HC Deb 04 March 1901 vol 90 cc445-52

I think the House is already familiar with all the reasons for the motion which I now move. They are substantially the same as those we offered to the House last week when a similar motion was before it, although they are now of greater urgency. On the present occasion I would remind the House exactly how our financial business stands so far as the principle is concerned. If my motion is agreed to there are only twelve days for effective Supply before Monday, the 25th inst. On that day we must introduce the Consolidated Fund Bill in order to comply with the law. In two days we obtained ten Supplementary Votes out of twenty-nine, not a very promising beginning. We have to take large Supplementary Estimates, and we have to take, both as regards the Army and the Navy, but perhaps especially as regards the Army, a most important discussion upon the Speaker leaving the chair; and my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War proposes on Friday next to make his speech on the Army Estimates. I do not see how it is possible to get through this mass of work before the 25th unless the privileges which we ask for are granted. On the present occasion the House will see we ask for no privileges except as regards finance. We do not ask for privileges for legislative work of any kind outside the necessities of the law, and we do not ask for Wednesdays, though, if the House insists upon discussing the Estimates at great length, I may be driven, much against my will, to ask for privileges as regards Wednesdays before the 25th.

I make this request with great reluctance. I have been attacked on both sides of the House by Gentlemen who seem to think I am an enemy of the privileges of unofficial Members. That is entirely untrue. I have always done my very best as Leader of the House to give private Members the fullest opportunity of criticising the Government, and I think my action in that respect will compare favourably with that of my predecessors. I take it it is a fact that at present we lose something materially by not having those opportunities on Tuesdays of general discussion upon subjects outside the business of Supply, or the Budget, or the business of legislation. And it is also perfectly true that when the House retains its privilege in this respect it usually shows its appreciation by a count out; but something might be done, though I make no promise, to secure a certain number of days, at all events, in the session on which abstract resolutions may be brought before the House. In the meantime, having regard to the necessities of the hour, if the House intends to comply with the law, it should take Tuesdays for financial business.

We have been told that this is a state of things for which the Government is responsible in not having called Parliament together earlier. That is a most unjustifiable statement on the part of lion. Members, seeing that the House had an autumn session. [A VOICE: A very short one.] Not a very long autumn session; but if these days which are now asked for had been added it would have made it abnormally long, and I saw no reason, and see no reason, why this House should be asked to meet earlier than it did. If the question had been put to them, and hon. Members had been allowed to vote according to their inclinations, as to whether the House should be called together on the 14th February or a week earlier. I wonder how the division would have gone. I am tolerably certain that the most officious of my critics would have said they were directly opposed to not giving the House a holiday. I am myself indifferent to the criticisms as to whether or not the House ought to have been called together earlier. As regards the present, we are bound to obey the law, and if the exhibition which we have had for the last two days continues we may have to ask not only for Tuesdays but for Wednesdays also. But I take no right to interfere with Tuesdays, except for Supply, and, therefore, if the House decides to dispose of Supply, the Tuesdays will be restored to private Members, and have no doubt, if the House is offered the plain choice of either discussing and passing the Estimates, or breaking the law, which they will choose. Under these circumstances I hope the resolution I now beg to move will be accepted.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That, until Easter, Financial Business do have precedence on Tuesday whenever set down by the Government, and that the provisions of Standing Order No. 50 be extended to that day."—(Mr. Balfour.)


I am one of those who, as the right hon. Gentleman rightly says and suggests, that the House should have met earlier, and whose suggestion he treated with no little ignominy and scorn, and upon that ground I cannot agree to this proposal. I quite admit that the right hon. Gentle- man, having placed himself in the position in which he stands, can make out a strong case for taking Tuesday, Wednesday, and every other day in the week. But this is not the way to conduct important business of this House, above all the business of Supply, where everything that has to be done is to be done with a sort of Damocles' sword hanging over one's head. We are told that we have to pass these Votes, however large they may be, on a certain day, to do which we must curb our inclinations to discuss them in the manner in which we consider they ought to be discussed. This is not the first time the House of Commons has been asked to take a similar course, but I have never known an occasion such as this in which it was so obvious beforehand what the result would be. There is no novelty whatever in it—the only novelty is the unusual size of the Supplementary Estimates; we knew they would be excessive, but we never had the slightest idea that, at a time when we were to be asked to meet great demands for war expenditure, the Civil Service Estimates would exceed by a million the normal Estimates. In my humble judgment it was the Government's business to have foreseen that the present state of affairs would arise, and to have provided for it by calling Parliament together sooner. Being in this dilemma, the Government are reduced to taking these strong measures. But that does not make me regard the strong measures with the less dislike, and as a protest against them I shall certainly vote against the motion.

MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)

felt bound to protest against the course which had been taken by the Government. The Government would, he thought, get through their financial business much more quickly and much more satisfactorily if they showed some disposition to meet the views of lion. Members, and allowed them to have, retained Tuesdays for discussing subjects in which they were interested. There was no reason why the Government should not get through their financial business without special procedure, and he was bound to protest against the motion.

MR. DALY (Monaghan, S.)

expressed his great surprise at the proposals before the House. He thought it was hardly worth the while of the right lion. Gentleman to make the suggestion that he would only interfere with Tuesdays in order to take financial business, because after that was disposed of hon. Gentlemen would no doubt find the Government Whips at

the doors persuading them not to come in to make a House. He hoped private Members would vote against the motion.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 237; Noes, 144. (Division List No. 33.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex F. Cubitt, Hon. Henry Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Cust, Henry John C. Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T.(Denbigh
Aird, Sir John Dalrymple, Sir Charles Kenyon, James (Lanes., Bury)
Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'ml'ts, S. Geo. Keswick, William
Allsopp, Hon. George Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Kimber, Henry
Anson, Sir William Reynell Dimsdale, Sir Joseph C. King, Sir Henry Seymour
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Knowles, Lees
Arkwright, John Stanhope Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Duke, Henry Edward Lawrence, William F.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Lawson, John Grant
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H. Lecky. Rt. Hn. William Edw H.
Bailey, James (Walworth) Faber, George Denison Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Bain, Colonel James Robert Fardell, Sir T. George Leveson-Gower, Frederiek N.S.
Baird, John Geo. Alexander Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Balcarres, Lord Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Finch, George H. Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S)
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lowe, Francis William
Balfour, Maj. K. R. (Christeh'ch Firbank, Joseph Thomas Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)
Banes, Maj. George Edward Fisher, William Hayes Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Bartley, George C. T. FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose- Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsm'th)
Beach, Rt Hon Sir M. H. (Bristol) Forster, Henry William Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Beach. Rt. Hn. W.W.B. (Hants Foster, Sir M. (London, Univ.) Maconochie, A. W.
Beckett, Ernest William Gibbs, Hr A.G. H. (CityofLond. M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Gordon. Hn. J.E. (Elgin&Nairn M'Calmont, Col. J.(Antrim, E.)
Bignold, Arthur Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'ml'ts Majendie, James A. H.
Bigwood, James Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Malcolm, Ian
Bill, Charles Goschen, Hn. Geo. Joachim Manners, Lord Cecil
Blundell, Colonel Henry Goulding, Edward Alfred Maple, Sir John Blundell
Bond, Edward Graham, Henry Robert Martin, Richard Biddulph
Boulnois, Edmund Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Maxwell, W.J. H. (Dumfriessh.
Bousfield, William Robert Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) Milton, Viscount
Bowles, Capt. H.F.(Middlesex) Greene. Sir E. W (B'ry S. Edm'ds Milward, Colonel Victor
Bowles. T. Gibson (King'sLynn) Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.) Molesworth, Sir Lewis
Brodriek, Rt. Hon. St. John Grenfell, William Henry Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Guthrie, Walter Murray Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh. Hain. Edward Moore, William (Antrim, N.)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Halsey, Thomas Frederick More, Robert J. (Shropshire)
Carlile, William Walter Hambre, Charles Eric Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow
Cautley, Henry Strother Hamilton, Rt Hn. Lord G (Mid'x Morrell, George Herbert
Cavendish, B. F. (N. Lancs.) Hamilton, Marq. of (L'donderry Morris, Hon Martin Henry F.
Cavendish, V.C.W (Derbyshire Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th Morrison, James Archibald
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hay, Hon. Claude George Morton, Arthur H.A. (Deptford
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley) Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm. Heath, James (Stallbrds., N.W. Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc. Heaton, John Henniker Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Chapman, Edward Helder, Augustus Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Charrington, Spencer Henderson, Alexander Nicholson, William Graham
Churchill, Winston Spencer Hoare, EdwBrodie(Hampstead Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Clare, Octavius Leigh Hogg, Lindsay Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Parkes, Ebenezer
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Horner, Frederick William Pemberton, John S. G.
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Penn, John
Colomb, Sir John Charles R. Hoult, Joseph Percy, Earl
Compton, Lord Alwyne Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham Pilkington, Richard
Cook, Frederick Lucas Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow Hudson, George Bickersteth Plummer, Walter R.
Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cranborne, Viscount Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Pretyman, Ernest George
