HC Deb 18 June 1900 vol 84 cc299-333

I now rise to move the resolution which stands in my name. I think it will, broadly speaking, fit in with the wishes of the House, and I am certain that it will fit in with its convenience. It is in accordance with precedent that it should be moved by me about this time; in fact, I think it has very frequently been moved before this date. I am aware that the motion will have the effect of depriving certain hon. Members of the opportunity they have obtained of discussing questions which interest them, and, possibly, other people also. That is an inevitable misfortune, but I think it is only due to the Government to say that, as far as I am aware, not a single Tuesday has been taken in the course of this session for advancing the ordinary Government programme of legislation. Tuesdays have been taken for the financial business of the year, but not for the purpose of advancing any single Bill which the Government have upon the Order Paper. In these circumstances, now that we have reached this stage of the session, I think it not unreasonable that the Government should ask the House to give further facilities for proceeding with their general programme. As this is not the time to make a statement with regard to any possible diminution of the size of that programme, I will content myself by moving the resolution of which I have given notice.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That for the remainder of the session Government business do have precedence on Tuesday and Wednesday (except on Wednesdays the 20th and 27th of June), and that the provisions of Standing Order No. 56 be extended to all the days of the week."—(Mr. A. Balfour.)


I do not imagine that there will be much disposition to find fault with a motion of this kind being made at this period of the session, but I am very much surprised to find it unaccompanied by any statement whatever with regard to the prospects of legislation for the rest of the session. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes for a precedent, I would remind him that last year when he made a similar motion he announced what Bills would be proceeded with, and on previous occasions, when such a motion has been made, that explanation has always taken place. I may speak quite frankly. There are certain Bills as to the future fate of which there is considerable doubt in everyone's mind—no doubt as to how the House will regard them, but doubt as to the serious intentions of the Government to proceed with them. I should have thought that this was the very occasion on which the House might expect and, in fact, is entitled to have some information with regard to the fate of those Bills. I do not know when the right hon. Gentleman proposes that there should be a statement made which will enable the House to discuss this part of the Government's proceedings, and I think that most Members will share my astonishment at the course the right hon. Gentleman has taken. As to whether the Government should now take the whole time of the House with certain exceptions, there is, I think, little to be said on that point. I think the right hon. Gentleman stretched his demand upon the assent of the House a little too far when he said the Government had not previously in the session taken Tuesdays for legislative business. He admitted that they had taken them for financial purposes, and I would point out that in so doing they freed other Government days for legislative work, and the effect upon the rights of private Members was exactly the same as if the Tuesdays had been used to advance Government Bills. Now, I have an appeal to make to the right hon. Gentleman. He proposes to give us two Wednesdays for the further discussion of certain more fortunate Private Members' Bills. In the past, three Wednesdays have usually been set apart for that purpose, and I do not; know why he is so niggardly with his allowance on the present occasion. I think, after looking into the matter, that it requires a little more consideration than seems to have been given to it. We have now an experience extending over a year or two of this proposal, and I can only say that it has worked in a hap-hazard way. I do not know what is the rule as to the seniority of a Bill. A Bill may be read a second time unanimously, and it may have entered on the Committee stage, but another Bill, referred to a Standing Committee, may take precedence of it. That is an irregular form of arrangement which I think hardly carries out the intention of the rules of the House. There is a Bill for prohibiting the sale of drink to children under sixteen years of age. This is a Bill which has created an immense amount of feeling throughout the country. I am —as no doubt is the right hon. Gentleman—in receipt of communications from all quarters with regard to this Bill. The representations have come tome not from those interested in party questions, not from fanatics, not from those having strong opinions on the licensing question, but from churches, Sunday schools, and other recognised institutions in their thousands, showing that there is an immense amount of feeling on both sides quite apart from party division. One memorial signed by some thousands of Sunday-school teachers and managers has come from Liverpool. The Bill received the unanimous assent of the House. ["No, no!"] Well, there was no division on it. But now it is in the third place, not in the first, because it was not referred, at the request of the Home Secretary, to the Standing Committee. I believe that if my hon. friend had resisted the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman the feeling of the House was such that his motion would have been carried and the Bill would have retained its precedence. Other Bills I could mention have met a similar unfortunate fate. I object to this happy-go-lucky system and its effect on the Bills before the House. The feeling in the country is very strong on this question, and I make an appeal to the Government to give some special opportunity for the further progress of this Bill. My object in rising was to point out that the rule works unequally, unfairly, and deserves the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, who has done so much, while Leader of the House, to increase the efficiency of our manner of conducting business.

*MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)

I will not follow the right hon. Gentleman in the ex parte statement he has made on behalf of a Bill set down for consideration on a future day. But I must enter my protest against the statement that the Bill was unanimously accepted by the House. What occurred was that it came on unexpectedly in the absence of most of the opponents of the Bill, and so far from being unopposed the right hon. Gentleman must be well aware that it will be strongly resisted in its future stages in this House, and I must say that it would have been more candid if he had recognised these facts in his references to the subject. But without following the right hon. Gentleman into the somewhat irregular channel into which he has attempted to draw the House I should like to put before my right hon. friend reasons why he certainly should not give more Wednesdays up for the purpose suggested by the right hon. Gentleman If he requires time he should take it impartially from Members who are interested in motions and from those who are interested in Bills. In regard to the present motion we are asked to give up for the rest of the session any power we possess of raising any question, be it important, urgent, or otherwise, in this House. I shall be told perhaps that Standing Order No. 17 makes provision for raising questions of urgency. My reply is that, for reasons with which the House is familiar, that has ceased to be the safeguard which it was intended by its promoters to be. I will not, however, go into this question in detail. I notice that my right hon. friend approaches this subject of Motions for Adjournment on matters of urgency in a somewhat changeful mood in fact, his attitude is somewhat suggestive of that which dominated Pharaoh during the intervals between the Egyptian plagues. At times he is very sympathetic, but at other periods, when the immediate peril has subsided, he relapses into hardness of heart. I could go on to remind my right hon. friend of other examples, but perhaps I had better not do so, lest I give rise to misapprehension. I would refer however, to an allegorical personage— and I do not suggest for one moment that my right hon. friend reminds me of that personage in either shape or form, for on the contrary I regard him its the embodiment of his absolute antithesis — hence I may allude to the allegorical personage who, when sick, was alleged to have formed resolves in the direction of becoming a monk, or, as some versions have it, a saint, but whose aspirations towards canonisation, and yearnings for the cloister, evaporated on convalescence. At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman will admit that, by the interpretation which has been put upon our procedure, we may be precluded by a Member absent in South Africa, or even by a Member here, from raising any of those important questions which it was intended we should be enabled to raise under the Standing Order I have referred to. I do not wish, however, to offer any objection to the taking of private Members' time for the banâ fide purpose of winding up the session, which, I take it, is the real object of the right hon. Gentleman's motion, but I do wish to point out that he is placing us in an unprecedented position with regard to our powers of raising questions of urgency, and I certainly hope he will give this matter consideration at the earliest opportunity.


