HC Deb 13 March 1899 vol 68 cc553-73

Motion made, and Question proposed— That Government Business have precedence To-morrow, and that the provisions of Standing Order 56 be extended to that day's Sitting."—(The First lord of the Treasury.)

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)

I do not know that it is necessary I should remind the House in general of what took place last Friday, because probably most of the honourable Gentlemen whom I am now addressing were present on that occasion; but the honourable Member for Northampton, who is interested in the business to-morrow, appears not to have been here on Friday, and in the complete ignorance in which he was with regard to what took place on that occasion he has written a letter to the newspapers, which has been brought to my notice, in which he accuses the Government of not having been fair and straightforward in their management of the proceedings of the House, and in which he further states that it was owing to some error on my part that the business of the Army Estimates was not placed on the Paper for Friday.

*MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

In the letter I did not in the least attribute anything like want of straightforwardness with regard to not putting the notice on the Paper.

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY

The phrase I referred to was— I submit, not as a question of personal claim, or of the specific Motions on the Paper, but as a question of ordinary fair and straightforward procedure, that Mr. Balfour's proposal should be withdrawn. I do not think that is a very happy phrase. Let us hope it does not accurately represent the views of the hon- ourable Member who penned it. But with regard to the other statement—namely, that I was to blame for not putting the Votes on the Paper—had he been present, or made any inquiries of any Gentleman who was present, he would have known it was not an error made by me or by my honourable Friends, but an error made elsewhere, and by other persons.

*MR. CHANNING

Hear, hear!

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY

I am glad he assents; but that is directly contrary to what he states in his letter, as I understand it. What actually did take place on Friday was that objection was first taken by the right honourable Baronet the Member for he Forest of Dean. He stated, I think, that he and some honourable Gentlemen on this side had formed the conclusion, on receiving the Blue Papers on Friday morning, that these Estimates were not to be taken on Friday evening, and that the honourable Members, therefore, made arrangements which would prevent them from being here.

SIR C. DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

I made that statement on behalf of other Members of the House, not on my own.

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY

In answer to the right honourable Baronet, I said it made very little difference to the Government; that if the actual objection taken was held to be sufficient, we should be driven to the alternative course of taking Tuesday. The House had some few minutes to consider that alternative proposal, and the Debate went on for some time after I made that statement, and then the honourable and gallant Member for Aberdeen got up and pressed me very strongly, in the interest of himself and other persons interested, not to insist that the Army Estimates should be proceeded with. Under the circumstances, I felt driven to take the alternative course. I then informed the House I should be compelled to take it if we did not proceed with the Army Estimates. The House has a right to know why it is that, in the interest of Supply, it is necessary we should either have had last Friday or have to-morrow. The case as regards Supply before Easter stands thus: We have to get the First Reading of the Appropriation Bill not later than Tuesday the 21st, in order that we may take the Second Reading on Wednesday the 22nd, get through Committee on Thursday the 23rd, and take the Third Reading on Friday the 24th. That leaves us to-day, and to-morrow, and Thursday, Friday, and Monday to finish our work in Committee of the whole House. Of those days we propose that to-day, Thursday, and Friday should be devoted to the Navy Estimates, tomorrow to the Army Votes, and next Monday to the Vote on Account. I do not know that it is possible to narrow down the time I have allocated to these necessary Services to any smaller length than that which I have assigned to them. We are driven, in the interests of public business, to take to-morrow, and to devote Thursday, Friday, and Monday entirely to the work of Supply. I hope that justification of the policy of the Government will be deemed sufficient, and that, without further curtailment of time, the House will grant the privilege I now ask.

SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)

In the course of this Parliament we have witnessed some extraordinary demands made upon the House of Commons, but I cannot help thinking that this is one of the most unjustifiable that have ever been submitted to the House by a responsible Minister. I can assure the right honourable Gentleman that, so far as time is necessary to proceed with the requisite financial business of the current year, he will receive every assistance from every part of the House. I am not in a position to either acquiesce in or controvert the programme he has drawn up of the necessary manner of spending the time available for that purpose, but I demur altogether to the view he has communicated to the House of what occurred on Friday, and I would carry my glance a little bit further, and invite the House to consider the progress of business last week. If there is this great necessity to have so many days devoted to the voting of Supply before the Finance Bill is introduced, the necessity existed a week ago or more just as strongly as it does now. But I will deal first with the case of Friday last. The right honourable Gentleman speaks as if he were an aggrieved person because he was not allowed to pro- ceed with the discussion of the Army Estimates on Friday last. Whether it be his fault, or the fault of some person under him—

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY

Not under me.

SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN

Matters not to us, because, after all, whatever may have been said of the intentions of the Government as to business on a certain day, the latest word that Members receive, the latest information, and therefore the most accurate information, of the intentions of the Government for any particular day is usually contained in what is known as the Blue Paper, which is circulated in the morning. The right honourable Gentleman had said, no doubt, that it was intended to take the Army Estimates on Friday, but when an honourable Member received his Blue Paper, and did not find the Army Estimates down, he naturally concluded that the Government had changed their minds, and that for some reason known only to themselves they were postponing the consideration of the Army Estimates to another day. I have nothing but praise for the courtesy and consideration with which the right honourable Gentleman at once accepted the situation on Friday last. Whether it was his own, or some one's acting on his instructions, or whether it was the convenient printers, it was somebody's error, and for that somebody's error I am afraid the right honourable Gentleman must be held responsible.

HONOURABLE MEMBERS

. Oh, oh!

SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN

Surely he is responsible in the result—not in the intention. But I go further back than last Friday. With this great pressure of financial business before them, what were the Government doing on Monday and Thursday last? They occupied those days with a Bill which, so far from being urgent, was taken prematurely, was taken before the country had had an opportunity of considering it, and the right honourable Gentleman himself acknowledges that it was in a rather premature condition, because at the moment the Second Reading was taken he promised to allow a considerable interval to elapse before he asked the House to go into Committee on the Bill, on the very ground that it was not long since the Bill had been printed and was in the hands of those interested in it. Both of the days of last week which were devoted to the Food and Drugs Bill might have been devoted to that financial business, as to which there was urgent pressure of time: So that the right honourable Gentleman has nobody but himself to blame for the position in which he finds himself. Finding himself in that position, the right honourable Gentleman proposes to take Tuesday from my honourable Friend the Member for Northamptonshire. I know that on these occasions any honourable Member who has a Motion upon the Paper can always make out a very strong case, so far as that particular Motion is concerned, for extreme urgency, but it does not seem to me that in this case there is really a strong case, as was pointed out in the letter to which the right honourable Gentleman has referred. The honourable Gentleman the Member for Northampton is going to bring forward a Motion of the deepest interest to all those who are connected with or interested in the agricultural industries of the country; the question of tuberculosis. That Motion, if not absolutely necessary, is most desirable, in order to clear the air and point the way with regard to certain private Bills that have to be dealt with on Thursday next. That is the point. Certain private Bills of great importance, both to towns and the agricultural community throughout the country, are to be brought forward on Thursday, and with that view, it is, if not absolutely necessary, highly expedient that we should know the views of the Government upon the Question, and that opportunity will be forfeited by my honourable Friend if he is unable to bring on his Motion on Tuesday. But I base my opposition to the proposals of the right honourable Gentleman, not upon that, but on the facts previously deduced, which show that if the Government had exercised reasonable precaution and looked a little ahead some 10 days ago they would have absorbed the time at their command in such a manner as would have prevented there being any necessity for trespassing at this early period of the Session upon the time of the private Members of this House in a manner which makes it-ridiculous to set up the right of private Members to Tuesdays at all. I would not press the rights of private Members too far, but they are, after all, human beings, and the)' have certain rights which have been in the most coldblooded manner infringed. So far as we are concerned, the right honourable Gentleman may be sure, as I commenced by saying, so far as the financial business of the year is concerned, we shall give him every assistance, but we cannot be parties to proceeding in this way, which seems so much to trespass upon the time of the private Members.

