before the Unopposed Committee. If, on the suggestion of the Department, or for any other reason such as that which my right honourable Friend has suggested—namely, an alteration of the contents, or of any item of the Provisional Order is made, so as to alter the relations of those concerned in the Provisional Order as originally drawn up, without notice to the persons interested, it would be a very flagrant miscarriage of justice in the practice and procedure of this House. But that has occurred in this case. In a Provisional Order embodying several schemes the Department which has control of the Order from the beginning always has the right to withdraw the Order in toto, or, if one part is detached from the other portion of the scheme, go as not to affect by its withdrawal the interests of the different parties concerned in its co-operation, that one independent complete part could be withdrawn by the Department. What my right honourable Friend has said is not the fact, because the Government can withdraw altogether a substantial part, of the Order if they like, since the Department are masters of the situation in the first place, and it can by the same right withdraw anything which it chooses. Supposing that they were entitled to come and say, "We will withdraw this," that is what happened here. So far as this particular site is concerned they withdrew it, and I frankly admit that it is within the competence of the Department to do so; but as between this House and its officer nothing has been done which can be made a subject of criticism as far as the Chairman of Ways and Means is concerned, for he has done nothing but that which the Department allows him to do. I admit that, to withdraw a clause that has reached that stags, it was proper to have given notice to the persons interested, and who were promoting the Order, and that was the intention of the Department; then those persons could have gone and argued out the matter before the Committee. This, however, is simply a Departmental question, and it is not a Parliamentary question. It is a question which affects the action of the Department itself in relation to the persons who promoted this Provisional Order. My right honourable Friend frankly confesses that a mistake was made. It was a mistake to allow this site to go into the clause at all; the right honourable Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire says that it is a reflection on the heads of the Department to allow such things to occur. Did my right honourable Friend know when he himself was the Home Secretary every item in the list of subjects provided in the Measures prepared by the Home Department?


That is not what I said. I said that this was not substantially a Bill of the Education Department, but substantially the Bill of the London School Board. That is the argument I used. I said that the School Board put in the site, and not the Department.


That shows, I think, that, in the Bills initiated in the Department which was controlled by the right honourable Gentleman, he knows very little of the way in which they were prepared. But it is perfectly irrelevant to the argument. The question raised is that of the argument of my right honourable Friend. As the Vice-President has said, the introduction of this site was a mistake on the part of the Education Department, and they would not, if the heads of the Education Department had had their attention called to it, have allowed it to be introduced; but as the Executive Department is responsible to this House, they would be responsible for refusing to proceed with this Bill. The real matter of regret is that the Education Department, having resolved to withdraw this particular site, did not give notice to the School Board for London of its intention to do so. My right honourable Friend said he had not got time. Well, very little time is wanted, and the Bill could have been put off for a week when it came before the Chairman of Ways and Means. I regret that notice was not given; that is the one defect in the whole Bill. I do not see why my right honourable Friend the Member for Wolverhampton has used such an argument, for he has pointed to a much graver matter which would be of more importance to this House if such a thing had occurred. But he has confused the effect of the scheme; he has confused that with the variation and the details of the scheme. It would be absolutely impossible to conduct business by the Chairman if he exercised such powers, and it would be the grossest possible offence against the duties of Parliament. What has happened has been an error not noticed, which, after all, has not affected the final results of the matter, because the scheme would have been withdrawn if notice had been given. It is not a fact that they would have had power to appear before the Chairman. I think it is recognised from all parts of the House that this is not likely to be repeated, or else Parliamentary action would become rather an absurdity.