We are called upon to-day to sacrifice a large number of Private Members' Bills to which there is practically no opposition at all, and we are called upon to do this without knowing what is to be the probable fate of at least four Government Bills that are likely to take a great deal of time, and which will in all probability be dropped. We are, therefore, asked to decide this question in the dark. We cannot possibly say whether two or three Wednesdays will or will not be required for Private Members' Bills until we compare the Government Bills which are likely to be dropped, and the Private Members' Bills which will be killed if this motion is carried. This matter is one of some importance on account of its bearing on the procedure of the Standing Committees of this House. The Standing Committees this year have been very hard-worked indeed; they have had, and still have a larger number of Bills under their consideration than has ever been the case before. A consider- able number of those Bills are measures to which there is either little or no opposition at all, so far as one can judge by the Second Reading debates and the discussions before the Standing Committees themselves. The Government Bills to which I have especially referred are four in number. I do not speak of Scotch or Irish Bills with which I am not acquainted, but speaking of English Bills there are four which, from what we have heard and seen for ourselves, seem likely to be dropped. It is probable the Companies Bill will be dropped. If the Government had intended to persevere with that useful measure, in which so great a number of Members are interested, I imagine they would have made some progress with it before this time. The fact that it has been put in a fair position among the Orders of the Day on almost every Monday, but never in a very high position, loads those of us who have some experience of these matters to think it is not intended by the Government to pass that Bill this session. There is also the Factory and Workshops Bill, which has occupied a position just below the Companies Bill all through the session, and with which also there has been no serious attempt to go forward. Then there is the Money-lending Bill, which was the subject of inquiry recently, and there is another Bill, also of importance, and one which is rather actively opposed— namely, the Dogs Regulation Bill. I imagine there are few Members under the impression that the Government will pass these Bills through the House, and yet the fact that they will not tell us what they mean to do in regard to any of them keeps us in the dark in this debate. On the other hand, the Private Members' Bills of this year are very numerous and important—I mean not the ordinary Private Members' Bills which are brought in every year, but Bills which have either passed through or are still before the Standing Committee or have been read a second time unanimously or by overwhelming majorities. I may add one other Bill, in which, throughout the Empire, great interest is taken, and which stands in a position somewhat similar to those I have mentioned—a Bill which is passing not through this House, but through the House of Lords: I mean the Colonial Marriages Bill. This is a measure which has in its favour an overwhelming majority in both Houses of Parliament, but to which, if this motion is carried, we shall not be able to afford any time. But, putting aside the Colonial Marriages Bill, there are a singularly large number of Bills this year which, although in the hands of private Members, have passed through, or are before a Standing Committee. If this motion is carried, in what an extraordinary position the two Standing Committees will remain during the rest of the session! They will have Bills coming before them on four days a week, and Members will be asked to attend at great inconvenience, to make great sacrifices, to give up all other engagements, and to sit in this House for twelve hours a day with the certainty that their work will be entirely useless, knowing that those Bills with which they are called upon to deal, if a single Member opposes them, will have no chance whatever of passing into law. There is the Workmen's Compensation Bill which has passed through Standing Committee, and it stands first for next Wednesday. There can be no doubt that that Bill will pass. It passed its Second Reading unanimously, and it passed through Standing Committee after a great deal of discussion, but without any opposition. Though very short, it is an extremely complicated and difficult Bill, which undoubtedly deserves and will receive careful consideration at the hands of the House. There is every probability that on Report next Wednesday, and on Third Reading the Wednesday after, the measure will occupy the whole of the sitting. That, therefore, is the one Bill to which this proposal gives a chance, all other Bills, as it appears to me, having no chance whatever if this motion is carried. Among the other Bills there is the Merchant Shipping Bill, in the hands of hon. Members opposite, which has passed its Second Reading and the Standing Committee, and in which a great number of shipping Members are interested. There is the Borough Funds Bill, a Bill of the utmost importance, in regard to which there is a general agreement, and which, on pledges being given that certain modifications should be made in Committee, passed its Second Reading without opposition. Those modifications were made, and the Bill passed very rapidly through Standing Committee, but still, if a single Member of this House opposes that Bill after this motion is carried, it will be lost. I say a single Member of this House, because it is unfortunately the fact—and a fact which I think is a scandal in relation to the performances of this House—that during the last four or five years, if two Members have actively opposed any Private Member's Bill, that Bill has not been carried. I believe that during the last two or three years no Private Member's Bill has been carried which was actively opposed at all its stages by even a single Member. The Bill of last year as to children under thirteen years of age, although very actively opposed on the Second Reading and Committee stages, was not really opposed on Report or Third Reading. In addition to the Bills to which I have referred, there is a Scotch Bill coming before the Standing Committee—namely, the Town Councils (Scotland) Bill, a very important Bill, and one which will, no doubt, pass through the Standing Committee, but with the certainty that if one Member actively opposes the Bill all the labours of the Standing Committee with regard to it will be lost. Then there is the County and Borough Franchise (London) Bill, a Bill to which a great number of Members attach very high importance. That Bill is down to come before the Standing Committee. There is a general agreement as to what it should contain, but it is a Bill of a kind which is almost certain after it has passed through the Standing Committee to meet with opposition from one or two Members of this House if it is known that such opposition is sufficient to kill the Bill. That is a case of a Bill which, although supported by an overwhelming majority of the Members of this House, will undoubtedly be killed if this motion is carried. Then there is the Sunday Closing (Wales) Bill, which also has still to go before the Standing Committee, and which also no doubt will be killed by this proposal. I venture to suggest that there never has been an occasion when the issue presented to the House by this seemingly unimportant motion was more important on its bearing on the forms of the House than on this occasion. There has never been an occasion when the practical difference in modern times between what was meant by the resolution as to business after Whitsuntide and the actual fact was more startling than it is to-day. The Leader of the Opposition referred to the manner in which Bills are grouped after Whitsuntide. That proposal was one carried by Sir Stafford Northcote's Committee, by which, on Wednesdays after Whitsuntide, Bills were placed in order according to the amount of progress they had made. When that proposal was carried the idea was that it should apply to the remaining Wednesdays of the session until we reached August, and that was the practice of the House. But when the operation of the Standing Order is narrowed to two Wednesdays only it becomes ridiculous, and as every Member of the House knows, it stands now in a ludicrous position. We should not be in order on this or any similar occasion when we are discussing a motion to take time— although our minds cannot be free from the consideration of the matter— in dealing with proposals to change the forms of the House. I am one of those who think the House, or large bodies of Members of the House, should have the power of deciding on the order in which Bills should be presented to the House. We should not, however, be in order in discussing that or any such proposal on this occasion, but the scandal of the present system—the certainty that all these Bills, upon which so much labour has been bestowed, which have occupied and still will occupy the attention of the Standing Committees (if under these circumstances quorums can be obtained to consider the Bills) will be sacrificed by this resolution for a Government programme which is not announced to us—seems to me to be greater on this occasion than ever at any time before.

MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)

.I think many Members share the feeling of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean, as to the novelty of the position taken up by my right hon. friend the Leader of the House on this occasion. On all former occasions, as far as I can remember, when it was proposed to absorb additional time after Whitsuntide, it has been recognised that something was being taken from private Members, and the Leader of the House has given assurances that the time so taken should be spent on certain definite objects. It was a kind of "give and take" arrangement, from which I think my right hon. friend has on this occasion for the first time departed. It is a rather remarkable and, I think, unfortunate circumstance. It is especially unfortunate in view of the fact, put before us by the right hon. Gentle-man the Member for the Forest of Dean, that a large part of the Government programme will probably not be persevered with. There is no serious suggestion that some of the Bills will be carried into law, while, on the other hand, there are a great number of Private Members' Bills, in some of which the Government themselves have a kind of interest, which will be entirely destroyed or shorn of all chance of success by the proposal now before us. For example, there is the Bill which was made the subject of question and answer to-day—a Bill which, was brought in under the charge of private Members but which, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, was instigated by the Government themselves. That Bill may or may not command the assent of the House, but it is a measure which ought to be allowed to come under consideration. My object in rising to-day, however, is not merely to repeat what has been said so admirably by the right hon. Gentleman, but to point out that there is really no reason this year for the restriction of the exceptional Wednesdays to the first two after Whitsuntide. When the rule was first adopted giving after Whitsuntide precedence to Bills in the order of the amount of progress they had made, the right of private Members to Wednesdays was not interfered with until the end of July. We used to have all the Wednesdays after Whitsuntide to the end of July, and the Orders were absorbed for Government business. That is quite defensible when there is a large amount of public business in which we are all interested impeded in its progress. But that does not apply this year, and we are not justified in adopting the new plan of restricting the Wednesdays allowed to private Members to the two mentioned in the resolution, when the motive for the restriction is not present. Besides the Bills which have been proceeded with in this House, there is one which has commanded a majority in another place, and which would be sure to pass this House, as we have not even a Bench of Bishops to give a majority in opposition to it—I mean the Bill with respect to colonial marriages. That Bill will be shut out altogether in the event of this resolution being adopted. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the fact that it will be within the power of any one; Member to prevent further progress being made with any of these Bills. But as soon as the Government absorb every evening and every afternoon, pressure is naturally and rightly put on the Government to adopt the further rule of moving the adjournment of the House as soon as Government business is disposed of. On these grounds I think there is a very strong case for reconsidering the proposition made by my right hon. friend. I think the House would be well advised in excluding altogether Wednesday from the purview of the resolution before the House. I do press very strongly upon the right hon. Gentleman that Wednesday should be excluded altogether from this motion.


I think the House has some ground to complain that the right hon. Gentleman has not given any reason except a purely formal one for the motion which he asks the House to accept. He has asked permission to take Wednesday up to the end of the session without telling the House what he proposes to do with the Wednesdays which will be absorbed. Hitherto a proposition of this kind has never been made only upon the ground that there was a mass of Government business to be got through, but on this occasion the right hon. Gentleman has not followed even his own precedent. On the 19th of June last year* the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House made a similar proposal, and moved a resolution in the same words, and in his speech in support of the motion he said— I do not propose to give an exact programme of what we hope to pass, because that would be impossible; nor has anyone in my position, at this period of the session, ever attempted such a task. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to read a list of the various measures before the House, the various stages they had reached, and what he thought would happen to them. What is still more important, the right hon. Gentleman gave the House a pledge with reference to the introduction of any future measures to the effect that no Bills of a controversial character would be introduced. The right hon. Gentleman said— I do not, of course, say that all these measures will, as a matter of fact, pass into * See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxii, page 1502. law before we separate, but I hope very substantial progress will be made with the list which I have just read to the House. What the right hon. Gentleman did then was to give the House an idea of what was passing in the mind of the Government, so that the House was put in possession of what the Government proposed to do in, regard to the business for the rest of the session. I agree with what has been said, by my right hon. friend as to the very important Private Members' Bills which have not yet been disposed of, and about which there can be very little doubt that, they will not be disposed of this session. But at any rate we have a right to know what the Government intend to do with their own Bills, what they intend to proceed with, and what they do not intend to proceed with. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean has alluded to two Bills which the right hon. Gentleman referred to in his speech last year. For example, there is the Money-lending Bill. I think the House has a right to know whether the Government are in earnest about that Bill or not. There is another Bill which has not been mentioned, with reference to which I must say that if it is not proceeded with it will amount almost to a public scandal—I refer to the Companies Bill. That is a serious scandal in commercial life which ought to be dealt with at once. It is not in an incomplete state. That measure has been under the consideration of the House of Lords and the Judges and others for three or four years, and they have sent the Bill down to this House. I do not mean to say that the measure is perfect, but upon many points connected with it there is a general assent among the commercial and legal public. If the Government would put their foot down they can carry that Bill through the House during the remainder of this session. [Mr. GIBSON BOWLES dissented.] My hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn shakes his head, but I think even his opposition might be overcome by a strong Government. Then there is the Factories Bill, and there is also another measure which I think ought not to be put on one side this session under the peculiar circumstances of the case—I mean the Colonial Marriages Bill. That is a Bill which the Imperial Parliament, ought to deal with. It has ben passed by an enormous majority this session on the Second Reading in the House of Lords, and it is a Bill upon which there can be no shadow of a doubt that there is an enormous majority in this House in favour of it. I think also that the time has arrived when the right hon. Gentleman should make a stand with regard to the enormous power which insignificant majorities in this House have of preventing legislation which the majority of this House desire to pass. I think the time has arrived for a thorough reconsideration of a great many of the rules of the House, for many of them are not adapted to meet our needs. An enormous amount of the time of the House of Commons is deliberately wasted session after session, and especially the references to Grand Committees requires reconsideration. I consider the mode of reference to Grand Committees is a departure from the principles which Mr. Gladstone laid down when he made the motion for these Grand Committees, because the House has now thrown upon them a larger amount of business which it has become impossible for them to pass through during the remainder of the session after Whitsuntide. I think all these questions—and especially the 17th Standing Order to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet has alluded—require to be dealt with, for this Standing Order places it within the power of one hon. Member to prevent the House of Commons from discussing most important questions affecting the Empire. I think all these things ought to be sufficient to convince the right hon. Gentleman that the time has arrived to reconsider some of our rules of debate. Upon the present occasion the right hon. Gentleman has not told us for what purpose he is asking the House of Commons to adopt this course. I think the House ought to know to what purpose he intends devoting the time which he is asking the House of Commons to concede.


