HC Deb 25 April 1902 vol 106 cc1338-432

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [11th April], "That as soon as the Committee of Supply has been appointed and Estimates have been presented, the business of Supply shall, until disposed of, be the first Order of the Day on Thursday, unless the House otherwise order on the Motion of a Minister of the Crown, moved at the commencement of Public Business, to be decided without Amendment or Debate.

"Not more than twenty days, being days before the 5th of August, shall be allotted for the consideration of the annual Estimates for the Army, Navy, and Civil Services, including Votes on Account. The days allotted shall not include any day on which the question has to be put that the Speaker do leave the Chair, or any day on which the business of Supply does not stand as first Order.

"Provided that the days occupied by the consideration of Estimates supplementary to those of a previous session or of any Vote of Credit, or of Votes for Supplementary or Additional Estimates presented by the Government for War Expenditure, shall not be included in the computation of the Twenty days aforesaid.

"Provided also that on Motion made after Notice by a Minister of the Crown, to be decided without Amendment or Debate, additional time, not exceeding three days, may be allotted for the purposes aforesaid, either before or after the 5th of August.

"On a day so allotted, no business other than the business of Supply, shall, except on the last two of the allotted days, be taken before midnight unless it is unopposed, and no business in Committee or proceedings on Report of Supply shall be taken after midnight, whether a general Order for the suspension of the Twelve o'clock Rule is in force or not, unless the House otherwise order on the Motion of a Minister of the Crown, moved at the commencement of Public Business, to be decided without Amendment or Debate.

"Of the days so allotted, not more than one day in Committee shall be allotted, to any Vote on Account, and not more than one sitting to the Report of that Vote. At midnight on the close of the day on which the Committee on that Vote is taken, the Chairman of Committees or the Speaker, as the case may be, shall forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of the Vote or the Report.

"At Ten of the clock on the last day but one of the days so allotted, the Chairman shall forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of the Vote then under consideration, and shall then forthwith put the question with respect to each class of the Civil Service Estimates, that the total amount of the Votes outstanding in that class be granted for the services defined in the class, and shall in like manner, put severally the questions that the total amounts of the Votes outstanding in the Estimates for the Navy, the Army, and the Revenue Departments, be granted for the services defined in those Estimates.

"At Ten of the clock on the last allotted, day, the Speaker shall forthwith put every question necessary to dispose of the Report of the Resolution then under consideration, and shall then forthwith put, with respect to each class of the Civil Service Estimates, the question, That the House doth agree with the Committee in all the outstanding Resolutions reported in respect of that class, and shall then put a like question with respect to all the Resolutions outstanding in the Estimates for the Navy, the Army, the Revenue Departments, and other outstanding Resolutions severally.

"On the days appointed for concluding the business of Supply, the consideration of that business shall not be anticipated by a Motion of adjournment, and no dilatory Motion shall be moved on proceedings for that business.

"Any additional Estimate for any new service or matter not included in the original Estimates for the year, shall be submitted for consideration in the Committee of Supply on some day not later than two days before the Committee is closed.

"For the purposes of this Order two Fridays shall be deemed equivalent to a single day of two Sittings."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)

Main Question again proposed.

*(4.5.) MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

said the First Lord of the Treasury, in the debate on the previous night, expressed a hope that what had taken place on the Second Reading debate would obviate the necessity of going into this Rule in very great detail. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, and but for one or two observations which had dropped from him he would have been inclined to withdrawing Amendment altogether. He might be able to take that course later on, but he did deem it necessary, in the interests of Irish Supply, that Irish Members should have some further statement on this matter from the First Lord. The right hon. Gentleman made a very extraordinary statement. First he said, practically, that Irish debates in Supply were all nonsense—that he admitted was a rough and ready way of putting the right hon. Gentleman's argument. He said that no Irish Member was in favour of reducing a single Vote by a single 6d. paid out of the Saxon Treasury. He deemed that an extraordinary statement for a reason which might not be known to every Member of the House, viz., that in these Irish Votes for the up-keep of the Irish Government there was not a single sixpence extracted from the pockets of the Saxon taxpayer. Of course the Leader of the House knew that perfectly well, he had only adopted a pleasant way of putting a disagreeable fact. As these taxes then were paid solely out of the pockets of the Irish taxpayers, surely the Irish Members had a right to a fair and adequate opportunity for discussing the methods of Irish Government. Did the right hon. Gentleman mean that the discussions in Committee of Supply upon either Irish or English questions did not influence the State Departments concerned—although a reduction might never be carried—in framing the Estimates, or that it did not influence the Treasury in considering the Estimates so framed? He ventured to say that any Member who had at any time been in a Department of the State knew perfectly well that the permanent officials paid the closest attention to the debates in the House, and that the Treasury did the same. There was a good deal in what the hon. Member for East Mayo said on the previous night about the tendency of this Rule being probably in the direction of lessening the interest in these debates in Supply, but at the same time it could not be denied that they were of the greatest service in influencing the permanent officials of the Departments in framing the Estimates for the year. If the right hon. Gentleman meant that the discussions had no effect, what was the logical conclusion?


I never for a moment suggested that the discussions in Supply had no effect. What I said was that, as far as my own observations go, discussions on Supply very seldom are in the direction of economy, they constantly point in the direction of increased expenditure.


said his point was that even in the three or four days now allotted to Irish Supply the discussions that took place were, so far as Ireland was concerned, of the greatest importance to that country. He would give the House one example.