*MR. CHANNING

The right honourable Gentleman the leader of the Oposi-tion has really said all that I might have wished to say upon this question. The right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, in dealing with this question, appeared to consider that the letter which I sent to the "Times" newspaper in some way reflected upon his honour and fairness in the conduct of the business of this House. I want to relieve him from any feeling of that kind which he may have in his mind. But what I do wish to insist upon is this: that throwing away four or five hours of Government time, which he was at perfect liberty to occupy by the ruling of the Chair, and then taking Tuesday for the Government business, does constitute a wholly novel and a very dangerous precedent in the taking away of the time of private Members. I think it is a very serious thing indeed to have a precedent of that kind introduced into the procedure of the House. The ruling of the Deputy Speaker was perfectly clear, and, as a matter of fact, there was a similar ruling given some years ago under the same circumstances. But the right honourable Gentleman, acting apparently out of the impulsive generosity of his heart, on the appeal of one or two Members on this side of the House, deliberately threw away four or five hours of the time of the House on Friday last which the Chairman told him were perfectly at his disposal. That is a fact that the right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition did not touch upon. I am always perfectly ready, and I think that private Members generally are ready, to make any sacrifice that may be necessary for the promotion of the genuine business of the House, in the stress of public affairs, or when there are great arrears of Votes which have to be cleared off. But that is not so here. The right honourable Gentleman has stated his case as to the position of Supply in such strong terms to-day that it seems to me absolutely inconceivable that he could not have seen the force of his own arguments on Friday, and instead of allowing the whole of this time on Friday to be wasted, that he should not have used it for the purpose of carrying a great number of Votes, as he might easily have done in the temper of the House that night. Now, with regard to the Motion which stands in my name for to-morrow, the essential point raised by that Motion —I should be out of order in attempting to-day to discuss the details—the essential point raised is to obtain some statement from the Government as to their general policy on a question of the most urgent interest to public health. It is of the utmost importance to the consumers of milk, and to the local authorities who represent their interests all over the country, as it is of the utmost importance to agriculturists to know whether the Government is going to deal with this question of tuberculosis on a uniform plan, with uniform machinery, and with compensation where necessary all over the country. The course adopted by the right honourable Gentleman is injurious to the interests of these great towns which are promoting Bills on this subject, one of which is Manchester, and another of which is Leeds. I think that the interests of these communities and these towns have been very greatly prejudiced by the action taken in this matter by the right honourable Gentleman. I think that he has given us no reason whatever, nor has he given us any precedent for deliberately throwing away four or five hours of the time of this House, which it was perfectly open to him to occupy, and then to calmly appropriate the time of the private Members. That is a practice which up to now has been utterly unknown to Parliamentary history. It is adopted now to the prejudice of the interests of agriculture, and to the loss of all those who are interested in the urgent Question which I proposed to bring forward to-morrow.

MR. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)

I think that the private Members of this House ought to second the gallant efforts which have been made on their behalf 'by the right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition by saying a word or two upon their own rights. This is an occasion upon which private Members are suffering through their not having committed any fault of their own. They are suffering, in the opinion of my honourable Friend opposite, by having the most convenient day for the discussion of an extremely important agricultural question, and at the same time an extremely important question with regard to public health, taken away from them without any compensation being offered to them. If it so happens that this discussion on tuberculosis cannot be proceeded with next Tuesday, the Government, I sincerely hope, will attempt to provide some other convenient opportunity for the discussion of that very important question. We know that after Easter the Government propose to take every Tuesday from the private Members, and therefore, if no effort is made by them, we shall have no opportunity at all of discussing what in my opinion is one of the most important questions of the day. Under those circumstances, it is surely not too much to hope that some time at least will be left to my honourable Friend opposite next Tuesday, if the Army Members of this House will confine their remarks within reasonable limits. Do I understand my right honourable Friend the First Lord of the Treasury to say that the only Government business for which he asks precedence, and the only business which he will place upon the Paper next Tuesday, is the remaining Army Votes?

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY

Only the Army Vote.

MR. HOBHOUSE

Very well: if that be so, then I think there is a reasonable chance of getting a discussion upon the question of tuberculosis after that business is concluded; but if that discussion does not take place, then I really do think the Government, in all fairness to the private Members of the House, should find some other opportunity for the discussion of this very important subject, and I hope that they will do their best to do so.

*SIR J. LUBBOCK (London University)

I am one of those who always support the private Members when the Government proposes to take away their time, but upon this occasion I cannot quite agree with my honourable Friend the Member for Northamptonshire. But I do feel that there is some force in the remarks made by the right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, that the Government might have taken these Votes at an earlier period of the Session. At the same time, we have now to consider the state of things in which we find ourselves to-day, and the days being so few before the period at which these Votes must be taken, I confess that it appears to me that my right honourable Friend the First Lord of the Treasury has made out an unanswerable case. Much as I regret his taking away the time of private Members I cannot but admit that upon this occasion a good case has certainly been made out. At the same time, it was the practice in other days that when the Government found themselves compelled by the nature of their business to take away a private Member's night they always felt they were under some obligation to him on that account, and they always gave him some other opportunity to bring his Question forward. I am very glad to hear from the right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the House that if there is any time on Tuesday night after taking the Army Votes that my honourable Friend opposite will be able to bring forward his Motion on the question of tuberculosis, and further, I would make an urgent appeal to the Government that, if it so happens that they occupy the whole of the time on Tuesday, that they will place my honourable Friend in the position he would otherwise have occupied by giving him another opportunity of bringing this matter forward.

MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)

I am very sorry to hear the right honourable Baronet the Member for the London University say that the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury has made out a good case for appropriating the time of the private Members of this House. Believe me when I say I will not follow the most pernicious example of the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord in wasting the time of the House, to which I only intend to address a very few words. And I am speaking really more in sorrow than in anger when I say that the right honourable Gentleman deliberately and wantonly wasted on Friday evening four or five hours of military time, and now desires to curtail the rights of the private Members to the time of the House to-morrow night. What is his excuse for acting in this manner? He simply relies on a printer's error, and he performs a miracle, a miracle which the right honourable Gentleman only is capable of preforming—that is, he converts a "printer's devil" into a Parliamentary Statement. No other honourable Member would ever dream of doing that. I really believe that a Motion of this kind is calculated to very much weaken all Parliamentary institution. This Parliament is old: it is the mother of all Parliaments, and is, I believe, 700 years old; then why does the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, who I have always understood loves all old institutions, and respects them, try to weaken one of the oldest institutions of this country. But in this particular case I have a personal' grievance against the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury. I, on Friday night, was prepared to speak at some length upon the Army Votes. and had prepared all my information, and. so to speak, got all my ammunition ready for the conflict. But what was my surprise when I found that the right honourable Gentleman, without any reason whatsoever, merely intimated that he would adjourn the Army Estimates and take the time on Tuesday for the discussion of them. I was prepared to do this; I was prepared to respect the rights of the honourable Gentlemen who had various motions for reduction down upon the Paper, and when I brought forward my own points —I knew from experience, having heard some of their speeches three times over —I was prepared, when I brought forward my points, to move the reductions and to say what the honourable Gentlemen would be likely to say. The Gentlemen who debate upon the Army Estimates may be divided into two classes. There is the military class, and there are the civilian experts. Now, in order to assist the Government in getting these Votes through, I was prepared, after my own speech was over, to make a speech upon the general details of the Votes, and then I was prepared to make what might be termed a military speech, which, embracing all the views of the military Members, would tend to shorten the "discussion, but, instead of giving us that opportunity, the right honourable Gentleman allowed his night to go by, and now has attached ours. On Friday ho sent us away early from this House to our own homes, where we were not expected, possibly to the great inconvenience of our families, and now proposes to appropriate our time. There is one other point which ought to be mentioned in this connection. Perhaps honourable Gentlemen may not have noticed it, but there is another Motion which is down to come on on Tuesday. After the subject of tuberculosis had been discussed, we were to discuss the position of the Eight Honourable Cecil Rhodes as a Privy Councillor. Is that to be burked in order to allow this Vote to be taken? I rather suspect that that is the true inwardness of the Government's desire to take Tuesday. I don't know whether that is so or not, but all I can say is that I cannot fail to have that impression. [Cries of "Divide, divide!"] Honourable Gentlemen on the other side of the House are crying out "Divide!" It is the only opportunity that many of them have of speaking, and it is the only speech that they can make or have ever made in this House. The right honourable Gentleman must recollect this—that this Moton gives- him no promise that the Army Estimates will be discussed shortly when they do come on.

SIR W. FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)

I should like, before this discussion comes to an end, to make some appeal to the generosity of the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury in reference to the time of private Members. The point which is to come under discussion on Tuesday is of the greatest interest to a very large section of the people outside this House, as well as to a large number of Members here, and the loss of an opportunity to discuss so serious a question, which conflicts with so many interests, is very greatly felt under these circumstances; and, as I think that we arc rather hardly treated in this matter, I would earnestly appeal to the right honourable Gentleman to try and make some way for this discussion to come on. I think if he limited the Government efforts on Tuesday to the carrying of Vote 1 of Army Estimates there would be no objection to that, and the rest of the day might then be devoted to a discussion on the very important subject of tuberculosis. Vote I would give him enough money to go on with for some months, and I think that the carrying of the Vote, and the discussion of it, might be concluded within the limits of a morning sitting on Tuesday. Under those circumstances, we might afterwards ventilate what is of the greatest interest to those interested in the public health, and, not only that, but that which is of the first importance to all those who have any regard for the agricultural interest of this country. I do hope that the right honourable Gentleman will take such a course as to do away with what seems to be ungenerous and hard lines meted out to the private Members of this House in preventing the discussion on so important a matter as that of tuberculosis.