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Johnston, William (Belfast) Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Purvis, Robert Sharpe, William Edward T. Warr, Augustus Frederick
Pym, C. Guy Simeon, Sir Harrington Wason, John Cathcart (Orkne
Quilter, Sir Cuthbert Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Webb, Colonel William Geo.
Bandies, John S. Skewes-Cox, Thomas Whiteley, H.(Ashton-under-L
Ratcliffe, R. F. Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East) Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset
Reid, James (Greenock) Smith, James Parker(Lanarks. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Remnant, James Farquharson Smith, Hon. W. E. D. (Strand) Wills, Sir Frederick
Renshaw, Charles Bine Spear, John Ward Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Rentoul, James Alexander Stanley, Lord (Lanes.) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Staly bridge Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Ridley, Samuel F.(BethnalGrn Stock, James Henry Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.
Ritchie, Rt Hon. Chas. T. Stone, Sir Benjamin Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Ropner, Colonel Robert Stroyan, John Wylie, Alexander
Round, James Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Royds, Clement Molyneux Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier Young, Commander (Berks, E.)
Rutherford, John Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford- Talbot, Rt Hn. JG. (Oxf'dUniv.
Sadler. Col. Samuel Alexander Thornton, Perey M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Samuel, Harry S.(Limehouse) Tufnell, Col. Edward Sir William Walrond and
Sandys, Lieut. -Col. Thos. Myles Valentia, Viscount Mr. Ansiruther,
Seton-Karr, Henry Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E.
Abraham, William (Cork, N.E. Gilhooly, James O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)
Allan, William (Gateshead) Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbt. J. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Allen, Charles P (Gloue., Stroud Goddard, Daniel Ford O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Ambrose, Robert Grant, Corrie O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Asquith, Rt. Hn Herbert Henry Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton O'Dowd, John
Atherley-Jones, L. Haldane, Richard Bunion O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Barlow, John Emmott Hammond, John O'Kelly, James (Roscommon N.
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Harmsworth, K. Leicester O'Malley, William
Blake, Edward Hayden, John Patrick O'Mara, James
Boland, John Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale- O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Boyle, James Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Partington, Oswald
Brown, George M.(Edinburgh) Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H. Pickard, Benjamin
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Hobhonse, C, E.H.(Bristol, E.) Power, Patrick Joseph
Burns, John Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E. Price. Robert John
Burt, Thomas Holland, William Henry Rea, Russell
Buxton, Sydney Charles Horniman, Frederick John Reckitt, Harold James
Caine, William Sproston Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Reddy, M.
Caldwell, James Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a Redmond, JohnE.(Waterford)
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Jones, William (Carnarvonsh'e Russell. T. W.
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Jordon, Jeremiah Schwann, Charles E.
Caustor, Richard Knight Kearley, Hudson E. Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh
Channing, Francis Allston Lambert, George Shipman, Dr. John G.
Cogan, Denis J. Layland- Barratt, Francis Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)
Coghill, Douglas Harry Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Soares, Ernest J.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Leigh, Sir Joseph Spencer, Rt Hn. C. R.(North'nts
Crean, Eugene Leng, Sir John Sullivan, Donal
Crombie, John William Levy, Maurice Taylor, Theodore Cooke
Cullinan, J. Lloyd-George, David Tennant, Harold John
Daly, James Lough, Thomas Thomas, A. (Carmarthen. E.)
Dalziel, James Henry Lundon, W. Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Thom as, F. Freeman-(Hastings
Delany, William M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Dillon, John M'Dermott, Patrick Tully, Jasper
Donelan, Captain A. M'Govern. T. Wallace, Robert
Doogan, P. C. M'Hugh, Patrick A. Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)
Douglas. Charles M. (Lanark) M'Kenna, Reginald Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Duffy, William J. M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan
Dunn, Sir William M'Laren, Charles Benjamin White, George (Norfolk)
Ellis, John Edward Markham, Arthur Basil White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Emmott, Alfred Mooncy, John J. White, Patrick (Meath, North
Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidst'n Morley, Charles (Brecknocksh Whiteley, George (York, AY. R.
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport Whitley, J. H.'(Halifax)
Fenwick, Charles Murphy,, T. Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Field, William Nannetti, Joseph P. Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.
Flavin, Michael Joseph Newnes, Sir George Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Flynn, James Christopher Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N. Yoxall, James Henry
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co. Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) TELLEES FOR THE NOES—
Filler, J. M. F. O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Mr. Herbert Roberts and
Furness, Sir Christopher O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid Mr. Soames.
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