The hon. Gentleman misrepresents me. In the observations I made I was addressing myself to the argument of the hon. Member for East Mayo, an argument which had nothing whatever to do with Ireland, but which dealt with the general effect of our discussions in Supply on the economical side. I never said they were unimportant, on the contrary I think their importance is enormous.


said the night hon. Gentleman argued that in the three or four days allotted to Irish Supply there was plenty of time to denounce everybody from the Lord Lieutenant down to the humblest policeman. That seemed to him at all events to convey the impression that the time was not very profitably occupied. He would put out one case, however, where the debate had been of enormous service. Members of the House had for years been seeking an opportunity of dealing with the Land Judge's Court in Ireland. They were unable to do so until last year when by an arrangement with hon. Members opposite he secured a portion of one of the three allotted days for the purpose. What happened? A debate of two hours duration took place and the result had been that the Land Judge's Court had been entirely transformed. There was not a solicitor practising in the Court who did not admit that. The Land Judge himself had taken the bull by the horns and had framed a new set of rules with the result that the intention of Parliament in passing the Land Act of 1896 was now in a fair way of being carried out whereas before it was simply blocked by officials of every kind. It was all very well to talk about denouncing people in the short time allotted for Supply, but he maintained that that time was not spent in denouncing any body; it was spent in denouncing public scandals. His complaint was that there were a great many such scandals in Ireland, and that three days was too short a period for exposing them. Another hon. Member who spoke on the previous night blamed Irish Members for wasting the time of the House. He was perhaps a new Member, for he said he noticed that on one occasion the Irish Members were discussing a Vote of £16,000 for Irish Local Government, and he thought that a contemptible thing. As a fact they were occupying one of the days allotted to Irish Supply. The hon. Gentleman went on to remark that eventually the Closure was moved, and he was reluctant to vote for it: he did not know he would vote for it again under similar circumstances. But he failed to realise that the Irish Members were discussing a great Department of the State in Ireland, a Department which pre-eminently required discussion, because it was carrying out one of the greatest revolutions that had ever taken place in Ireland since the Act of Union was passed.

If hon. Members made it a ground of complaint that Irish Supply was discussed in this handful of allotted days, they were absolutely establishing the case for Home Rule. What was the great argument of the Duke of Devonshire in 1886. It was that the Imperial Parliament was alike able and willing to do everything for Ireland that ought to be done, far better than it could be done by an Irish Assembly. That was the very foundation of the case for Unionism, and now, when complaint was being made of the manner in which Irish Members used their allotted days, they were fighting against the very basis of the Unionist principle, and they were handing over to hon. Members opposite the greatest possible argument for Home Rule. As regarded Irish Supply, they were endeavouring to crowd into three allotted days the whole administration of Ireland for twelve months. Was not that an absurdity as well as an impossibility? What did it mean Take the case of the Irish police? He had known and the First Lord of the Treasury had known the Police Vote itself to take three days. The Chief Secretary's Vote had taken three days when the right hon. Gentleman was Chief Secretary for Ireland. They had happily fallen now on quieter times, and he was far from saying that anything like three days was now necessary, but let the House look the question squarely in the face. The Government had suspended the Constitution over nine counties in Ireland, and if they were going to coerce—he was not saying whether it was right or wrong—they must expect as a natural result that there would be objections raised to their action. The right of public meeting was one of the most sacred rights possessed by the citizens of this country. The Government were prohibiting public meetings in Ireland they were proclaiming them, and that must cause friction which would be felt in the House of Commons. If the friction had not a reasonable outlet in Committee of Supply it would find an outlet in some other way. Now he was far more interested in the Irish Land Commission than in either the police or the magistracy. What were the facts with regard to the Land Commission? That great administrative body cost £150,000 a year for its mere up-keep. When had they last an opportunity of discussing it in the House? The right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, would reply that as he left the selection of Irish Supply to Irish. Members they alone were responsible for not having discussed it. But they could only have put the Vote forward at the expense of some other Vote and they naturally chose those they believed to be the more pressing and the more urgent. If he was not mistaken there had been no discussion in the House of Commons on the Irish Land Commission for two years. Could anything be more extraordinary than that? The whole methods of the Commission were distrusted by every class in Ireland. The landlords, maintained the right hon. Gentleman, were being ruined by the decisions of the Commission and it was no satisfaction to them to be told that they were being ruined by due process of law. The tenants on the other hand maintained that they were the victims. There were grievances in this respect in every part of Ireland, in Ulster as well as elsewhere, and yet more than two years had elapsed since the Vote for the Land Commission was debated in the Mouse. That was, he ventured to assert, something approaching a public scandal. The other Departments of the State were in the same position. Law charges were certainly discussed last year, but under that Vote something fresh cropped up every year. There were in all thirteen contentious Irish Votes and they were never able to discuss more than three or four in any one session. His whole case was either the House was able and willing to secure the discussion of the Government of Ireland or it was not. There was not a Member of that House who would venture to defend the proposition that the whole Government of Ireland could be discussed in three days, and that was the ground on which he based his Amendment. He had purposely refrained from taking any part in the debates on the Rules of Procedure. He did not want it to be said that he had attempted to obstruct the Government in that matter and had' thus delayed Irish legislation, but he ventured to say that if this House was to go on governing Ireland—and for his part he hoped it would continue to do so—it must be prepared to give adequate opportunity to the representatives of Ireland to fairly criticise the methods of Government. If they were not prepared to do that then they were furnishing hon. Members opposite with the most potent weapon for Home Rule that could be placed in their hands.

Amendment proposed— In line 8, after the word 'Account,' to insert the words 'and not less than five of these days shall be allotted to Irish Supply.'"—(Mr. T. W. Russell.)

Question proposed—"That those words be there inserted."

