HC Deb 24 May 1900 vol 83 cc1219-20

On the Motion for Adjournment.

MR. SAMUEL SMITH (Flintshire)

referred to the fact that in consequence of the House rising on Monday next he had been deprived of the opportunity of bringing forward a motion he had put on the Paper for Tuesday. Earlier in the sitting the Leader of the House had stated for his consolation that he would have an opportunity of speaking on the substance of his motion on the Education Vote. He had since been informed by the Chairman of Committees that it would not be possible to deal with the substance of the motion on that Vote, and he therefore desired to ask the Leader of the House on what day he proposed to allow him to bring forward this matter, which was a very important one.


I think the hon. Member is somewhat mistaken in regard to what took place at Question time. The position was this: The alternative before us was whether we should rise late on Monday night or have a morning sitting on Tuesday to discuss the adjournment of the House, with a possibility, if any time remained after the debate, of discussing the hon. Member's motion. I thought then, and I think still, that it would be very much for the convenience of the House that we should rise late on Monday night rather than conclude our discussion on Tuesday at a time which would preclude Members going to the country from catching their trains. It was for that reason I suggested the alteration which has been accepted. The question is, how much has the hon. Member lost by that proceeding. I certainly thought when I made the statement at Question time that he had lost the chance of raising this matter between the end of the discussion on the adjournment and seven o'clock. I find that in that I am mistaken, as only Government Orders of the Day could be taken at the morning sitting. So the only conceivable or possible chance the hon. Gentleman would have had would have been if the House had sat between nine and twelve o'clock. I never contemplated such a sitting; I think it would have been entirely without precedent and a most improper course, because after the House had sat at two o'clock and agreed to the adjournment it would be impossible to collect Members here and to have a debate or division in any way representing the general sense of the House. The hon. Gentleman has no doubt lost by the fact that the House rises for its holiday on Monday or Tuesday—there is no difference between the two days so far as he is concerned—rather than on Thursday next, but he has not lost more than those Members who have Bills down for discussion on Wednesday, so that I do not see that in that respect he has any grievance. Now I come to the hope that I held out—the consolation, as the hon. Member puts it —that he would be able to raise the question on the Education Estimates on the first Thursday after we reassemble. I believe the hon. Gentleman is right in saying that the whole of the rather miscellaneous motion he has put on the Paper could not be discussed upon that occasion, but any violations of the Conscience Clause—and I think that is the matter he has chiefly in view—can be discussed fully and voted upon. I think, therefore, under these circumstances the hon. Gen-man may feel himself fairly lucky in what has occurred, and that fortune has not gone against him to the extent he supposed.


I only hope that I may find by experience—


Order, order! The hon. Member has already addressed the House.

Adjourned at a quarter after Twelve of the clock.