MR. ROBSON (South Shields)

The right honourable Gentleman has tried to make out that this is a trivial and inadvertent error which the Department has subsequently corrected without injury to anyone concerned, and without in any way affecting the privileges or practice of this House. But it seems to me, Sir, and to a great many more experienced Members of this House, that something more serious is involved. What has been done here is this: the Chairman of Ways and Means has apparently, after signing this Bill—and that is a circumstance to which the right honourable Gentleman who spoke last did not allude—has made an alteration without giving notice to the Department concerned. Those who have addressed the House have spoken sufficiently upon that point, but we are entitled to know at whose instance, and upon whose initiative, the Chairman of Ways and Means acted. Knowing what has been said, I think we are entitled to have fuller light upon that part of the subject. The honourable Member for Bodmin has said that this is not a case of alteration in the Provisional Order that affects rights of property. I confess I cannot follow him in that. It is an alteration affecting the taking of land. How do we know that this has not been done at the initiative of a private property owner, or at the instance of someone interested in the Voluntary schools? We do know that some time ago the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich had a Motion down to re-commit this Bill in order to exclude from the Provisional Order sites Nos. 10 and 23. Now site No. 10 has disappeared, and No. 23 remains. This is rather a singular circumstance, and looks as though the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich has directed the Chairman of Ways and Means which site should be struck out, or whether either of them should be retained. His Motion was withdrawn, and yet he seems to have secured something. Now, why was one of these sites taken out and the other left in? Instead of debating the matter in this House, there appears to have been some private and secret arrangement, and it is from that point of view that I venture to submit to the Government that the privileges and rights of this House are most seriously affected. This is by no means a case which we ought to treat as an inadvertent error of a Department which has asked too much, and then it withdraws this request. I think we are entitled to have a more explicit statement from some member of the Government than we have had.

LORD H. CECIL (Greenwich)

The honourable and learned Member seems to suggest that there has been some communication apparently of a corrupt character with the Chairman of Ways and Means. That is entirely untrue. I conversed with the Vice-President in the ordinary course, and I anticipated that he would have to bring the matter before the House on the Motion to re-commit the Bill. As I explained before, when in the ordinary course the Government made the concession from the point of view I was maintaining I thought it was unnecessary to delay the business of the House, and, therefore, I took my notice off the Paper in the ordinary course. That is such a process as I suppose every Member of this House has been through, and it is a process which is constantly followed in the management of all Bills. In connection with this Bill there has been none of the mysterious negotiations which appear to infect the imagination of honourable Members who have spoken. I cannot help thinking that behind these manifestations of regard for the privileges and procedure of this House there is some other anxiety in the minds of honourable Gentlemen opposite in this matter. I rather think they entertain the hope that they will prevent this kind of thing happening again, that they will prevent those honourable Members who are interested in Voluntary schools from protesting against the erection of un- necessary Board schools, and prevent the Government listening with a just and impartial ear to our statement of the case. Those who take an interest in Voluntary schools do not desire to conceal that it is part of their policy to prevent the erection of unnecessary Board schools, and that they will use their position and influence in this House or in the other House——


For Mr. Hooley.


I do not understand what the honourable Member is referring to. I repeat, we will use our position to procure the excision from any Provisional Order Bill of any unnecessary school which the present Progressive majority of the London School Board desire to put up We do not mind Government time being wasted in discussions of this kind, and if honourable Members opposite think they will prevent any chairman doing his duty towards the schools of London by any display of impatience they make a great mistake.

* MR. J. W. MELLOR (York, W.R., Sowerby)