As several hon. Members of great importance in this House, occupying leading positions with regard to public business, have risen in their places and attacked me on the present occasion, I think I ought not to defer my reply to the strictures they have passed. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has laid special emphasis upon one of those criticisms. The light hon. Gentleman has repeated with more elaboration the charge made by the Leader of the Opposition that the Government have failed on this occasion to explain the need for further facilities for the conduct of Government business. The right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. I have in this respect carefully followed precedent. The right hon. Gentleman quoted, to my great surprise, a speech of mine made last year on the 19th of June, at a similar period of the session, when I asked for similar powers. If the right hon. Gentleman had road that speech carefully he would see that I deliberately declined, either in that speech or in the course of the debate which followed, to in any sense indicate what Bills the Government were determined to pass or what Bills they felt bound to sacrifice. There was a period of the session which was well known to hon. Members—the Parliamentary "massacre of innocents" —on which that statement was made to the House; but on the present occasion it was never made, and I certainly did not make the statement when I asked last year for the privilege I now ask the House to give. It would be impossible at this period of the session to make such a statement; it would be in the highest degree inexpedient for the Government to attempt to foretell the various measures which should be proceeded with, a power which even the most experienced Members certainly could not lay claim to. How is it possible to foretell the length of time the various motions on the Order Paper will take? It is not possible, and until the Government have some further information on that point, in my judgment it will be in the highest degree inexpedient to give the right hon. Gentleman the information he desires. I pass from the criticism of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton to the criticisms made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean and my right hon. friend the Member for Bodmin, who preceded him. As I understand them, they say that the number of Private Members' Bills is so great, and they are of such great importance, that the Government ought to sacrifice their own time and allow these Wednesdays to remain in the possession of private Members. I entirely dissent from that view. I think that it would be a departure from precedent, and it would not conduce to the general con- venience of the House. I also must enter, not for the first time, my protest against the view that Private Members' Bills stand on an equality of treatment with Government Bills. They do not stand on the same equality of treatment. Time after time the hon. Member for East Mayo has protested against Government Bills being brought in under what is known as the Ten Minutes Rule. A private Member may bring in a Bill abolishing the House of Lords, or the Monarchy, not under the Ton Minutes rule, but without a word being said. No Government has ever attempted to bring in a Bill making a really important constitutional change without observing the full forms of the House, involving a consequent expenditure of time. It has now become practically a fixed rule and tradition of this House, although it is not embodied in the Standing Orders, that whatever a Private Member's Bill may be it may be brought in at twelve o'clock on Wednesday, and then that four and a half hours of discussion is enough to decide the principle of that measure. I am not aware that either you, Sir, or your predecessor in the Chair has ever refused the closure for a Bill brought in under these conditions. What Government Bill of any importance has over been allowed to pass this House after a discussion of four and a half hours? Such a state of things would not be tolerated. We should be told that it was a gross invasion of Parliamentary privileges if the Government asked for, and Mr. Speaker granted, the closure on any first-class measure, or even on any second-class measure of importance after four and a half hours discussion. Why has this House tolerated these peculiar privileges to Private Members' Bills on their earlier stages? Is it because the House attaches greater value to the legislative efforts of private Members than to the legislative efforts of the Government? It has never committed itself to any doctrine so absurd as that. The real truth is, although it is not embodied in the forms of the House, that the great majority of our Wednesday afternoon Bills are not discussed at all in a manner comparable with the discussion on Government measures. The discussions are more in the nature of decisions of the House on certain abstract propositions conceived to be embodied in the Bills before them. Every hon. Member knows that what I say is correct. An hon. Member will get up and say, "This is an absurd Bill; it contains this or that impossible provision, but yet it embodies some principles I approve of, and therefore I will either abstain or will vote for the Second Reading." That is not the way Government Bills are treated or ought to be treated. If we are going to give all these privileges to private Members' Bills in their earlier stages, and then in addition extend to them all the privileges of Government Bills in their later stages, I think our legislative system will fall into chaos, and the legislative business of this House will not show itself to the best advantage. As regards the particular measures which have been mentioned I have another answer. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said: "Here is the Companies Bill, which is a most important Bill; a Bill to cut out the gangrene which is eating into our commercial system, and it will be a public scandal if it does not pass this year." But what chance has it of passing unless we get the time?


Will you pass it?


Oh, yes; we want to pass all our Bills. For the right hon. Gentleman to say in one breath that this motion ought to be opposed because it takes away the time of private Members, and then to blame the Government for not passing Bills, seems to me a position so inconsistent that I hardly believe the right hon. Gentleman appreciates the argument he is using. Allusion has been made to my speech last year on a similar occasion. It is quite true that that speech was longer than the speech with which I introduced the motion on this occasion, but we had to deal with several important controversial Bills, and the House was anxious to know what future legislation the Government contemplated. If the House desires the assurance, I can assure them that no controversial business, so far as I am aware, other than that already before the House or that has been introduced in another place—there are two Army Bills, I think, in another place—will be taken I quite agree that it would be most unfair to ask the House to give us this time and then start a large number or even a single controversial Bill of which no notice had been given. We do not propose to take any such course. Hon. Gentlemen will find in the Order Paper which was issued this morning a full account of all the controversial business, or business which may be described as controversial or important, which the Government will attempt to pass. I am told that the Agricultural Holdings Bill and the Sea Fisheries Bill are not on the Paper, but they are included in that statement. I quite recognise that hon. Gentlemen have a right to the pledge I have just given. I do not, of course, promise that no Departmental Bills will be introduced, but even a Departmental Bill, if seriously opposed or opposed at all, will not be pressed on the notice of the House. I hope, under these circumstances and after the explanation I have given, the House will assent to the motion without a division.


The speeches which have been delivered so far on this motion deal with the question of Bills, but there is a great deal in what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet, that some amount of consideration should be given to motions. I am interested in a motion which I, at all events, and many people in the country feel to be one of urgency. I was very much surprised at the reply which was given to my modest request for an opportunity to discuss this motion. We might well expect that we should be given an opportunity of discussing first of all the Report of Lord Justice Collins's Committee on the administration of war funds; and, secondly, the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman tells us the Government have under consideration with reference to this question. I should be out of order in going into details, but I should like to press one important fact on the attention of the House. That is, that the flow of public benevolence in the way of providing pensions has practically come to an end, and there is no further expectation of any larger contributions being made by the public. That is perfectly obvious to anyone who has followed the amounts contributed day by day. On the other hand, the number of widows, as a result of the war, amounts to 2,000, and I am told they will continue to increase at the rate of 250 or 300 per month. I merely mention that to impress on the right hon. Gentleman that this question is urgent, and to press him again to give us an opportunity of discussing the Report of the Committee, and also the proposals of the Government with reference to it. The time is ripe for that discussion. This is no matter of an abstract resolution, but a matter in which the country is deeply interested. I intend to make my protest unless I get some satisfactory assurance. Meantime I will move the Amendment which I have handed in, which is to exclude to-morrow, which is the day on which the motion would come on.


On a point of order, wish to ask whether the Amendment of my hon. friend has priority over my Amendment, which is to leave out all words after Tuesday, so as to restrict the effect on the motion to Tuesdays.


The hon. Member must move to substitute "Tuesdays" for "Tuesday," and to leave out to the end of the line. That Amendment takes precedence of the other Amendment.


In moving my Amendment, which seems to me to be the logical outcome of the unanswered and unanswerable speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin, I should like to make one remark as to the speech of the First Lord of the Treasury, which seemed to be as unsatisfactory as it was singular. The right hon. Gentleman deprecated abstract discussions.


