§ *MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)
I have, Sir, an Instruction down upon the Paper to leave out various sections of this Bill, but I am given to understand that an agreement has been come to by all the parties, to continue consideration of the Instruction till a later date.
§ MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
There are various Instructions down by my honourable Friend the Member for Basingstoke and others dealing with various Bills which are all of the same character, and I can quite understand that it is necessary that one decision should be come to upon all the Bills, and that we should not have several discussions upon the same subject. These Bills were put down for to-day by agreement with the parties concerned, and we all understood that the Bills should be taken to-day. I am given to understand that the right honourable Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board is not prepared to take them to-day, and asks that they shall stand over for a fortnight in order that the Local Government Board may make some proposal with regard to these Instructions. The Local Government Board themselves say that they will not be ready to make these proposals until the 16th March. This is a very inconvenient course to adopt if the Bills were once put off for a fortnight. I am personally interested in No. 5, the Manchester Corporation Bill, and I would ask the right honourable Gentleman if he could not manage to take that Bill at some earlier date, say the end of next week, and if necessary I would move that instead of the Bills being put off till the 16th March they should be put off till the 10th.
§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
Before the right honourable Gentleman replies I should like to put a further question to him. I quite concur in the suggestion of my honourable Friend as to the postponement, because it is obvious that the considerations which arise upon these Instructions cannot be fairly dealt with until the House is in possession of the new Order to be issued by the Local Government Board, dealing with cowsheds and so on. I can quite understand that that Order will very likely alter the character of the discussion on these Instructions, and I will, therefore, ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he can state to the House at about what time the House will be in possession of this Order, and whether the Order will be intended to deal with all the rather complicated and wide ques- 1012 tions involved in this matter—whether it will regulate the special points arising from this application, of which the right honourable Gentleman is well aware, or whether the Order will cover the more general ground to the extent of the definition of the word "tuberculosis," which is included in the Act of 1878. My only object in asking this question is in order that the House may be in possession of information which will enable it to properly deal with the consideration of these Bills.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. CHAPLAIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
The point asked is as to the intention and objects of the Local Government Board with reference to this matter. What has happened, so far as I am concerned, is this. I have endeavoured, so far as I can, to collect the general feeling and opinions of the Members of this House who are interested in this Question, and I have endeavoured to ascertain what date would be for the general convenience of the discussion on these instructions, and I had formed the opinion, from a communication which was made to me, that the 16th March would be for the general convenience, and, subject to that, I expressed my entire willingness to adopt that date, so far as the Local Government Board is concerned. If my honourable Friend behind me still adheres to that date I shall be bound to support it. With regard to the suggestion of the honourable Gentleman, the Member for Northamptonshire I am afraid it will be impossible to give him a general description of the new Order, and of the proposed Regulations which will be drawn up. I may say this, that I hope, and believe, that they will very shortly be published. I cannot give the exact date without notice, but I am under the impression that they are at the printers at the present moment, and I have no doubt that if the discussion is put off until the date named—that is the 16th March—that they will be in the hands of honourable Members.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
They are 1013 very voluminous. There are over 100 authorities to be dealt with, and I doubt whether they will be ready much before.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
Will the right honourable Gentleman agree to that date being put off if they are not ready by that date?
THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD
It will be much more for the general convenience of the House if the date is adhered to.
§ *MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid.)
The House has already passed the Second Reading of the Bill to which this Instruction relates: and the Bill will have its precedence, in the usual way, for being taken in Committee. The mere presence on the Notice Paper of an Instruction to be Moved does not delay the consideration of the Bill by the Committee. If, therefore, a Member in charge of an Instruction asks it to be postponed for 14 days, or even for an indefinite period, the promoters of the Bill are not prejudiced by the delay. The Member in charge of the Instruction continues at his own peril, and will have himself to blame if the Bill should pass through Committee before the House has come to any Resolution on the Instruction.
MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
The honourable Gentleman who has just sat down has a very considerable knowledge with regard to private business, and he has opened up a new vista altogether. He has suggested that it is possible that this Bill may be hurried on before the Instruction can be considered by the House. I can scarcely think that the honourable Gentleman is serious in that proposition, but I should like the assurance that nothing of the kind will be done. I presume that there is absolutely no chance of anything of that sort being done, and if there is it seems to me that the House will have to take steps to prevent it. If that suggestion had emanated from any Member not fully acquainted with Private Bill procedure I should have taken no notice of it, but as the honourable Gentleman occupies such a prominent position as regards particular knowledge of Private Bill procedure, I should be very glad to have an assurance that the Bills 1014 will not be rushed through Committee as has been suggested.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
It will be, perhaps, some satisfaction to the right honourable Gentleman to know that I am informed by my Counsel, who is present, that any such course is practically impossible.
§ MR. J. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
I quite agree with the honourable Member below me in his desire that we should be in possession of the Order of the Local Government Board before we discuss these Bills, and I trust that the right honourable Gentleman will endeavour to let us have it before the date mentioned. I venture to suggest that it would be greatly for the convenience of the House that a definite date should be arrived at for the consideration of these Bills, and that they should not be put off from time to time. If the date mentioned—the 16th March—can be generally accepted, then I think that the Bills ought to be discussed on that date. These Bills, and the Instructions, involve a very serious question to the country, and the House ought to know exactly when the matter is coming on, and if a date is put down for their discussion then that date ought to be rigidly adhered to.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
I ask leave of the House to withdraw my Motion as to the alteration of the date. Might I say, however, that my whole intention was that the date should be a fixed one.