(4.25.) MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

said he was very glad that an Amendment raising so vital a question as to the amount of time that should be allotted for the discussion of Irish Supply had been moved by an hon. Member who had been, for certainly fifteen years, the stoutest and ablest champion of Unionism in Ireland. He was not surprised in the least that a man so skilled in Parliamentary warfare should see that that question of the adequate discussion of Irish Government had a most important and vital bearing on the question of Home Rule, because their contenction all along had been that Parliament was so overweighted with business that the Irish Members could not get a sufficient hearing for all the grievances under which Ireland laboured in consequence of its centralised Government—centralised infinitely beyond anything the English or Scotch Members could undertsand. The hon. Member for South Tyrone naturally feared that the operation of this Rule would bring home to the minds of the Irish people with greater force than ever, the absurdly farcical idea that the Imperial Parliament was really dealing honestly with their grievances. It would become apparent to all classes that Ireland was living under an uncontrolled bureaucracy. He wished he could bring home to hon. Members, who desired to consider this with a fair mind, the enormous difference that existed between the conditions obtaining in Ireland and those which prevailed in England, Scotland and Wales. The whole system of government in Ireland was so radically different from that obtaining elsewhere, that the amount of time in Committee of Supply which would be adequate for Great Britain would be utterly and manifestly inadequate in Ireland, as anyone who understood the conditions of the country would admit.

He would just illustrate that by one or two cases. Take first the case of the police. In England, Scotland and Wales the police system was a local system, and where grievances existed against the police they were dealt with by local committees, and seldom, if ever, came before Parliament. Only the other day there was a great riot in Birmingham, and serious allegations were made against the police there. But the Police Committee of the City of Birmingham made most careful elaborate inquiry into the whole question. The dispute was settled on the spot, and the matter never came before Parliament. That was the system which obtained throughout Scotland, England and Wales. But what was the case in Ireland? There they had a great force. The Irish Constabulary was practically a military force, governed by military officers, and centralised under a government officer in the castle, over whose operations no one in Ireland had the smallest control. The consequence was that wherever there was a grievance or a riot, or any kind of disturbance, they had absolutely no remedy except to come to Parliament; and when they did that all they could do was to put down a question to the Chief Secretary. What followed? The question was sent across to the very policeman who was accused, and his answer was accepted by the Minister and read out to the House as a full and adequate reply. They were utterly unable, either in Ireland or in the House, owing to the Rules, to bring forward any of the grievances which they had against the police, and there never was a police force in the world which could be trusted to do its duty and to exercise its functions without criticism and without inquiry. Yet, here they had a great military force in Ireland which, owing to the operations of the Rules and to the congested state of Parliamentary business, was absolutely unchecked and uncontrolled, and that in a country where passion ran very high, and where collisions between the police and the people were of very frequent occurrence. That was a most contentious and most important department of public administration, and the difficulty they found in debating it was only one illustration of the enormous difference between Great Britain and Ireland.

He would give another illustration. In Great Britain the ordinary administration of the country was carried out in accordance with the general feelings and opinions of the majority. That was a fair proposition which nobody could deny. It was checked and controlled by the opinions of the majority of the Members of the House, and no Ministry responsible for the administration would refuse to be influenced by those opinions, But when they came to Ireland they were face to face with a radically and totally different state of affairs. He was not going to argue the question whether it was right or wrong that Ireland should be ruled against the will of four-fifths of the people. But the fact was undoubted that the Executive Government in Ireland was out of sympathy with, hostile to and at cross purposes with public opinion in the country, and with the ideas, desires, wishes, and needs of the people. Whatever hon. Members might think necessary for the unity and interests of the Empire that was a great fact to which they ought not to shut their eyes. And if the House really desired and honestly endeavoured to carry out the task of governing Ireland justly and fairly, the representatives of the Irish people ought to be granted a much larger scope for expressing their views in regard to the government of their own country Their only opportunity at present was in Committee of Supply. He had to complain of the tone of the right hon. Gentleman, the First Lord of the Treasury, both on that and on previous occasions, when he suggested to them as a suitable way of using their three allotted days of supply to abuse the Chief Secretary who, at the end of the time would be happy, as they should be. That was turning the whole thing into a farce, and intimating that they were fools who had come over to this country without the slightest knowledge of what was necessary for the people who sent them. It was deliberately said that the whole question of Irish Supply was nonsense, that the time was devoted to silly and purposeless abuse, and that nobody paid the slightest attention to what the Irish Members said. That, however was not their view. If they did not often succeed in achieving very much by their debates, still they did achieve something. There could not be the slightest doubt that the very moment the debate took place, long over due as it was, and only brought about by arrangement between themselves and the hon. Member for South Tyrone, a great reform was affected in the Land Judge's Court. That institution was one of the most monstrous excrescences that had grown out of the Irish system. It so utterly falsified its whole history, as well as the intentions of the legislation which gave it birth, that it became a monstous scandal. But a considerable improvement was apparent immediately after the discussion on its methods took place in the House of Commons.

There could not be the slightest doubt, that, utterly insufficient as was the opportunity they had to deal with police questions in Ireland, debates in that House had some slight effect—he admitted it was very slight—in checking the operations of the Constabulary, and they had been able, in some instances, to bring some of those gentlemen to book. He would ask hon. Members to keep one fact in mind. If they succeeded once in ten years in getting an officer or official dismissed for some gross dereliction of duty that example had the most extraordinary effect on the whole department for years to come, and therefore it must not be supposed that because their discussions were vague, they were idle. They once succeeded in getting an Irish resident magistrate dismissed and disgraced in connection with the Mitchelstown affair, and did they imagine for a single moment that there was not a magistrate in Ireland who did not remember that man's fate? There never was a country in the world where public officers and permanent officials, if left without the check of public opinion for a certain number of years would not lapse into bad methods and abuse the authority with which they were entrusted. Now, he would turn to the ease of the magistracy. There they had another instance of the enormous difference between the Government of Ireland and of this country. One might sit in the House of Commons for ten years and not hear a case brought forward condemnatory of the action of an English magistrate. Why? Because English magistrates were men whose conduct did not naturally come before Parliament. They received no salaries, and the whole of that department of English administration was removed from the purview of the House of Commons. But in Ireland the whole magisterial jurisdiction ought properly to be surveyed every year, if justice was to be done. There they had a body of men whose salaries were charged on the Votes of the House, whose conduct was continually the subject of complaint—in many instances he thought just complaint—and in regard to whom criticism in the House afforded the only real means of exercising a moderating influence. It was absurd to say that such criticism was not necessary, for they had had some very instructive debates with reference to the action of the Irish magistrates.