I never did anything of the kind.


I do not mean that the right hon. Gentleman in terms deprecated abstract discussions, but what he did deprecate was the giving a further time to private Members on the ground that Wednesdays were usually occupied with abstract discussions. But I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that Private Members' Bills which have obtained the assent of the House with unanimity or without division, and which represent the opinion of the majority of the House, and presumably of the country, cannot be regarded as matters of abstract discussion, but as the practical decisions of the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman wishes to withhold time from these Bills, and not to give further facilities for them, although it has been proved by the decisions of the House itself that they are not mere abstract questions, but questions of practical urgency. The right hon. Gentleman fell foul of my right hon. friend the Member for East Wolverhampton for challenging his policy in not making any statement whatever as to the use of the time which the Government propose to take. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman has already forgotten that the Companies Bill held the first place in the Queen's Speech in the present session, and that it has already passed the House of Lords. It is singular and unprecedented that at this period of the session such a Bill should be left in the lurch, and that the right hon. Gentleman is not ready to make any statement regarding a measure of such urgency and importance to the commercial interests of the country. The right hon. Gentleman is in this dilemma—that he has given no case for the Government proposals, and he refuses time for the proposals of private Members—an unprecedented number of which have unanimously passed their Second Reading, have been sent to Standing Committees, and have received the laborious consideration of many Members of this House. I venture to say that in a session like this—there might be some sessions in which he would undoubtedly be justified in making his present proposals—but in a session like this when the enormous number of measures referred to by the right hon. the Member for Forest of Dean are waiting for the final decision of the House, it would be a monstrous scandal if the House of Commons did not allow further time for carrying to completion Bills which have received general assent.

MR. SOUTTAR (Dumfriesshire)

I beg to second the Amendment, and to make an appeal to the Leader of the House, who perhaps knows that I had the opportunity of bringing in a Bill on the 9th March which passed its Second Reading. It has been said by the right hon. Gentleman below the gangway that that was an accident; but I do not understand the meaning of the word "accident" as applied to a Bill in that way.


It came on at an unexpected hour.


I can only say that it was on the Order Paper of this House eight times before it came on, and that if it came on unexpectedly it did so in a very crowded House, and all the benches were full and hon. Members were standing below the Bar. But I do not desire to base my appeal on that ground at all. I believe that the heart of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House is in the right place with regard to this measure, and I should be most grateful, and I am sure many others on his own side of the House would be likewise grateful, if he could give our case some little kindly consideration. I know perfectly well that the gift of another Wednesday would be valueless unless he gave the case his personal consideration; but I am certain that one word from him would be golden, and this measure might then easily pass into law. I may say one thing in regard to the Bill which may not have reached the right hon. Gentleman's notice. The fact that I am connected with this particular measure is an accident. Five Bills drafted in almost exactly the same phraseology and having precisely the same effect were introduced this session—three of which were promoted from the right hon. Gentleman's own side of the House—one by the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Glasgow, one by the hon. Member for Norwood, and the third, begun in another place, was initiated by one of the Belfast Members. It will be seen that there is a wonderful unanimity of feeling in regard to this particular measure, for each one of these five Bills had five separate sets of backers, and in two cases these backers were almost entirely members of the Conservative party. I do trust the right hon. Gentleman will be kindly in this matter and do something to help forward a measure in connection with which much good will be done in the country. If he will only help it he will gain great popularity in the country and strengthen the position of his own supporters.

Amendment proposed— In line 3, to leave out the word 'Tuesday,' and insert the word 'Tuesdays,' instead thereof."—(Mr. Channing.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'Tuesday' stand part of the Question."


The hon. Members the mover and the seconder of the Amendment have with great ability shown the strongest part of the Government case. If there is a day that can be spared to the Government it is Wednesday—far before Tuesday. The hon. Member for Dumfriesshire has given a very apposite illustration of the mischief that can be done on Wednesdays. He says that the Second Reading of the Bill in which he is interested was not an accident, and then he proceeded to prove that it was an accident by saying that it had been eight times on the Order Paper before. Surely if it came on on the ninth time that may be considered accidental. The hon. Member for East Northamptonshire says that these Bills represent the unanimous vote of the House, or that the vast majority of the House pass them. It is perfectly well known that never on Wednesdays is there a vast majority of the House present, but only a small minority who occupy the afternoon in bringing forward motions or Bills which cannot come on on any other day. I maintain that the vast majority of the Bills read a second time on Wednesdays are so read because the House knows perfectly well that they will never be heard of again. I have not the legislative appetite of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin, who seems to think that we should spend all our time in passing Acts of Parliament. Most, or at least many, of these Acts do a great deal more harm than good. As to the Grand Committees which he held up to our approbation—the attempt to delegate the business of this House to a portion of its Members has been a complete failure. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment dwelt upon the fact that the First Lord of the Treasury in his first speech did not specify the Bills which the Government intended to go on with; but the right hon. Gentleman has remedied that in his second speech, for he has now told us that what is on the Blue Paper is what the Government seriously propose to go on with, and that they will deal with nothing else that is contentious. [Mr. BALFOUR dissented.] I understood the First Lord to say that there were certain Bills on the Blue Paper which were uncontentious, but if there were any contentious Bills they would not be pressed.


I hope I have not been so obscure in my statement. What I said was that the Blue Paper contained the full Government programme with the exception of one or two Bills which were before the Committees, and one or two Military Bills which are in the House of Lords, and that outside that no new measures of a contentious character would be proceeded with.


What escaped me was the proviso in regard to Bills before Committees. The Bill I was thinking of, the Undersized Fish Bill, is before a Committee, and that is a very contentious measure and will be very strongly opposed when it again comes before the House. Undoubtedly at this time of the year the Government have a very considerable case for taking—I won't say the Tuesdays, but the Wednesdays. I therefore shall be able with a most unseared conscience to vote against the Amendment now made. Of all the days of the week the most mischievous is Wednesday, and the least useful. I think when I come to the Tuesdays which this Amendment proposes to give to the Government—


The hon. Member is out of order in referring to Tuesday under this Amendment.


Then, when the debate on the main question is resumed I am afraid I shall have to trouble you with further remarks. All I say in regard to Wednesdays is, that I shall hail with pleasure their disappearance from the private Members' programme. I am a member of a very useful Committee—the Public Accounts Committee— which meets on Wednesday, and my attention will not be diverted from the important work on that Committee in order to come downstairs to vote against private Members' Bills on that day. Before I sit down I wish to dissociate myself from the remark made by the right hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet when he throws doubt on the existence of a personage I was always taught to believe in. If that historical personage and his dwelling place are to be regarded as wholly allegorical, then he has deprived many pious friends of their greatest hopes,—for other people.