After hearing the speech of the noble Lord the House will, I feel certain, have come to the conclusion that this is a more serious business than was at first generally supposed. I do not think, however, for reasons which I will submit to the House, that any fault, is to be found with the Unopposed Bill Committee. That Committee consists, as the honourable Member for Bodmin has pointed out, of the Chairman of Ways and Means, the counsel to the Speaker, and a Member of the House. The Committee has, in my opinion, a judicial position, and it is more or less at the mercy of the agents who appear before it, and, in the case of a Provisional Order Bill such as this, the agents for the Department which has control of the Bill. The Chairman of Ways and Means has, under the circumstances, no knowledge of the persons to whom notice should be given. There is no person before him who can tell him that notice should be given to the School Board, to this local body, to that person, or to anyone. The Chairman of the Committee has no means of judging on the point, and, as I submitted to the House some time ago, it would be a good thing if some independent officer could come to the assistance of the Committee under such circumstances. The Committee has undoubtedly judicial functions in cases of this kind, and I think it is most important that every person interested should appear before the Committee and give information. The honourable Member for Bodmin says this is a small matter, because, it is only the exclusion of a school site; but, as the honourable Member behind me pointed out, it is a very important matter, because it concerns the taking of land. The site in question was originally put into the Bill by the School Board, and afterwards adopted by the Department, passed through the House of Lords, and then brought before the Unopposed Bill Committee. Upon whom does the responsibility for this matter rest? Most undoubtedly it rests upon the Department. The Department ought to have given notice to the School Board, so that the Board's solicitor might have been there to give any explanation or evidence that might be required. The solicitor was not called upon, because the Chairman at the time had no knowledge as to who should receive notice. The Vice-President of the Council of Education says, "We wished to strike this site out of the Bill, but we had not time to give notice to the School Board." But the first duty of the Department was to apply to the Chairman of Ways and Means of the Unopposed Bill Committee, and ask for an adjournment, explaining the reason of the request. The London School Board originally promoted this Bill. It was in substance the Board's Bill, and, therefore, to proceed in their absence, and without giving notice to them as the persons most interested, is trifling with Provisional Order procedure. I venture to submit to the House that this is a much more important matter than it seems at first sight, and I hope the effect of this discussion will be to prevent any public Department proceeding again without giving due notice to every person concerned.

* MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)

I rise in no spirit of hostility to the Government on this matter, but merely to point out that the whole system of procedure by Provisional Order has been brought into disrepute in connection with this matter. I would also remind the House that the Government introduced a Private Procedure Bill applying to Scotland. A Select Committee considered it and agreed——


Order, order! The honourable Member cannot discuss that subject in connection with the particular matter before the House.


I merely wished to say that the system of procedure by Provisional Order was recommended as a solution of Private Bill procedure, and is so important that I hope the Government will say something on the subject, and will not allow the whole system of Provisional Order to be brought into disrepute by what seems to be simply and solely the mismanagement of one Department.

MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Stafford, Lichfield)

There are two points to find fault with in connection with this question. The first is that, after this Bill was signed by the Chairman, it was altered. We should like to know from the Chairman of the Committee upon what principle that was done. It has always been understood that when once a Bill has been signed by the Chairman of the Committee it is done with, and no alteration can be made. Then there is the point why the Department did not make up their minds to have this alteration made sooner; and why, whether it was an important or an unimportant alteration, the Committee should alter the rules of the House and create a precedent by altering this Bill without notice? It is quite true that alterations have been made by the Department, as in the case of the Corporation of Coventry Bill, but there a fortnight's notice was given, and the alteration was made in the House, not outside. The noble Lord the Member for Greenwich seems to have thought that we accused him of some corrupt interview with the Chairman of Ways and Means. But we did not accuse him of having any corrupt interview; what we complained of is that this question was dealt with outside of the House without the cognisance of the House; we also complain of the position taken up by honourable Members regarding what they call unnecessary Board schools, because we consider that the School Board, which was elected for this purpose, knows better than the noble Lord and his friends what school boards are necessary. I hope that some answer will be given upon the two points

I have mentioned—why the Bill was altered after being signed by the Chairman, and why this precedent of altering by the Department without notice has been created.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 165; Noes 98.—(Division List No. 267.)