There was another department of the Irish Government which had been alluded to by the hon. Member for South Tyrone, and which was unknown in Great Britain. In regard to that they had literally had a great revolution—such a revolution as, in his deliberate opinion, had never been carried out in any other country without very violent disturbance. They had had the whole ownership of the land altered and changed, and the work of centuries undone, by a Commission which cost from £150,000 to £200,000 a year, and the work of which was a subject of perpetual complaint. The House had before it almost every second year an Irish Land Bill, and the whole country was the prey of a swarm of enormously able lawyers who helped to render the land system both difficult and expensive. The Irish were supposed to be a purely agricultural people but the one industry on which the whole fabric of their social prosperity was built, was subject to such a system of legislation and confusion and uncertainty that it would be a miracle if Ireland was anything else than it was—a miserable country. If there was a system in England comparable to the system of the Land Commission in Irela d, a week or a fortnight would be devoted to its operations every session: yet because it was in Ireland it was not discussed, and it was not until a new Land Bill was introduced, which was, always positively to be the last, and which yet only continued for about three years, that the House woke up to the fact that the Irish Land question was still with them. That was a department which struck at the root of the social structure of Ireland, and vet owing to the system of Supply which prevailed, it was allowed to continue year after year without any discussion at all. The Leader of the House had said again and again that he had never in recent years heard a discussion in Supply which had the slightest effect in promoting economy, or that such a discussion was the least use in that direction. He himself held a totally different view. The difficulty which existed, before the present Rule was introduced, of pulling Supply through the House, had a great effect on the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Irish Departments. Ministers when asked to increase the Estimates always answered that they had the House of Commons to face, and that they would be kept there God only knew how long. He was, he was sorry to say, a very old man in Committee of Supply, and he had not the slightest doubt that the wholesome fear of Committee in Supply, and the difficulty of getting Votes through had a very considerable effect in checking Ministers when called upon by the permanent heads of Departments to increase the Estimates. What was at the root of the extravagance of public expenditure in Ireland? Dean Swift published a little phamphlet in which he showed that a set of propositions, political, social, and economical, which were accepted all over the world, were reversed in Ireland. Ireland was the poorest country in Europe, practically speaking, and was yet the most extravagantly governed country in the world. That was a fact which ought to weigh in the House. Scotland, a country full of great urban communities which required a greater police force than poor rural districts in Ireland, had only 5,000 police, whereas Ireland in a population now reduced below that of Scotland, had 13,000 armed police, excluding the Dublin Metropolitan Police, or altogether three times the number of police Scotland had.


The hon. Member is now going more into detail regarding methods of Government in Ireland than will be in order on this Amendment. The Amendment is that a certain number of days shall be allotted to Irish Supply, but the hon. Member is renewing the discussion of last night on the general question.


said he did not intend to enter into details, but he dared say he had travelled too far on a subject in which he was greatly interested. The Leader of the House said that whatever might be the use of discussion in Supply in controlling the Executive action of the Government, it was of no use in promoting economy. He wished to show that Ireland was a country which required economy in administration, because it was the most extravagantly governed part of the three kingdoms, not at the expense of the Saxon taxpayers but of the wretched people in Ireland themselves who were; awfully taxed, the money being squandered in the most reckless fashion by the Irish Departments. In his opinion the First Lord of the Treasury took a very narrow view of the whole question. Economy in the last resort in the internal administration of a country rested on the Government, and discussion in Supply, even when not directed to making reductions, if it were productive of, or tended to produce good administration, thereby tended to produce economy. For instance, if the Land Commission and the other Departments concerned could have been brought to end up their work, it would be possible on the day when the land question was settled to reduce the expense of the Constabulary by £1,000,000. Would not that be a great piece of economy? Therefore, he maintained that the First Lord of the Treasury looked at the question from a narrow and a shallow point of view, when he considered that discussion on Supply did not effect economy, because there might not at the moment, be a reduction of the Vote. Everything that tended to improve administration, in I efficiency, honesty, or purity, was making for economy; and, therefore, he said for all the reasons he had stated—the peculiar condition of the Government; the fact that the country was S governed by a body of men out of sympathy with the population; the extravagance of that Government at the expense of the Irish and not the English taxpayer: and the peculiar difficulties of the Irish Members in the House, who were not in any way on intimate relations with the Government—Ireland was entitled to a considerably greater share of the time allotted to Supply in proportion that either England, Scotland, or Wales. He thought Ireland had not been fairly or justly treated in the matter, and that the hon. Member for South Tyrone had made out his case.

(4.55.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR

Although, as I think, I have been seriously misrepresented by the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment and also by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, I do not propose to expend the time of the House in any elaborate defence of my views, which have often been laid before the House. A gloss has been put on a phrase here and a phrase there, but the House at large, who is well acquainted in my opinion, will not imagine that I even for a moment suggested that that criticism which discussion in Supply gives is not a vital and essential part of our system. I have always recommended this Supply Rule to the House largely on the ground that in my opinion, rightly or wrongly, the opportunity for such criticism would be much better under the new Rule to be now embodied, I hope, in our permanent Standing Orders, than it was or indeed could have been under the system it replaced. The hon. Gentleman has given an exact illustration of a view which I share with him. He says suppose—rather a big supposition—that a discussion in Committee of Supply was to have the effect of settling the land question.


I said accelerating a settlement.