I cannot refrain from uttering my protest against a resolution the effect of which is to cut off any chance of a Bill in which I am interested becoming law—the Bill, namely, to amend the Welsh Sunday Closing Act of 1881. That Bill passed without a division its Second Reading on 9th May. It is not an abstract question; nor is it a useless Bill. It is a Bill which is founded upon the deliberate judgment of two Commissions, and which I venture to say has a body of support in Wales which few measures introduced in this House have had in previous years. I do not intend to take up the time of the House on the present occasion in elaborating my protest, but it is impossible for me, knowing as I do, the great interest that the people of Wales take in this Bill; knowing how easily it might be passed, seeing it is a simple, short, and noncontentious Bill—to refrain from expressing my great regret that the Leader of the House, in answering my question, should have said that there is very little chance of giving any favourable consideration to the Bill during the present session. I admit that the root of the difficulty we are in in regard to these Bills is not the present motion, but the rules of the House; and I hope the day is not far distant when some arrangement will be made which will enable a Bill of this kind, with so much support, to be passed into law, and thus carry out the predominant sentiment of the people of Wales.


The right hon. Gentleman has put a considerable strain upon the loyalty of those who are his supporters, including myself. In my earlier remarks I began by saying that this was not an unreasonable motion to be made at this time of the year; but I did expect that the right hon. Gentleman would give us some reason for the support which he wants us to give him. We wish to know what he means to do with the time when he gets it; and I think he has departed from the usual practice on this matter. But now it is proposed that Wednesdays should be left and that Tuesdays should be taken. This is a sort of discussion in which every man is most anxious to sacrifice his neighbour. If I am interested in a Tuesday, then I say that the Wednesday should go; if I am interested in the Wednesday, then it is the other Way. I think we should be impartial in regard to this matter. Notwithstanding the unfortunate effect of our present rules upon certain Bills— one of which I dwelt upon as being a very good case—I do not think that on that ground we are entitled to jump to the opposite extreme, and leave the whole of the Wednesdays alive for the private Members to the end of the session. It may be a very right thing, possibly, that the Wednesdays should belong to private Members from one end of the session to the other; but let it be done in a deliberate way, and regard paid to the rules of the House in a wider spirit, not simply because there happens to be a great number of useful private Members' Bills at the present moment on the stocks. The development of private Members' Bills, no doubt, has been great. I do not know that it was originally intended, when Standing Committees were set up, that private Members' Bills were to be sent up to them at all; but they do go to them, and the' consequence is that we have great labour expended on these Bills at this choking time of the session, and then they are deprived of all sort of useful life. I deplore that, but at the same time I think it is the fault of our rules, which ought to be remodelled with a view to prevent the recurrence of such circumstances. I hardly see my way to support the Amendment, which would take the whole of the Wednesdays from the Government for the rest of the session and give them to private Members.

MR. HUMPHREYS-OWEN (Montgomeryshire)

I quite sympathise with what has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. I think we should all of us wish to give the Government the Wednesdays at a somewhat more reasonable period than is proposed by the present motion. I am perfectly ready to leave it to the House to modify the Amendment, so that only a certain number of Wednesdays should be excepted, leaving it to the Government to propose later on to take the whole time of the House. Before I sit down I wish to add my strong protest against the blocking of the Welsh Sunday Closing Bill, in regard to which there is a very strong feeling in Wales. But there is another Bill of even greater importance—the Bill, namely, to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquors to children under sixteen years of age. Only this morning I received from a board of guardians of which I am a member, and which stands very high indeed amongst the well-administered boards, a resolution to the following effect— The guardians of this board being of opinion that a large proportion of the pauperism and crime of this country is due to the excessive consumption of intoxicating drink—


Order, order! The hon. Member is going beyond the limits of comment on the motion before the House.


I submitted myself to the House before I began to read. I have simply to say that I have a very strongly worded resolution from a board of guardians—


The hon. Member is out of order.


By way of apology, I wish to say that I am only desirous of emphasising the importance of the Bill which the Government are now intending to burke.


I understand that the Amendment is to except the Wednesdays from the present resolution. But I would point out that the present resolution, however amended, is one that can be amended again. Even if the Amendment were carried the Government can return at the end of the month, say that they want to get more time, and then take the Wednesdays. It seems to me that the Amendment would not accomplish what the hon. Gentleman desires.

MR. TRITTON (Lambeth, Norwood)

I intend to vote for the Amendment, because I want some more time to be accorded in this House to the consideration of what I believe is one of the most important Bills before the House this

session. The Bill I refer to has been mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition, and he told us the sad and somewhat hard fate that had befallen it. It was the first Bill carried through to a Second Reading, and that without any opposition, and it was put down for the first Wednesday after Whitsuntide in the sure and certain hope, as far as anything can be made sure and certain in this House, that it would have the first place after the Whitsuntide recess. Hon. Members will see that there are now two other Bills of very considerable importance placed before it. The Bill to stop the sale of intoxicating liquors to children is the outcome of the Joint Reports of the Royal Commission, and it has received unanimous support throughout the country. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would say, if asked, that there had been more petitions sent up in favour of that Bill than any other this session. It has met with the approval of a very large number of benches of magistrates. No fewer than fifty-four had done what they could to dissuade publicans from selling intoxicating liquors to children.


The hon. Member is justified in calling attention to a Bill, but not in giving all the reasons which may be urged in support of it.


I certainly will not trespass for a moment on your ruling, Mr. Speaker. If Her Majesty's Government cannot see their way to grant a Wednesday for the remaining stages of that Bill, I offer them an alternative course—let them take it up as a Government measure, and crown their many social achievements by passing a Bill which will be fraught with the greatest possible blessing to the young people of this country.

Question put.

