HC Deb 20 July 1899 vol 74 cc1386-8
MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, before the Third Reading of the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Bill is taken, he will, in view of the important alterations on the Report stage, have the Bill reprinted, and follow the precedent of 1897 in the case of the Workmen's Compensation Bill.


It has not been the practice to reprint a Bill before the Third Reading, although there have, I think, been precedents for doing so in the cases of the Home Rule Bill and the Workmen's Compensation Bill. I do not think it is desirable to depart from the usual course unless strong reason is shown or a demand is made for it by those who have a right to speak for the Opposition.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the Report Stage the Bill was considerably modified? Several new clauses were put in, and we really do not know exactly the proposals of the Bill.

Mr. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)

Do not the same printers reprint the Bill for the House of Lords? Could not the reprinting be expedited so as to enable it to be done before the Third Reading in this House? It would not cost much.


I did not base my answer on the question of expense, although the printing of 1,200 additional copies would involve some slight increase on the Estimates. I said I thought it would not be convenient to depart from the usual practice, and that it would be an innovation not desirable in the interests of public business. It is true a great many alterations were made in the Bill on the Report Stage, but I understand that the alterations affecting the principle and machinery of the Bill were made in Committee.


I do think that this case is somewhat exceptional, for the reason that on the Report Stage a long amendment, covering more than a page, was proposed by the Lord Advocate and accepted, and it really altered the fundamental constitution of the principle of the Bill.


Might not a different practice be applied in such a case as this, where the Report Stage was really the Committee Stage, and the Third Reading practically becomes a Second Reading?


I cannot express agreement with the strange version of Parliamentary procedure which my hon. friend has given in regard to this Bill, which was most thoroughly dealt with in the Committee Stage. As I promised in my reply to the question that if the Leader of the Opposition thought the matter of sufficient importance for him to intervene I would differentiate this case from ordinary cases, I will have the Bill printed, but I hope that that will not become a general practice.