Yes, accelerating. The hon. Member asked would not that be a great economy. Of course it would be the greatest of economies, and not only that but the greatest blessing to Ireland, and a hardly less blessing to England, Scotland and Wales. But if that ever did happen from a discussion in this House it would not be a discussion directly aimed at a reduction here or a reduction there. It would be due to those large discussions which are the most important we have in Supply, and which though they may, perhaps, be inadequate to so great a result as that of settling the Irish land question, are undoubtedly of the greatest use. I do not wish to take up in the least a controversial attitude in regard to this Amendment, although my hon. friend must be aware that it is quite impossible for the Government to accept it. But although we cannot accept the Amendment for the reasons I will explain directly, I have been impressed by many of the arguments used on both sides of the House. I entirely agree in both hon. Gentlemen, when they say that the position of Ireland is not on all fours with the position of England, Scotland or Wales. Scotland like Ireland is under a different system of law, from the rest of the United Kingdom; but I quite agree that it would be absurd to give Scotland so large a share of the time allotted to Supply as has been given and ought to be given to Ireland. Scotland resembles Ireland in having her own system of law, but she differs from Ireland in so many particulars, in being less centralised and in being so happily free from these perennial and ancient sources of trouble which have caused so much anxiety to every statesman connected with Ireland, that it would be absurd to put them in the same class. Scotland does not want that time which approaches to a necessity in the case of Ireland. In the same way, I should be the first to admit that in connection with a purely English Department like the Local Government Board, although it deals with a larger population, larger interests, and larger funds, the probability of acute controversy arising is not so great as controversy in connection with Ireland. It is all a question of proportion. I have an absolutely open mind upon the matter. The only thing I am anxious for is that I think no material change ought to be made in the total amount of time fixed, and the House as I understood it last night agreed that that time should not exceed twenty-three days. Well. Sir that brings the total number of days to be allocated to Supply to somewhere in the region of twenty-six days, counting the discussions on Mr. Speaker leaving the Chair and the discussions on the Supplementary Estimates. It is admitted, as the hon. Member for Kings Lynn said last night, that that is as big a slice of the time of the session as could be given to this business. The hon. Member for East Mayo talks as if three days are all that are given to the discussion of Irish Supply. That was the total given last year, but four days is the time that is usually given.


No, no! It was four days last year but it is generally three.


Well, there: have been sometimes four days given but there have never been less than three. But in addition to that, as the House is perfectly well aware, there has been a good deal of time occupied, even last session when Irish passions did not run very high, outside Supply in criticism of the Irish Government. There were two days occupied by Irish Members on the Address, four Tuesday evenings, and part of the days given up to the Appropriation Bill, as well as two or three Motions for the adjournment of the House. All those were opportunities seized by Irish Members, often legitimately and sometimes illegitimately, for the discussion of Irish grievances, and that does not look as if Irish Members have been strictly confined to the four Irish nights in Supply. But I would respectfully ask Irish Members, in no controversial spirit, whether they think that the time at their disposal in Supply is used by them to the best advantage from their own point of view. When I have asked that question before, I have always been answered, "You have given us these days, please let us manage this for ourselves." They have always managed the time for themselves, and the result has been that a great many important subjects are not touched at all, while many unimportant subjects have been discussed at very great length, and even on the important subjects there has been poured a stream of rhetoric which has not always been a fertilizing stream. The hon. Gentleman pointed to a case where last year he was able to get two hours discussion on the Irish Land Court, before the Closure of the Supply, and he said that the result of that discussion was to inaugurate a great reform. I do not know whether the judges of that Court are prepared to admit that that reform was due to that debate; but I am prepared to admit that those two hours were well spent, to the credit of everybody concerned. Well, cannot more arrangements of that kind be made by hon. Members interested in Irish debates? It may be that four days in some years are not sufficient, but sometimes three days are sufficient for the discussion of Irish Supply, but whether it be three days or four days that are given, if hon. Members are really desirous of producing an effect upon this House by the statement of their grievances, they cannot go about it a worse way than by discussing them at great length, and thereby making the debates very uninteresting to Members on both sides of the House. I can assure hon. Members from Ireland that for any grievance, English, Irish, or Scotch, this House is the best audience in the world, whichever Party may be in power, if it is given a chance, and the speeches are made effective, and if the grievances are really brought home. But if the House really gets the idea that a debate is being prolonged without regard to the interest of the subject or to the convenience of the House, Members become weary and disgusted, and the effect which those who are bringing forward the complaint desire to make, is either wholly destroyed or greatly minimised. I feel that perhaps I am giving advice to hon. Gentlemen to whom I have no right to give it, and who are not bound to accept it, but I earnestly assure them that if I were in their place in this House and wished my case to be heard, I should not go about it in the way they have-sometimes done. I know that they will not take the observations I make in bad part, because they are not intended to cast any aspersions on hon. Members, or to convey any criticisms on methods which, if wrong, only injure those who use them. While I do my best to allocate the time of Supply as between the different interests, it is a duty which I would willingly surrender to any competent body which the House may appoint. I think the hon. Member who last spoke is one of those who wish a Committee to be appointed for this purpose.


No, Sir. I am one of those who have strongly opposed that suggestion on more than one occasion.


I regret that I should have made the mistake. Some hon. Members think it is better done by the Leader of the House, and some think it would be better done by a Committee.


From the beginning I have been in favour of leaving it in the hands of the House.


It seems to be the general sense of the House that that duty should be left in the hands of the Leader of the House. I do not take that as being in any way a compliment to myself, but it is a great compliment to the House itself and to the position which I hold. It shows that the fears as to what will happen when other Governments come into power are really vain. I often hear suggestions of the flagitious things which are to be done by my successor in office. Well I quite admit that my successor in this House will be responsible, or at least will suggest, a great deal of iniquitous legislation, and I take the darkest view of his character from that point of view, but no man speaking from this Bench will ever dare to refuse to the Opposition a day for a Vote of Censure or to arrange the discussion of Supply so as to save the Government from criticism. The fact that the House has sternly resisted all suggestions to put the power of arranging Supply into the hands of an independent Committee is a proof that it takes a hopeful view of the conduct of any Leader or Party, and is confident that it is not in the power of any Minister seriously to threaten, and much less to destroy, the general spirit and traditions of the House.