The House divided: — Ayes, 236; Noes, 118. (Division List No. 145.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Baldwin, Alfred
Aird, John Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'r.)
Allhusen, Augustns H. E. Bailey, James (Walworth) Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W (Leeds
Allsopp, Hon. George Baillie, James E. B. (Inverness) Barry, Rt. Hn A H Smith-(Hunts
Anson, Sir William Reynell Balcarres, Lord Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)
Bartley, George C. T. Gordon, Hon. John Edward Monk, Charles James
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H (Bristol) Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)
Beach, Rt Hon. W. W. B. (Hants) Goschen, Rt Hn G. J (St George's Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Beckett, Ernest William Goschen, George J. (Sussex) More, Robert J. (Shropshire)
Bethell, Commander Goulding, Edward Alfred Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monm'thsh)
Biddulph, Michael Gourley, Sir E. Temperley Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)
Bigwood, James Graham, Henry Robert Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Bill, Charles Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute)
Blakiston-Houston, John Gretton, John Myers, William Henry
Blundell, Colonel Henry Gull, Sir Cameron Newdigate, Francis Alexander
Bond, Edward Gunter, Colonel Nicholson, William Graham
Bousfield, William Robert Halsey, Thomas Frederick Nicol, Donald Ninian
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex) Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord Geo. O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn) Hanbury, Rt. Hn. R. Wm. Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)
Brassey, Albert Hanson, Sir Reginald Peel, Hn. William R. Wellesley
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hardy, Laurence Pender, Sir James
Brown, Alexander H. Hatch, Ernest Fredk. George Penn, John
Butcher, John George Heaton, John Henniker Pierpoint, Robert
Campbell, Rt Hn J. A. (Glasgow) Helder, Augustus Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Carlile, William Walter Henderson, Alexander Plunkett, Rt. Hn. H. Curzon
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Hickman, Sir Alfred Purvis, Robert
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh. Hill, Rt. Hon. A. S. (Staffs.) Pym, C. Guy
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead) Rankin, Sir James
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East) Hornby, Sir William Henry Remnant, James Farquharson
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Houston, R. P. Renshaw, Charles Bine
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Howard, Joseph Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.
Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r) Howell, William Tudor Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle Rothschild, Hn. Lionel W.
Charrington, Spencer Hozier, Hon. James H. Cecil Round, James
Chelsea, Viscount Hudson, George Bickersteth Royds, Clement Molyneux
Coddington, Sir William Hughes, Colonel Edwin Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenh'm)
Coghill, Douglas Harry Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Jenkins, Sir John Jones Savory, Sir Joseph
Cook, Fred Lucas (Lambeth) Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Edw. T. D. Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Seton-Karr, Henry
Cox Irwin Edward Bainbridge Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H. Sharpe, William Edward T.
Cripps, Charles Alfred Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Keswick, William Simeon, Sir Barrington
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Kimber, Henry Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)
Curzon, Viscount King, Sir Henry Seymour Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)
Dalbiac, Col. Philip Hugh Lafone, Alfred Stewart, Sir Mark J. M Taggart
Dalkeith, Earl of Laurie, Lieut.-General Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn) Stock, James Henry
Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham) Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Strauss, Arthur
Denny, Colonel Lecky, Rt. Hon. William E. H. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Digby, J. K. D. Wingfield- Leigh-Bennett, H. Currie Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Leighton, Stanley Thornton, Percy M.
Donkin, Richard Sim Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Swan. Tuke, Sir John Batty
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H. (Sheffield)
Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S. Loder, Gerald W. Erskine Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Drage, Geoffrey Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Hart Long, Rt Hn Walter (Liverpool) Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lonsdale, John Brownlee Warr, Augustus Frederick
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Lowe, Francis William Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Tantn)
Faber, George Denison Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent) Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)
Fardell, Sir T. George Loyd, Archie Kirkman Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J (Manc'r) Macartney, W. G. Ellison Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)
Finch, George H. Macdona, John Gumming Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne MacIver, David Liverpool Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Firbank, Joseph Thomas Maclure, Sir John William Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Fisher, William Hayes M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Flannery, Sir Fortescue M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.) Wrightson, Thomas
Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk) Malcolm, Ian Wyndham, George
Garfit, William Maple, Sir John Blundell Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Gedge, Sydney Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Gibbons, J. Lloyd Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E. Young, Commander (Berks. E.)
Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (City of Lond) Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire) Younger, William
Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans) Melville, Beresford Valentine
Giles, Charles Tyrrell Middlemore, John Throgm'r'n TELLERS FOE THE AYES
Gilliat, John Saunders Milward, Colonel Victor Sir William Walrond and
Goldsworthy, Major-General Monckton, Edward Philip. Mr. Anstruther.
Allan, William (Gateshead) Gurdon, Sir William B. Perks, Robert William
Allison, Robert Andrew Haldane, Richard Burdon Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Asher, Alexander Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale- Reckitt, Harold James
Ashton, Thomas Gair Hazell, Walter Redmond, William (Clare)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. Henry Hedderwick, Thomas C. H. Reid, Sir Robert Threshie
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Hobhouse, Henry Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)
Barlow, John Emmott Horniman, Frederick John Rickett, J. Compton
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Billson, Alfred Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Broadhurst, Henry Jacoby, James Alfred Runciman, Walter
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea) Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.) Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Kearley, Hudson E. Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh'e)
Burt, Thomas Kinloch Sir John GeorgeSmyth Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Buxton, Sydney Charles Kitson, Sir James Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Caldwell, James Langley, Batty Steadman, William Charles
Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow) Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'lnd) Stevenson, Francis S.
Carew, James Laurence Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington) Strachey, Edward
Causton, Richard Knight Leng, Sir John Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Clark, Dr. G. B. Lough, Thomas Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lyell, Sir Leonard Thomas, Alf. (Glamorgan, E.)
Courtney, Rt. Hon. Leonard H. M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Thomas. David A. (Merthyr)
Crombie, John William M'Dermott, Patrick Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal) M'Ewan, William Tritton, Charles Ernest
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) M'Kenna, Reginald Wallace, Robert
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) M'Laren, Charles Benjamin Warner, Thomas Courtenay T
Dewar, Arthur Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Wason, Eugene
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Mather, William Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Doughty, George Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Williams, John C. (Notts.)
Douglas, Chas. M. (Lanark) Molloy, Bernard Charles Wills, Sir William Henry
Duckworth, James Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)
Dunn, Sir William Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Wilson, J. (Durham, Mid)
Emmott, Sir Alfred Morgan, W. P. (Merthyr) Wilson, John (Govan)
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh N.)
Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton) Morley, Rt. Hn. J. (Montrose) Woodhouse, Sir J. (Huddersf'ld)
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport) Yoxall, James Henry
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Moulton, John Fletcher
Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis Norton, Capt. Cecil William TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Goddard, Daniel Ford Oldroyd, Mark Mr. Channing and Mr. Souttar.
Gold, Charles Paulton, James Mellor
Griffith, Ellis J. Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)
MR. E. J. C. MORTON (Devonport)

I beg to insert after the word "on" the words "Tuesday, the 19th." I venture to express the hope, seeing that this is a matter of such extreme importance, of such enormous interest to the public, and of such real urgency, that the right hon. Gentleman will accede to the request made in this motion. Now that we are in sight of a triumphant conclusion to the war in South Africa, I believe there is absolutely no subject whatever that interests the people of this country to a tenth part of the extent that the subject matter of the resolution which will be cut out from the proceedings of to-morrow, unless my Amendment is carried, interests the people. I do not know whether hon. Members quite realise what the urgency of this question is and its importance. It is only a few days ago that a newspaper, which is generally supposed to share and to sympathise with the prin- ciples of the party opposite, had a headline, and the announcement made in it was "A Soldier's Reward: Wounded at Modder River, and sent to the Workhouse." I venture to think that, with evidence like that of what is actually taking place in the country now, a sense of disgrace and a sense of shame is felt by the vast majority of the citizens of this Empire. Surely that sense of shame must weigh a hundredfold upon those who have the honour, and responsibility of a seat in this House. I venture to think that the responsibility must weigh a thousandfold with the members of Her Majesty's Government. I believe that the mass of the people of this country feel that the absence of care for the wounded soldiers of the war, and the absence of protection and care for the widows and orphans of those who have given their lives to the nation, is a matter that ought to be looked after by the nation. It is not a thing that ought to be left to local administration and the administration of the poor law.


pointed out that the hon. Member was discussing a question which was beyond the scope of the Amendment.


Of course I obey your ruling, but I submit to the right hon. Gentleman that there is urgency in this matter. It has been pointed out by my hon. friend when he rose previously to move the Amendment I am now moving that the supply from private charity has already ceased. The amount already received from private charity is altogether inadequate, and considering what I know to be the feeling of the country, almost in every part of it, upon this matter, and with regard to the urgency of it, I venture to beseech the Government to allow us to have one day to discuss it. It is a matter of most vital national importance, especially in view of the fact that our wounded soldiers are now being sent to the workhouse. We have had an instance within the last

few days of the way the Government has neglected up to the present to state to the House or the country what provision they intend to make to deal with this vastly important matter.