Aird, John Drage, Geoffrey McArthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. McKillop, James
Arnold, Alfred Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw. Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Milton, Viscount
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Monk, Charles James
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Firbank, Joseph Thomas Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Bagot, Captain J. FitzRoy Fisher, William Hayes Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)
Baird, John Geo. Alexander FitzWygram, General Sir F. Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Balcarres, Lord Flannery, Fortescue Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)
Balfour, Rt.Hon.A.J. (Manc'r) Fletcher, Sir Henry Murray, Col. W. (Bath)
Balfour, Rt.Hon.G.W. (Leeds) Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Nicholson, William Graham
Banbury, Frederick George Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans) O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Giles, Charles Tyrrell O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Gordon, Hon. John Edward Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Beach,Rt.Hn.SirM.H.(Brist'l) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon Philipps, John Wynford
Beach, W. W. B. (Hants) Goschen,RtHn.G.J.(St.G'rg's) Pierpoint, Robert
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Goulding, Edward Alfred Purvis, Robert
Bethell, Commander Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Gretton, John Renshaw, Charles Bine
Blundell, Colonel Henry Greville, Captain Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Halsey, Thomas Frederick Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.
Boulnois, Edmund Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Bousfield, William Robert Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W. Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn) Henderson, Alexander Rutherford, John
Brassey, Albert Hickman, Sir Alfred Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hill, Lord A. (Down, W.) Savory, Sir Joseph
Bullard, Sir Harry Hill, Sir Edw. Stock (Bristol) Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Butcher, John George Hornby, William Henry Sharpe, William Edward T.
Carlile, William Walter Houston, R. P. Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renf.)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward Howard, Joseph Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.)
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Howell, William Tudor Simeon, Sir Barrington
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Hozier, Hon. Jas. H. Cecil Smith, J. Parker (Lanarksh.)
Chaloner, Capt, R. G. W. Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J. (Birm.) Hudson, George Bickersteth Stanley, Lord (Lancs)
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r) Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. G. Stone, Sir Benjamin
Chaplin. Rt. Hon. Henry Johnston, William (Belfast) Strauss, Arthur
Charrington, Spencer Kenrick, William Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Clare, Octavius Leigh Kenyon, James Talbot,RtHn.J.G.(Oxf'dUny.)
Clarke, Sir Edw. (Plymouth) King, Sir Henry Seymour Tritton, Charles Ernest
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Knowles, Lees Verney, Hon. Richd. Greville
Coghill, Douglas Harry Lafone, Alfred Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Laurie, Lieut.-General Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Colomb, Sir John Charles R. Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool) Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)
Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford) Lawson, John Grant (Yorks) Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)
Cornwallis, F. Stanley W. Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lancs) Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Whiteley, George (Stockport)
Crilly, Daniel Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)
Curzon,RtHn.G.N.(Lanc,SW) Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Williams, Joseph P. (Birm.)
Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh Lowe, Francis William Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. S.
Dalkeith, Earl of Lowles, John Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lucas-Shadwell, William Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)
Macaleese, Daniel TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Doxford, William Theodore Maclure, Sir John William
Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Pirie, Duncan V.
Ambrose, Robert (Mayo, W.) Healy, T. M. (N. Louth) Price, Robert John
Asher, Alexander Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H. Randell, David
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. H. Holburn, J. G. Reid, Sir Robert T.
Atherley-Jones, L. Horniman, Frederick John Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Jameson, Major J. Eustace Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)
Barlow, John Emmott Joicey, Sir James Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Bayley, Thos. (Derbyshire) Jones, David B. (Swansea) Robson, William Snowdon
Birrell, Augustine Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Roche, Hon. Jas. (E. Kerry)
Blake, Edward Kearley, Hudson E. Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)
Brigg, John Labouchere, Henry Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Leuty, Thomas Richmond Souttar, Robinson
Caldwell, James Lloyd-George, David Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Cameron, Robert (Durham) Lough, Thomas Steadman, William Charles
Cawley, Frederick Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Clough, Walter Owen MacDonnell,Dr.M.A.(Qn's C.) Tanner, Charles Kearns
Colville, John MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, K.)
Cozens-Hardy, Herbert Hardy McEwan, William Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Crombie, John William M'Hugh, E. (Armagh, S.) Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Maddison, Fred. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Davitt, Michael Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Mellor, Rt. Hn. J. W. (Yorks) Wayman, Thomas
Dillon, John Mendl, Sigisimund Ferdinand Wedderburn, Sir William
Donelan, Captain A. Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Williams, John C. (Notts)
Doogan, P. C. Norton, Captain Cecil Wm. Wilson, H. J. (York, W.R.)
Dunn, Sir William O'Brien, J. F. X. (Cork) Wilson, John (Govan)
Evans, Sir F. H. (S'th'mpt'n) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Woodall, William
Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.) Woodhouse, Sir JT(Hudd'rsf'ld)
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Yoxall, James Henry
Goddard, Daniel Ford O'Kelly, James
Griffith, Ellis J. Oldroyd, Mark TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. William McArthur and Mr. Causton.
Haldane, Richard Burdon Perks, Robert William
Harcourt, Rt Hon. Sir Wm. Pickersgill, Edward Hare