MR. COURTNEY

The honourable Member for the Ilkeston Division has made one very practical suggestion, and I rise to make one of another character, though it leads to exactly the same result. The Leader of the House has promised to give such time as remains after the Army Estimates have been disposed of to the consideration of this question. He has stated that he will confine himself to the passing of the Army Votes on Tuesday, and after that the subject of tuberculosis can be discussed. Of course, if the discussion of the Army Estimates goes on it will be very doubtful whether there will be any time left for that purpose. My honourable Friend has just suggested that Vote 1 only should be taken, and that should be taken at a morning sitting. Now, if that is practicable, that will solve the difficulty. The right honourable Baronet the Member for the London University also has pointed out that he remembers the time when these matters were the subject of an arrange- ment between the Government and the J private Members, and that the Government gave compensation for whatever time they took. Now, I am going to suggest that the method of compensation should be adopted. I do not say anything about Tuesday. But what about Thursday the 23rd? The right honourable Gentleman proposes to bring in the Financial Appropriations Bill on Tuesday the 21st; to be read a second time on Wednesday the 22nd; and on Thursday the 23rd, it is to go into Committee. Now, the Committee stage, as we all know, cannot take any time, as no Amendments can be moved. Now, why should not the Government give Thursday the 23rd, after the Committee stage of the Financial Appropriations Bill is over to the discussion of tuberculosis? No doubt it might be taken in that manner. But it is possible that the London Bill will be taken on that night. I do not think it is probable, because there are so many honourable Members who are interested in it that J you could not get rid of it in one sitting: therefore I do not think that the right honourable Gentleman would make a very great sacrifice if on the 23rd, after the Committee stage of the Financial Appropriations Bill is disposed of, he gave up the rest of the time to the private Members of the House.

*SIR M. STEWART (Kirkcudbright)

Although this is a question that greatly affects the interest of agriculture, it is certainly a question which affects the interest of boroughs and towns quite as much as it does the country, and, upon that ground, I do earnestly press my right honourable Friend the First Lord of the Treasury to allow us to have some facility for bringing on this Motion to deal with the question of tuberculosis. It is so very important, in order that we might know what the Government are going to do in regard to the matter. If you are not going to have a Debate upon the question, it is likely to be very much misunderstood. I speak from great experience of the importance of this matter, and I do hope that some time will be given to us for this discussion. The right honourable Gentleman who has just sat down has talked with regard to a day which the Government might place at our disposal, but if the Government could see their way to-giving us a day before the Easter Recess, we should raise no difficulty in the discussion of the Army Estimates tomorrow.

MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)

So far as I can recollect, last Tuesday the First Lord of the Treasury made a statement as to the business that he intended to take on the following Friday: in the course of that statement he said that he proposed to take the Vote on the Army Estimates. And that was the Vote which we expected to take, but which we did not see upon the Blue Papers, and which, consequently was understood was not to be taken then. Now, I apprehend that the right honourable Gentleman has made some promise as to what he will take to-morrow. He has said that he will simply take the Army Estimates, and that, after the Army Estimates are disposed of, he will take nothing more. I think he might be induced to take only Vote 1 of the Army Estimates. I beg to move an Amendment— To omit the words 'Government Business,' in order to insert the words 'the proceedings on Army Estimates, Vote 1.'

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY

The honourable Gentleman opposite has enforced, in the form of an Amendment, the appeal that has been made to me on this occasion from oilier parts of the House. I cannot go the length which the honourable Gentleman desires me to go, but I should be prepared to go on with Vote I and the three non-effective Votes, and, if the House will give me those, I should be perfectly willing to put down no further Supply to-morrow. I do not think that I can accede to the appeal of my honourable Friend behind me with regard to Thursday week, because he has based his claim to further Government time upon some error which he supposes I have committed. But I do not admit that I have committed any error at all, and, therefore, I do not think it is possible for me to respond to his suggestion, on that ground, at all events. The honourable Member for Northampton, East, attacks me for not having accepted the ruling of Mr. Deputy Speaker, and insisting upon going on with Vote 1 on Friday last, but there he is in direct opposition with, his own Leader, who told the House that I could have done nothing less than yield, as I did yield, to the appeal made to me from the other side on Friday last. But surely, when the right honourable Gentleman himself says that I should have arranged the business of last Thursday and last Monday so as to have got Supply in such a condition that no claim could be made on Tuesday, the right honourable Gentleman has given me credit for a gift of prophecy which I assure him I do not possess. If I could have foreseen that there would be this mistake in the Blue Paper last Friday, I should have made all necessary arrangements for that particular contingency: but, as I could not foresee it, and as I did not foresee it, I did not make the necessary arrangements, and we are obliged, therefore, in order to get through the necessary business of the year, to ask private Members to make this sacrifice which we now ask. If they will consent to give us Vote 1, which is on the third day of the discussion of Army Estimates already, and the non-controversial Votes to which I have referred, I will undertake that there shall be no further Government business taken on Thursday.

SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN

I acknowledge the spirit in which the right, honourable Gentleman has spoken, but I wish to put in a little addition to that speech. If the Government obtains Vote 1 and the non-effective Votes, they obtain a very large sum of money; and, therefore, the further consideration in Committee of Supply of the Army Estimates may be put off to a very advanced tune in the Session. Now. if the right honourable Gentleman will agree that we shall have a good night—a good effective night—or two nights, not in the decaying days of the Session, to discuss the Army Estimates, at a more convenient time to the House then I think his offer might be accepted. If we were to take his offer without some such provision, we might be in the woful plight of having all the Army Estimates put off until the month of August. I feel sure, however, that that is not the intention of the right honourable Gentleman. This year the sum to be granted is especially large, and if the right honourable Gentleman would give us a full opportunity for the discussion of this money question I shall be ready to accept the offer he has made.

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY

The right honourable Gentleman knows, and probably has present in his mind, that any privileges which I grant in respect of the Army Votes must be necessarily carved out of the time at the disposal of the House to discuss the other Votes. Therefore, it would not be fair that in respect of those other Votes the House should dwell too long a time in discussing the Army Votes. If, however, the right honourable Gentleman will make an appeal to me with regard to any special Friday on which he would like the Army Estimates to be considered, that appeal will certainly be met by me.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

With reference to the question of the Army Votes being taken on Tuesday, I assume that it is the intention of those who are entering into this arrangement that it shall be taken at a reasonably early hour of the evening that will allow of some discussion. That, of course, depends upon the number of military speeches to which we shall be called upon to listen. There is a very important question connected with the Army which we desire to bring forward, and which may lead to a long discussion unless a favourable answer is received from the Under Secretary of State for War. I do not rise for the purpose of prolonging this discussion, and I only do so in order to say that we are no parties to this arrangement and we shall claim our right, to the best of our ability, to demand a fair hearing on Vote 1 in the Army Estimates, for I feel sure that upon that occasion both sides of the House will agree when they have heard what we have got to say—that the question is one demanding the attention of the House.

MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I understand that in this arrangement the right honourable Gentleman has not assumed that he may find it necessary to move the Closure at any particular hour of the night with regard to Vote 1 of the Army Estimates. For my part I am not anxious that the right honourable Gentleman should get his Votes for the Army at all, and I think the less he gets, and the longer the time it takes him to get them, the better it will be for the community. We do not enter into any bargain on this side of the House that we are going to arrest the flow of eloquence with regard to the Army. Under this arrangement the Leader of the House is really trying to get an advantage for himself out of the mistake of this unfortunate printer, and he hopes to be able to get these Votes in a, few hours instead of the ordinary time generally occupied on that Vote. I have simply risen to say that while it may be that the Vote will be taken at an hour at which tuberculosis can be brought in. we enter into no sort of pledge, after a certain hour of the night, not to move any Amendment.

MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE (Sussex. Horsham)

I do hope that the Government will be able to give us some definite suggestion as to when an opportunity will be given in which this subject of tuberculosis can be discussed. It is a very important question, and one upon which we desire to learn the opinion of the Leaders of the House. I think we ought to be grateful to the Government for giving the House an early opportunity of recognising and defining the position of the private Member. It seems to me that the private Member has become an

anachronism, and I think the sooner his Parliamentary impotence is recognised the better. Many of us come here to try and do the business of the nation, and we find that two-thirds of the time of the House is taken up by the Orders of the House with these cheap philanthropic discussions, or by those fireworks on Tuesday which result, as all fireworks do, in empty squib cases, and we arc kept here listening to this class of oratory. What I wish to ask the right honourable Gentleman is, whether he could not manage in the next Session of Parliament to arrange for the private Members one clear uninterrupted week for themselves in which to deal with Private Bill Legislation?

MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)

I should like to ask one Question, and that is. whether tomorrow will be counted as one of the days allotted to Supply under the Standing Order, and whether it will be a whole day?

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY

Yes.

Question put— That the words Government Business' stand part of the Question.

Agreed to.

Main Question put— That Government Business have precedence to-morrow, and that the provisions of Standing Order 5o be extended to that day's sitting."—(first Lord of the Treasury.)

The House divided—Ayes, 222; Noes. 118, (Division List No. 39.)

AYES.
Acland-Hood, Capt.Sir Alex.F. Hartley, George C. T. Butcher, John George
Aird, John Barton, Dunbar Plunket Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)
Allhusen,Augustus Henry Eden Beach,Rt.Hn.Sir M.H.(Bristol) Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)
Allsopp, Hon. George Beckett, Ernest William Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.
Arnold, Alfred Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull Chamberlain, J. Austen(Worc'r
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe Charrington, Spencer
Ascroft, Robert Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Bethell, Commander Coddington, Sir William
Atkinson, Rt Hon. John Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Coghill, Douglas Harry
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Biddulph, Michael Cohen, Benjamin Louis
Bailey, James (Walworth) Bill, Charles Collings, Rt. Hn. Jesse
Baillie, James E. B. (Inverness) Blundell, Colonel Henry Coomb. Sir John Chas. Ready
Baird, John George Alexander Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole
Baldwin. Alfred Boseawen. Arthur Griffith- Compton, Lord Alwyne
Balfour. Rt. Hn. A.J.(Manc'r Boulnois, Edmund Cooke, C.W.Radcliffe (Herefd)
Balfour. RtHnGerald W.(Leeds Bowles, T.Gibson(King's Lynn) Corbett, A Cameron (Glasgow)
Banbury, Frederick George Brodrick. Rt. Hn. St. John Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.
Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor) Brown, Alexander H. Courtney. Rt. Hn. Leonard H.
Cranborne, Viscount Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Pilkington, Richard
Cripps, Charles Alfred Hutchinson, Capt.G.W.Grice- Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Hutton, John (Yorks., N.R.) Purvis, Robert
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawies Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Currie, Sir Donald Jeffreys, Arthur Fredeirck Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas.Thomson
Curzon, Viscount Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Dalkeith, Earl of Johnston, William (Belfast) Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Round, James
Davenport, W. Bromley- Jolliffe, Hon. H. George Royds, Clement Molyneux
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Kemp, George Russell, Gen. F.S.(Cheltenham)
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon Kenyon, James Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Dorington, Sir John Edward Keswick, William Ryder, John Herbert Dudley
Doughty, George Kimber, Henry Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- King, Sir Henry Seymour Seton-Karr, Henry
Doxford, William Theodore Knowles, Lees Sharpe, William Edward T.
Drucker, A. Lafone, Alfred Simeon, Sir Barrington
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Lawrence, Sir E. Durning(Cor)T Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lawrence, Wm. F. (L'pool.) Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)
Elliot, Hn. A. Ralph Douglas Lecky, Rt. Hn. Wm. Edw. H. Spencer, Ernest
Fardell, Sir T. George Leignton, Stanley Stanley, Hn.Arthur (Ormskirk
Fcrgusson,Rt,Hn.Sir J.(Manc'r Llewellyn, Evan H.(Somerset) Stanley, Edwd. Jas (Somerset
Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)
Finch, George H. Long, Col. Chas. W.(Evesham) Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (L'pool) Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart
Firbank, Joseph Thomas Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Fisher, William Hayes Lome, Marquess of Stone, Sir Benjamin
Fison, Frederick William Loyd, Archie Kirkman Strauss, Arthur
Folkestone, Viscount Lubbock,Rt. Hon. Sir John Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Forster, Henry William Macartney, W. G. Ellison Start, Hon. Humphry Napier
Foster, Colonel (Lancaster) Macdona. John Gumming Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Garfit, William Maclean, James Mackenzie Talbot,RtHn J.G.(Oxf'd Univ.
Gedge, Sydney Maclure, Sir John William Thorburn, Walter
Giles, Charles Tyrrell McCalmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.) Thornton, Percy M.
Gilliat, John Saunders Maple, Sir John Blundell Tollemache, Henry James
Goldsworthy, Major-General Marks, Henry Hananel Tritton, Charles Ernest
Gordon, Hon. John Edward Martin, Richard Biddulph Usborne, Thomas
Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Massev-Mainwaring,Hn. W. F. Valentia, Viscount
Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Maxwell,Rt.Hn Sir Herbert E. Ward, Hn. Robt, A. (Crewe)
