HC Deb 24 June 1901 vol 95 cc1227-30

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he can arrange to take Irish Estimates on Friday next, and to put down first for discussion on that day the Votes for Supreme Court of Judicature and the Chief Secretary's Department.

MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

At the same time may I ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he can arrange to take Irish Estimates on Friday next, and to put down first for discussion on that day the Vote for the Chief Secretary's Department.


My right hon. friend the Chief Secretary informs me that it is necessary, as I understand it, to take money under the Education Estimate in order to carry on the necessary work of education in Ireland, at a very early date. This matter calls for examination, and if it appears to be absolutely necessary I will put down the Education Vote first on Friday next. As regards the second Vote to be taken, I have an application from the hon. Gentleman that the Judicature Vote should be taken, and also an application from my right hon. friend the Member for South Antrim in favour of the Chief Secretary's Vote. There appears to be an agreement that one of these Votes should be second and the other third, and I will endeavour to make the most satisfactory arrangement I can between them, but I see no reason why both these Votes should not be got through as well as the Education Vote.


May I say that the order in which I ask the Votes to be taken—namely, the Judicature Vote first—is the order desired by the overwhelming majority of the Irish Members? With regard to taking the Education Vote first, may I ask whether it is not the practice to settle the order of the Votes in accordance with the wishes of the Members from the country concerned, and whether, if the Education Vote is taken first, it will not mean the absolute breakdown of that arrangement, because it will necessitate the discussion of various matters which will postpone the consideration of the other Votes, which the Irish Members on both sides desire to be taken?


May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman did not state on Tuesday last that he would endeavour to arrange that the Votes be taken in the order of precedence desired by the Irish Members? And did I not then publicly ask him to put the Judicature Vote first?


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the demand of his supporters on this side of the House?


It is quite true, of course, that if hon. Gentlemen on this side are in a minority, their views should not be ignored because they are in a minority, but as regards the questions put by the hon. Gentleman opposite and by my right hon. friend, as the House knows, I have always desired to put the Votes in the order which would meet the convenience of the House, having regard to the financial necessities of the administration. I will make careful inquiries into the matter, and if it is necessary to take the Education Vote I am afraid it must be done.


Has the right hon. Gentleman been informed, notwithstanding the Vote on Account, which was taken to cover several months, that it is necessary to get this Vote on Friday next? Of course it stands to reason it is not.


There can be no controversy about it. I will inquire, and the Treasury will inform me whether it is necessary or not. It may be convenient, but if it is not absolutely necessary I will not press it. If it is absolutely necessary there is no choice in the matter.


That is an indication of the absurdity of the system. The right hon. Gentleman has repeatedly stated that he is prepared to leave the order of the Votes, not to his own side, but to the Opposition—to a Committee in which the Opposition would be in a majority. Now, if for the convenience of a Department that can be broken through, it shows the absurdity of the whole arrangement. It would be better to leave the Government to take the Votes on their own responsibility.


I have suggested more than once the desirability of leaving the decision of how the Votes should be taken to a Committee on which the Government would be in a minority, but we know well enough that such a Committee, if Treasury reasons or reasons of administration affecting a great Department rendered it necessary that some particular Vote should be taken, would agree to give that Vote precedence.

MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury a question of which I have given him private notice, namely, whether the statement in The Times of Saturday, relating to an interview between the right hon. Gentleman and a deputation representing the London and County Brewers is substantially correct; whether the deputation urged the unfairness of sending the Beer Bill to a Standing Committee for a variety of controversial reasons, and strongly recommended its reference to a Select Committee, thereby rendering any chance of the Bill's passing into law this session practically hopeless; whether Mr. Cosmo Bonsor, who is stated to have introduced the deputation, is now serving in a judicial capacity on a Royal Commission which has before it a number of controversial questions of a similar character; and whether, if that is the case, Mr. Bonsor's services on that Commission are to be continued.


It is quite true that on Friday last Mr. Cosmo Bonsor and some other gentlemen connected with the brewing interest called upon me in connection with the procedure to be adopted on Wednesday next, when the motion before the House will be that the Beer Bill be referred to the Grand Committee. I informed them, as I should have informed any other deputation on any side of this question, that it was for the House to determine whether the Bill should go to the Grand Committee or to a Select Committee. I do not think that Mr. Cosmo Bonsor's action in this matter has, or ought to have, any effect upon his services as a member of the Royal Commission.


I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he can give the House any assurance that the Education Bill will be proceeded, with this session.

MR. GRAY (West Ham, N.)

At the same time, may I ask the First Lord, of the Treasury whether he can state when the Revenue Department (Customs) Vote will be taken.


I have no statement to make at present upon Government business beyond what I have already made, except to tell t e House what I am informed, that it will be necessary to have a Ways and Means Bill at once, and I propose to introduce it to-night.


May I point out that the answer, as I caught it, did not appear to be a reply to my question?


What I said was that I really had no statement to make on the subject of Government business to the House at the present time, except the statement I then proceeded to make in regard to Ways and Means.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

And what does that mean?


A Consolidated Fund Bill.


We need not go into that.

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