On the question that the Bill be read a third time, Sir W. Harcourt rose to address the House.


I think the right honourable Gentleman has already spoken on the main question.


I spoke once on the Motion for the re-committal of the Bill, and once on the Motion for adjournment. What I was really going to ask is, whether it is the fact that we are going to be debarred from discussing this Bill after what has taken place, without any statement on the part of those who are responsible for the lead of the House? We have appealed over and over again for some statement as to the practice of this House in a matter of great importance, and we have had no answer on the part of the Government and those who are responsible in this matter. Sir, I do not see here the Chairman of Committees, otherwise I should have liked to ask the question as to what is the practice in respect to the alteration of Provisional Order Bills after they have been signed by the Chairman of Committees, without notice of the ground of any such alteration. That lies at the root of the whole matter; and it is a thing which the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Bodmin was either ignorant of or passed over. He fails to tell us how often, under his conduct, Provisional Order Bills have been altered in material particulars after they have been signed by the Chairman. If he introduced that practice into the House it is one I never heard of, and it is one which I know his predecessors and his successors have never adopted. If he is ignorant of the matter I am happy to enlighten him. I think it is a serious matter. I put it in this way: supposing the Provisional Order Bill is affecting a great landowner, and that great landowner has one of those ordinary conversations which the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich had with the Department in charge of the Bill, in consequence of which the interests of that landowner are consulted without any reference to the persons affected by that alteration. Is that the practice which was approved of by the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Bodmin?


My right honourable Friend has attributed to me that which I have expressly repudiated. I have said nothing of the kind—no such practice could be possible in my time, and there is no such practice now. What has been done is quite distinct from that.


Honourable Members will judge of the subtle distinction which the right honourable Gentleman has endeavoured to draw, but which no ordinary intellect can discover. What has been altered is a Bill which was substantially initiated by the School Board, which was adopted by the Education Department, which was passed in both Houses of Parliament up to the point of the signature of it by the Chair man of Committees, and, it is now admitted, on the private instigation of the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich——

* MR. SPEAKER (interposing)

I find I was right in what I said just now. The right honourable Gentleman did address the House on the previous question. He was followed by the right honourable Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean and by the Member for the Wick Burghs.


I am sorry, Sir, that my recollection was in error, and I apologise.


I am sorry, Sir, that I did not hear the remarks of the right honourable Gentleman; but I did, on a former occasion, give an explanation of the part I took in the matter. I acted as Chairman of the Unopposed Bill Committee in the ordinary way. No representations were made to me by the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich; he never spoke to me on the subject, neither did the honourable Member for North Camberwell, who, I believe, was interested in the matter. I struck plan 10 out of the schedule of the Bill at the request of the Department, as voiced by the right honourable Gentleman the Vice-President of the Council before the Bill was reported to the House——


After signature?