Graham, Henry Robert Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Warr, Augustus Frederick
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Middlemore, John Throgmorton Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)
Green, Walford D. (Wednesbury) Milbank.SirPowlett Chas. John Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)
Greville, Hon. Ronald Monk, Charles James Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Gull, Sir Cameron More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.) Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-
Halsey, Thomas Frederick Morrell, George Herbert Whiteley, George (Stockport)
Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptfd) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm. Mount, William George Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)
Hardy, Laurence Muntz, Philip A. Wodehouse, Rt.Hn.E.R,(Bath
Hare, Thomas Leigh Murray.Rt.HnA.Graham(Bute) Wylie, Alexander
Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Wyndham, George
Heath, James Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Wyndham-Quin. Major W. H.
Heaton, John Henniker Myers, William Henry Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Helder, Augustus Nicholson, William Graham Young,. Commander (Berks, E.
Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter Nicol, Donald Ninian
Holland, Hn. Lionel R. (Bow) Northcote, Hn. Sir H. Stafford TELLERS FOR THE AYES▀×
Hornby, Sir William Henry Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Sir William Walrond and
Houston, R. P. Pease, Herbert Pike (Drlngtn.) Mr. Anstruther
Howard, Joseph Penn, John
Hozier,Hn. James Henry Cecil Phillpotts, Captain Arthur
NOES.
Abraham, William (Cork.N.E. Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan)
Allan, William (Gateshead) Burt, Thomas Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles
Allison, Robert Andrew Caldwell, James Dillon, John
Ambrose, Robert (Mayo,W.) Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow) Donelan, Captain A.
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herb. Henry Cameron, Robert (Durham) Douglas, Chas. M. (Lanark)
Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire) Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Duckworth, James
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Causton, Richard Knight Dunn, Sir William
Baker, Sir John Channing, Francis Allston Ellis, John Edward (Notts.)
Barlow, John Emmott Crilly, Daniel Ellis,Thos.Edw. (Merionethsh.
Billson, Alfred Crombie, John William Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton.
Birrell, Augustine Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Farquharson, Dr. Robert
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Dalziel, James Henry Fenwick, Charles
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall) Souttar, Robinson
Foster,Sir Walter(Derby Co.) M'Ewan, William Spicer, Albert
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John M'Kenna, Reginald Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Goddard, Daniel Ford Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Steadman, William Charles
Gold, Charles Molloy,'Bernard Charles Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Gourley,Sir Edward Temperley Montagu, Sir S.(Whitechapel) Tanner, Charles Kearns
Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick) Moore, Arthur (Londonderry) Tennant, Harold John
Haldane, Richard Burdon Morgan, W. Pritchard(Merthyr Thomas, David Alfd.(Merthyr)
Harwood, George Moulton, John Fletcher Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Hayne, Rt. Hn. Chas. Seale- Nussey, Thomas Wilians Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)
Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth) O'Brien, James F. N. (Cork) Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Walton, John Lawson (Leeds,S.
Hobhouse, Henry O'Connor, James (Wicklow,W.) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Holland, Wm. H. (York.W.R. Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham Wedderburn, Sir William
Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Paulton, James Mellor Weir, James Galloway
Jacoby, James Alfred Perks, Robert William Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Pickersgill, Edward Hare Williams, John Carvell (Notts.
Kay-Shuttleworth,RtHnSir U Pirie, Duncan V. Wills, Sir William Henry
Kearley, Hudson E. Power, Patrick Joseph Wilson, Henry J.(Yorks,W.R.
Kilbride, Denis Provand, Andrew Dryburgh Wilson, John (Gevan)
Kinloch,Sir Jno.Geo. Smythe Reid, Sir Robert Threshie Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbro')
Lawson,SirWilfrid(Cum'land) Rickett, J. Compton Woods, Samuel
Leese, Sir Jos. F.(Accrington) Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Yoxall, James Henry
Leng, Sir John Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Lewis, John Herbert Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) TELLERS FOR THE NOES-
Lloyd-George, David Robson, William Snowdon Mr. Labouchere and Mr
Lough, Thomas Schwann, Charles E. Warner.
Macaleese. Daniel Sinclair. Capt. John (Forfarsh.

Ordered, That Government Business have precedence To-morrow, and that the provisions of Standing Order 56 be extended to that day's Sitting.