(5.13.) SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)

No one will complain of the tone in which the right hon. Gentleman has dealt with this question. Though, as I happen to know, there is, a considerable difference of opinion on the subject of these Rules, every one will acknowledge the impartial and courteous manner in which the right hon. Gentleman has dealt with them. Whatever may be said as to the right hon. Gentleman's possible successors and their conduct, he will allow me to say that the House of Commons might go farther and fare worse than it has done at the hands of the right hon. Gentleman himself. With regard to the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for South Tyrone, it will be acknowledged that the right hon. Gentleman has made a full admission that Ireland is entitled to more than an exact proportion of the time given to Supply. That is obvious to anybody who considers Irish Government. It is a highly centralised government. The whole government of Ireland depends upon a central administration to a degree which does not obtain in Scotland or England. On the admission of the right hon. Gentleman, Ireland ought to have a larger proportion of time than would be given in the time allotted to Supply. I am one of those who believe that the whole time allotted to the Supply of the three countries is altogether inadequate for peforming the functions that ought to be performed. I have always advocated a system of devolution. If the whole time is inadequate, surely Ireland has some right to complain if out of the whole time you say you can give her only a fraction. It is a fraction of the whole which itself is insufficient for the work. As the hon. Member for South Tyrone has said, if you convince Ireland, or, what is more important, if you convince England that the time at your disposal for the proper examination of Irish administration is too little, you supply the strongest argument for Home Rule it is possible to use. The hon. Member for South Tyrone seems to be in the process of conversion. I do not know whether the success or failure of his Amendment will influence his mind, but, at any rate, I should vote for it, because I think the time allotted is not adequate for the purposes of Ireland. If you say you cannot give more, it is a proof that your system of government is such that it does not enable you to give Ireland the full portion of time she ought to have. It may be a strong argument to convince people of the necessity of adopting some other systems of government, but it is no answer to the contention that the time is not sufficient for the proper bringing forward of grievances. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the real function of these days in Supply is the discussion of grievances. You have, and always will have, more grievances in a country where the administration is I not in accordance with the general sentiments of the people, and for that reason there will always be more grievances to be brought forward from Ireland than from England or Scotland. Unless you establish some different system by which Ireland is given power to deal with her own local affairs, you are bound to give a larger share of time to the examination of the administration of those affairs than is done at present or is likely to be done. Therefore, from that point of view, I feel called upon to support the Amendment.

* MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

said there was a great deal in the arguments which had been put forward in favour of this Amendment. He had failed, however, to perceive in the speech of the hon. Member for South Tyrone, the symptoms of conversion to the policy of Home Rule, referred to by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. On the contrary, the hon. Member has expressed very emphatically views in exactly the opposite sense. What he had said was that if it was established that under the present practice Irish Estimates, and the subjects depending on those Estimates, could not be adequately discussed, it undoubtedly would furnish an argument in support of the views held so strongly by hon. Members opposite. As far as he was concerned, in regard to the allocation of days for the consideration of the Estimates presented to the House, and having heard the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman and others which had been made on the subject, he would be disposed to consider an addition to the time hitherto placed at the disposal of Irish Members.

(5.23.) MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)

said the Motion before the House was to give at least five days to the discussion of Irish Estimates. When the Rule was first introduced it was said that four days was Ireland's proper proportion. He, however, did not admit that any limit should be placed on the time at the disposal of Irish Members, but even supposing four days was the proper proportion, the Leader of the House had practically admitted that they were not enough, because he had plainly said that for reasons given Irish Supply deserved more attention. As to the proposal of the hon. Member for South Tyrone, the Nationalist Members would support it, but with a protest. They denied that any limit should be put upon the time given to the discussion of Irish grievances. Ireland stood in an altogether different position from England and Scotland. The Irish Members were brought to the English Parliament against their will. The Parliament of Ireland, in which these grievances could have been discussed, had been abolished: the English Government had extinguished it in blood and by bribery, and by that very fact they were bound to admit that Ireland was entitled to, and was in fact promised during the Home Rule debate—as much time for the discussion of her affairs as she would have had in her own Parliament The British Parliament was supposed to be a substitute for that of which Ireland had been deprived, and, therefore, no limit should be put on the time at the disposal of Irish Members. The Leader of the House had expressed the belief that more good was to be obtained from large debates on large questions than by the discussion on small matters. In that he agreed, and so far as Irish Members had utilised the time at their disposal by debating small matters that time had been misused. But what were the large questions affecting Irish administration that ought to be discussed? He could name five right off, each of which would require a day. Nobody could deny that the magnitude of the police question was such as to deserve a whole day. The police system in Ireland involved the military occupation of the country. If the South African war ended in the annexation of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, many a day would be spent in this House in discussing the military occupation of those territories, and yet the military occupation there would not differ essentially from that which prevailed in Ireland at the present moment.: Then, too, the question of education surely deserved a day. There were questions of primary, intermediate, and University Education, each of which really require a day to itself. As to the land question, certainly a day would not be too much to devote to the Land Commission and the Land Judges Court. Another matter was the legal administration. The Attorney General had been very happy for the last three or four years, because he had practically escaped all criticism, and yet under his aegis, the law had been, as Nationalists believed, prostituted, had been partial in its operation, and put to; uses which the House, if it were to hear the whole truth, and acted impartially, would condemn. Surely a day for the subject would not be too much.

Then there was the great question of the Local Government Board. Four years ago an absolutely new system of local government was established in Ireland which involved quite a revolutionary change. Larger powers were given to local bodies and to the central authorities. Those were matters which ought to be discussed year after year, not simply for one day, but for severa, days. If they had an Irish Parliament they would not bother their heads about such matters as Fashoda and foreign policy, and the five days they were asking for could be profitably devoted to the subjects he had mentioned. There were many matters which now received no attention at all. Apart from the considerations he had urged there were many other reasons why they should have more time devoted to Irish Supply. The First Lord of the Treasury had said that the Irish Members had other opportunities of debating Irish affairs, such as moving the adjournment of the House, and that they always took advantage of other occasions. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to forget that under the new Rules those opportunities would be further abridged, and the right of moving the adjournment would be largely curtailed, if not absolutely abolished. The fact that they had those opportunities in the past was no argument for not giving them more of such opportunities in the future.