After signature, of course. I always sign a Bill before the schedule is taken, and this alteration was not made in the Bill itself, but in the schedule. But that is a technical point which I do not wish to lay any stress upon. It constantly happens that, although a Bill has gone through, I do not report it immediately to the House. In fact, to-day I reported a Bill to the House which I signed a week ago, on account of the parties not being ready. That is only another example of what occurred in this Provisional Order Bill. The alteration was made in due course, and at the suggestion of the Education Department, and of that Department alone, and the Amendment was reported in ordinary course. I heard the remarks which fell from the right honourable Gentleman my predecessor in office, and with the main part of them I entirely agree. There was one part of the remarks of my right honourable Friend with which I cannot agree, and that was when he spoke of having the parties before him and hearing evidence. I doubt whether my right honourable Friend ever did such a thing. I am sure I should decline to listen to anybody except the promoters of the Bill. I have no power to administer an oath. If any opposition is raised, the proper course is to send it upstairs, in order that evidence may be heard. There is a tribunal set up for hearing matters of that kind, and I have never heard of anyone in my position hearing evidence after swearing a witness and then coming to a decision. I would not take it upon myself, because I consider that any such course would be outside my duties, and I should respectfully decline to entertain it. I am compelled, in my belief, if the promoters of a Bill come before me and say, "We wish to strike out certain clauses," I am com- pelled to accept their statement and strike them out. I have no power to force that Bill to be gone on with. I a party comes before me and says, "I want the eighth clause struck out," I am compelled to do so. That is all that occurred in this case, and I need not go through the circumstances again.


Sir, the importance of this matter has not been diminished by the remarks of my right honourable Friend the Chairman of Committees. I wish to explain that if a matter was brought before me, as Chairman of the Unopposed Bill Committee, in which I thought that explanation or plans should be given, what I should have done would be to receive any explanation offered, which probably would enable me to deal

with the clause. With regard to the question of evidence, I quite agree with my right honourable Friend that it would be inconvenient to examine and cross-examine witnesses. The importance of the matter is this: if the Chairman of the Unopposed Bill Committee sees that it would be a matter that would require witnesses, then I think he ought to report it specially to the House, and send the matter to the Committee upstairs, so that all the persons interested might be heard.


The question is that this Bill be now read a third time.

The House divided:—Ayes 161; Noes 104.—(Division List No. 268.)