Amendment proposed— In line 3, after the words 'except on,' to insert the words 'Tuesday the 19th and.'"— (Mr. Edward Morton.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted.


The speech of the hon. Member is one of the most uncalled for I have ever listened to. No announcement as to the intentions of the Government with respect to this question more satisfactory to the hon. Member than that which has already been made could be elicited by a hundred speeches such as that which he proposes to make.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 93; Noes, 250. (Division List No. 146.)

Allan, William (Gateshead) Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H. Reckitt, Harold James
Allison, Robert Andrew Horniman, Frederick John Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)
Asher, Alexander Hughes, Colonel Edwin Rickett, J. Compton
Barlow, John Emmott Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Jacoby, James Alfred Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Billson, Alfred Jones, David Brynmor (Swan.) Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Birrell, Augustine Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)
Broadhurst, Henry Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth Sinclair Capt John (Forfarshire)
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Kitson Sir James Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Burt, Thomas Langley, Batty Souttar, Robinson
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland) Steadman, William Charles
Cladwell James Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington) Stevenson, Francis S.
Cameron Sir Charles (Glasgow) Leng, Sir John Strachey, Edward
Channing, Francis Allston Lough, Thomas Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Clark, Dr. G. B. Lyell, Sir Leonard. Thomas, Abel (Camarthen, E.
Crombie, John William M'Ewan, William Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan E.)
Curran, Thos. B. (Donegal) M'Laren Charles Benjamin Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Mather, William
Dewar, Arthur Mellor, Rt. Hn. J. W. (Yorks.) Wallace, Robert
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Duckworth James Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel) Wason, Eugene
Dunn, Sir William Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Emmott, Alfred Morgan, W. Pritchard (Merth'r Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)
Moulton, John Fletcher Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Farquharson, Dr. Robert
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Norton, Capt. Cecil William Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Hudders'd)
Goddard, Daniel Ford Oldroyd, Mark Yoxall, James Henry
Gold Charles Paulton, James Mellor
Churdon, Sir W. Brampton Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.) TELLERS FOE THE AYES
Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale- Pickersgill, Edward Hare Mr. E. J. C. Morton and
Hazell, Walter Price, Robert John Mr. Kearley.
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Aird, John Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William H. Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham)
Allsopp, Hon. George Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool
Anson, Sir William Reynell Faber, George Denison Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Ashton, Thomas Gair Fardell, Sir T. George Lowe, Francis William
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent)
Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire) Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r) Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Bailey, James (Walworth) Finch, George H. Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Baillie, James E. B. (Inverness) Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Balcarres, Lord Firbank, Joseph Thomas Macdona, John Cumming
Baldwin, Alfred Fisher, William Hayes MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r) Flannery, Sir Fortescue Maclean, James Mackenzie
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G.W. (Leeds) Flower, Ernest Maclure, Sir John William
Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. S-(Hunts Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk) M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)
Bartley, George C. T. Fry, Lewis Malcolm, Ian
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol) Garfit, William Maple, Sir John Blundell
Beach, Rt. Hn. W. W. B.(Hants) Gedge, Sydney Marks, Henry Hananel
Beckett, Ernest William Gibbons, J. Lloyd Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.
Bethell, Commander Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)
Biddulph, Michael Giles, Charles Tyrrell Melville, Beresford Valentine
Bigwood, James Gilliatt, John Saunders Middlemore, J. Throgmorton
Bill, Charles Goldsworthy, Major-General Milward, Colonel Victor
Blakiston-Houston, John Gordon, Hon. John Edward Monckton, Edward Philip
Blundell, Colonel Henry Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon Monk, Charles James
Bond, Edward Goschen, Rt Hn G. J. (St George's) Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)
Bousfield, William Robert Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex) Goulding, Edward Alfred More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)
Brassey, Albert Gourley, Sir E. Temperley Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Graham, Henry Robert Morley, Rt. Hon. J. (Montrose)
Bullard, Sir Harry Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) Morton, Arthur H. A (Deptford)
Butcher, John George Gretton, John Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J A (Glasgow) Gull, Sir Cameron Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Carlile, William Walter Gunter Colonel Myers, William Henry
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Halsey, Thomas Frederick Newdigate, Francis Alexand'r
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George Nicholson, William Graham
Cavendish, V.C.W(Derbyshire Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W. Nicol, Donald Ninian
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Hanson, Sir Reginald O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East) Hardy, Laurence Pease, Herbt. Pike (Darlingt'n)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Helder, Augustus Pender, Sir James
Chamberlain, J. Austen, Worc'r Henderson, Alexander Penn, John
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hermon-Hodge, Robert T. Pierpoint, Robert
Charrington, Spencer Hickman, Sir Alfred Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Chelsea, Viscount Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampstead Plunkett, Rt. Hon. Horace C.
Coddington, Sir William Hobhouse, Henry Pollock, Harry Frederick
Coghill, Douglas Harry Hornby, Sir William Henry Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Houston, R. P. Purvis, Robert
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Howard, Joseph Pym, C. Guy
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Howell, William Tudor Rankin, Sir James
Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle Reid, Sir Robert Threshie
Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow) Hozier, Hon. J. Henry C. Remnant, James Farquharson
Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Edw. T. D Hudson, George Bickersteth Renshaw, Charles Bine
Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H. Jackson, Rt. Hn. W. Lawies Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.
Cripps, Charles Alfred Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Jenkins, Sir John Jones Round, James
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton Royds, Clement Molyneux
Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham
Curzon, Viscount Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Dalbiac, Colonel Philip Hugh Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Dalkeith, Earl of Keswick, William Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Kimber, Henry Savory, Sir Joseph
Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham King, Sir Henry Seymour Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Denny, Colonel Labouchere, Henry Seton-Karr, Henry
Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Lafone, Alfred Sharpe, William Edward T.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Laurie, Lieut.-General Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew
Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Sidebottom, W. (Derbyshire)
Donkin, Richard Sim Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. E. H. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Doughty, George Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A, Akers- Llewellyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans) Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)
Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart Wanklyn, James Leslie Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M. Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent) Wrightson, Thomas
Stock, James Henry Warr, Augustus Frederick Wyndham, George
Stone, Sir Benjamin Welby, Lt. Col. A. C. E. (Tauntn) Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Strauss, Arthur Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.) Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Whitmore, Charles Algernon Young, Commander (Berks, E.
Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier Williams, Col. R. (Dorset) Younger, William
Thornton, Percy M. Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)
Tritton, Charles Ernest Willoughby de Eresby, Lord TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Tuke, Sir John Batty Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.) Sir William Walrond and
Vincent, Col. Sir C. E.H.(Shef.) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath Mr. Anstruther.
Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Ordered, That for the remainder of the session Government business do have precedence on Tuesday and Wednesday (except on Wednesdays the 20th and 27th June), and that the provisions of Standing Order No. 56 be extended to all the days of the week.

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