The First Lord of the Treasury said that the Irish Members made bad use of their time by debating trivial points instead of the larger subjects, but what amount of time did they get altogether? Four days at the most and only three days last session. He protested against the statement that they wasted time, for they never misspent a moment. The subjects discussed on those three days last year were questions of first-class importance. They involved such questions as the administration of the law in Ireland and the Land Judges Court, and had they spent six days instead of three debating those questions they would not have misspent a moment of time. He thought Lord Spencer went to the root of the whole question when he pointed out that the reason why Ireland required Home Rule was because the laws for Ireland were made by other people, and no people ought to be expected to obey laws which they did not make. If they wanted obedience to those laws in Ireland they must have them made and approved of by the people themselves. How could it justly be said that they had too much time already to devote to the discussion of such vital questions? He did not believe that they ever misspent a moment discussing any Irish business.

From the point of view of intellectual interest in the debates, every hon. Member ought to support this Amendment. He had watched the operation of Supply since 1885, and he had seldom found much interest attaching to an English debate during that time, except in regard to foreign questions. Upon other English questions nobody ever said anything which was worth listening to, and they never succeeded in getting any reduction or any reform in the administration, except in recent years through the efforts of the Member for King's Lynn. He was the only English Member who threw any humour into the debate. When Scotch debates came on they were so dull that few Members would sit in the House at all, and it was only when they came to Welsh or Irish questions that they got intellectual interest and interesting debates. Therefore, from the point of view of intellectual interest, not a single Member of this House, Scotch or English, ought to vote against this Amendment. He had great pleasure in supporting it, although he did not agree that such a limit should be placed upon the time available for the discussion of Irish grievances.

MR. COGHILL (Stoke-upon-Trent)

said he hoped the First Lord of the Treasury would not accept this Amendment, for the Irish Members already came off very well in regard to the time allotted to Irish Supply. Upon Irish nights few English Members put in an appearance unless there was a count, and at 11.50 the First Lord of the Treasury came in and moved the Closure. If the total number of days allotted to Supply was to be increased, by all means let hon. Members opposite have full scope for discussion, but if the number of days was to be limited to twenty, he thought the Irish Members were making an unfair demand by this proposal. Irish Members had already far greater representation than any other part of the United Kingdom, and if they got three days out of a total of twenty, he thought they would do very well indeed. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not go out of his way to inflict any more days for Irish Supply upon his long-suffering supporters on the Ministerial side of the House. If more days were to be given to Supply he was quite willing that the Irish Members should have some portion of the extra number. His opinion was that the whole of these Rules were bad, and this Rule was one of the worst of all. He was altogether opposed to these Rules, and he meant to vote against them in the Division Lobby.

*(5.40.) MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)

said he wished to state why he should support the Amendment of his hon. friend the Member for South Tyrone. He thought they were asking for very little by this Amendment. The question was whether five days was a reasonable pro portion of time for the discussion of Irish grievances. He could not agree with the First Lord of the Treasury in his under-estimate of the importance of Supply. Last evening he interrupted the right hon. Gentleman with the remark: "What is the use of Supply at all?" The right hon. Gentleman was then arguing that not a penny was ever saved by the protracted discussions upon the Estimates. He had always been taught that the first thing to do in order to protect the constitution was to guard the public purse, to guard and watch Supply, and thus prevent extravagance in those entrusted with the administration of affairs. That was the first business of the House of Commons; and in his opinion it was far more important than any legislation. He had always disapproved of this Sessional Order, which was simply for the convenience of Members of Parliament, who came there to answer their own purposes, whatever their professed object might be in seeking the honour of being Members of Parliament. The whole object of this Rule was to give those hon. Members more leisure, and security that they would always be free on the 12th of August.


Order, order The right hon. Gentleman is now discussing the whole Rule. The only question before the House is as to the time to be given to Irish Supply.


said that, while he disapproved of the limit of twenty days, it was no argument against this Amendment to say that five days was too large a proportion to ask for. It should be remembered that Ireland had peculiar claims in connection with this question of Supply, because the great majority of the Members of the House themselves admitted that they were wholly ignorant of the condition of Ireland, of the circumstances under which the Irish people lived, and under which the law was administered. It was only through the medium of argument in the House of Commons, in the debates on the Irish Estimates, or on Motions for the adjournment of the House, that the representatives of Ireland had an opportunity of explaining to their English, Scotch, and Welsh colleagues what the true state of things was in Ireland, because the Government of the day were always interested in throwing a veil over what was really going on. There were no newspapers in London which really disclosed the proceedings taking place on the other side of the Channel. The only organ that did deal very much with Ireland was The Times, and that great organ always viewed Irish questions with a certain amount of prejudice. That was the paper generally referred to by English. Scotch, and Welsh Members when they wanted to know what was going on in Ireland. The only check, the rod in pickle, as it were, for the various departments in Dublin Castle—and any one who knew what was going on behind the scenes in Ireland knew that he was telling the truth—was the apprehension of discussion on the Estimates. If the Estimates of some years back were compared with those of the present day, it would be found that the First Lord of the Treasury, so far from being warranted in his statement that no economy was ever achieved by discussion on the Irish Estimates, was very much mistaken. For example, the law charges in Ireland, which a few years ago ran up to £170,000, had been gradually reduced by the operation of the criticism of the Nationalist Members, and now they amounted to between £66,000 and £70,000. That might be called cheeseparing, but it had been done by criticism. They had now entered upon a state of vandalism so far as constitutional government was concerned. They had the old, old story renewed—an extinguisher was to be put on Irish Members, so that they could not complain in the discussion of the Estimates of any of the abuses which were perpetrated by the various agents of the law in Ireland. Five days were, in his opinon, inadequate for the discussion of the Irish Estimates, but they must take what they could get, and as the House had adopted the other part of the Rule it would be perhaps unreasonable to ask for more. The Irish Parliament was taken from them, but they retained here some of the constitutional rights that existed from the earliest period of English history. One of those rights in the Irish Parliament was unlimited opportunity of stating grievances and restraining over-taxation. That ought to be one of their rights in this Parliament. Ireland was now burdened with £3,000,000 more annual taxation than it ought to pay, and therefore the Irish Members were more interested than those from England, Scotland, or Wales in keeping a tight hold on the public expenditure. The poverty of Ireland was a byword. The Government were bringing forward a tax upon meal, which was now a first necessity of life in Ireland. They were now putting a gag on Irish Members which would prevent them from criticising the administrative work of Dublin Castle and other departments.