Aird, John Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H. Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. G.
Allhusen, A. H. E. Curzon,RtHn.G.N.(Lanc,SW) Jackson, Rt. Hon. W. L.
Arnold, Alfred Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Johnston, William (Belfast)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh Kenrick, William
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Dalkeith, Earl of Kenyon, James
Bagot, Capt. J. F. Dalrymple, Sir Charles King, Sir Henry Seymour
Baird, John George Ales. Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Knowles, Lees
Balcarres, Lord Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. D. Lafone, Alfred
Balfour,Rt.Hn.A.J. (Manch'r) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Laurie, Lieut.-General
Balfour, Rt.Hon.G.W. (Leeds) Doxford, William Theodore Lawrence,SirEDurning-(Corn.)
Banbury, Frederick George Drage, Geoffrey Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)
Barnes, Frederic Gorell Fellowes, Hon. A. Edward Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)
Bartley, George C. T. Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lancs)
Barton, Dunbar Plunket, Finlay, Sir R. Bannatyne Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Beach,Rt.Hn.SirM.H.(Brist'l) Firbank, Joseph Thomas Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Beach, W. W. B. (Hants) Fisher, William Hayes Loder, G. W. E.
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. FitzWygram, General Sir F. Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)
Bethell, Commander Flannery, Fortescue Lowe, Francis William
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Fletcher, Sir Henry Lowles, John
Bill, Charles Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Lucas-Shadwell, William
Blundell, Colonel Henry Giles, Charles Tyrrell Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith Gordon, Hon. John Edward Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Boulnois, Edmund Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E. Maclure, Sir John William
Bousfield, William Robert Goschen,Rt.Hn.G.J.(St.G'rg's) McArthur, C. (Liverpool)
Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn) Goulding, Edward Alfred McKillop, James
Brassey, Albert Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Milner, Sir Frederick George
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) Monk, Charles James
Bullard, Sir Harry Gretton, John Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Butcher, John George Greville, Captain Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)
Carlile, William Walter Halsey, Thomas Fdererick Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Murray, Col. W. (Bath)
Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J.(Birm.) Henderson, Alexander Newdigate, Francis Alexander
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hickman, Sir Alfred Nicholson, William Graham
Charrington, Spencer Hill, Lord A. (Down, W.) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Clare, Octavius Leigh Hill, Sir E. S. (Bristol) O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.
Clarke, Sir E. (Plymouth) Hornby, William Henry Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Houston, R. P. Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
Coghill, Douglas Harry Howard, Joseph Pierpoint, Robert
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Howell, William Tudor Purvis, Robert
Colomb, Sir J. C. R. Hozier, Hon. J. H. C. Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford) Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Renshaw, Charles Bine
Cornwallis, F. Stanley W. Hudson, George Bickersteth Richards, Henry Charles
Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W. Smith, J. P. (Lanark) Whiteley,H. (Ashton-under-L.)
Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T. Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Robertson, H. (Hackney) Stanley, Lord (Lancs) Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)
Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Strauss, Arthur Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Rutherford, John Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf'dUny.) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. S.
Ryder, John Herbert Dudley Tomlinson, W. E. Murray Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Savory, Sir Joseph Tritton, Charles Ernest Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard Vincent, Col. Sir C. H. Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Sharpe, William Edward T. Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Shaw-Stewart. M. H. (Renfrew) Webster, Sir R, E. (I. of W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Sidebottom, T. H. (Stalybr.) Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Simeon, Sir Barrington Whiteley, George (Stockport)
Abraham W. (Cork, N.E.) Griffith, Ellis J. Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Ambrose, Robert (Mayo, W.) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Pirie, Duncan V.
Asher, Alexander Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale- Price, Robert John
Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H. Healy, T. M. (N. Louth) Randell, David
Atherley-Jones, L. Hedderwick, Thomas C. H. Roberts, John B. (Eifion)
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Holburn, J. G. Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)
Balfour, Rt.Hn.J.B. (Clackm.) Horniman, Frederick John Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Barlow, John Emmott Joicey, Sir James Robson, William Snowdon
Birrell, Augustine Jones, D. B. (Swansea) Roche, Hon. J. (Kerry, E.)
Blake, Edward Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire) Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)
Brigg, John Kearley, Hudson E. Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Labouchere, Henry Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland) Souttar, Robinson
Burns, John Leuty, Thomas Richmond Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Caldwell, James Lloyd-George, David Steadman, William Charles
Cameron, Robert (Durham) Lough, Thomas Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Cawley, Frederick Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cecil, Lord H. (Greenwich) Macaleese, Daniel Tanner, Charles Kearns
Clark. Dr.G.B. (Caithness-sh.) MacDonnell, Dr.M.A. (Q'nsC.) Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)
Clough, Walter Owen MacNeill, John Gordon S. Thomas, A. Glamorgan, E.)
Colville, John McDermott, Patrick Verney, Hon. Richard G.
Cozens-Hardy, Herbert H. McEwan, William Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)
Crombie, John William McKenna, Reginald Walton, Joseph, (Barnsley)
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Maddison, Fred. Warner, Thomas C. T.
Dalziel, James Henry Mappin, Sir Frederick T. Wayman, Thomas
Davitt, Michael Mellor. Rt. Hon. J. (York) Wedderburn, Sir William
Dillon, John Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Williams, John C. (Notts)
Donelan, Captain A. Montagu, Sir S. Whitechap'l) Wilson, H. J. (Yorks, W.R.)
Doogan, P. C. Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wilson, John (Govan)
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Woodall, William
Dunn, Sir William O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal) Woodhouse, Sir JT(Hudd'rsf'ld)
Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton) O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.) Yoxall, James Henry
Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Oldroyd, Mark TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. William McArthur and Mr. Causton.
Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans) O'Malley, William
Goddard, Daniel Ford Perks, Robert William

Bill read a second time, and committed for Saturday.