(5.52.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)

said the First Lord of the Treasury had offered some advice, and, by way of enforcing it, declared that there was no audience in the world more ready to listen to a case fairly stated than the House of Commons. He accepted that statement. He thought this was a very tolerant, patient, and kindly Assembly, but in order to have good temper in the audience it was necessary first to have the audience It was a slight condition precedent of which the First Lord did not quite take adequate notice. The First Lord held a great official position in the House and was a man of distinguished Parliamentary ability. The result was that the mere fact of the First Lord rising in his place was sufficient to bring a larger audience to the House to hear his speech, whether the reasoning of the speech was good or bad, or whether the cause was good or bad. But, as a matter of fact, Irish debates took place in the presence of empty Benches, unless they happened to have something of the personal character and the Donnybrook air which gave them a festive interest for English Members. When the First Lord concluded his counsels of perfection to the Irish Members, one of their number got up to speak, but the audience that assembled to listen to the right hon. Gentleman found something better to do in other parts of the House. He did not blame the House for it. It was in the nature of the case It was one of the misfortunes of the whole situation. It was perfectly impossible to expect an audience of Englishmen to be as much interested in the parochial affairs of Ireland as the Irish were in those matters. The hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent was perfectly justified in the somewhat lucid description he gave of Irish debates. What happened was reducing Irish discussion to a farce and a nullity. The same observations applied a great deal more to Scotch debates. Irish debates did sometimes attract an audience, but Scotch debates had the irresistible power—as if there was a cry of leprosy in the land of expelling every Member from the House except the Scotch Members. But there was this difference, that Scotch questions, as a rule, were decided by the majority of Scotch Members.

He thought these debates on Procedure would serve a useful purpose, not altogether contemplated when the new Rules were introduced. The First Lord tonight confessed that he had a good deal of sympathy with the Irish case. If sympathy could save Ireland, she would be one of the happiest and most prosperous countries in the world; but sympathy without relief, as the old proverb said, was very much like mustard without beef. The First Lord had admitted that Ireland had a claim on the attention of the House which did not exist in the case of England, Scotland, or Wales. Ireland had a centralised government, and a system of administration by officials who were not only irresponsible to Irish opinion, but hostile to it, and therefore the one tribunal before which they could bring that body was this House. The action of an English policeman or magistrate was not brought before the House except in rare instances. That was done in the Cass case some years ago, and the House rightly regarded what occurred as an invasion of personal liberty. If Cass cases were as common in England as cases of police violence in Ireland, there would not be a week when the adjournment of the House would not be moved in order to bring forward complaints of interference with personal liberty. The Government of Ireland, from the necessities of the case, was one of the most paternal in the world. What he meant by that was that it attempted to do more than that of any other country in the world. Every cottage and home in Ireland was practically brought under the survey and influence of the law, and therefore the Irish Members ought to have opportunities for adequate discussion in this House. Many hon. Members opposite represented great English towns. They were perfectly safe with their police. They had a Watch Committee in every municipality to protect the liberties of the people against police violence, and the police were the subjects and creatures of the municipalities. In Ireland the police were as independent of public opinion as if they were dealing with anarchists and Nihilists in the streets of St. Petersburg, instead of being in what was supposed to be a free country. The first place he visited when he came to London was Covent Garden Market. He was then able to stop up until five o'clock in the morning in order to see the sights of London without any injury to his health. Everyone who had seen that most extraordinary sight knew that there was centred the most extraordinary congestion of traffic in London. The huge vegetable carts piled with vegetables required police direction to make business possible. He found, to his surprise, a policeman actually condescending to argue with the drivers. The policeman said to one, "You cannot go there," and to another, "Don't you see you cannot do that?" The argument in Ireland would be a blow from a bâton by a policeman without a number, and, therefore, incapable of being identified; and, even if identified, he would be protected by all the powers of Dublin Castle. Therefore the question of the police was one which the Irish Members should bring before the House of Commons as the only tribunal which could deal with it. Then, again, the new Technical Department, a most important and a most useful Department, which all sections of the House combined in passing, had been in existence for three years, but had never been discussed in this House.

So it went on from year to year. The Police Service in Ireland, the Land Commission, the Landed Estates Court, departments all going down to every hearth and home in Ireland, remained undiscussed. What was the reason? The right hon. Gentleman said they had no time. He admitted the grievance, but declared he was helpless. The right hon. Gentleman said that there were only twenty-three days altogether, and that he thought three days was a scant allowance to Ireland, that four days would be a more reasonable allowance, and he did not even exclude the five days proposed by the Amendment, but yet that he had no remedy. He was rather disappointed at the whole attitude of the right hon. Gentleman towards the Rules. [Mr. SWIFT MACNEILL: I am not] His hon. friend said he was not. He was of a more sanguine and just temperament than his hon. friend, who, though a most genial man had a certain fund of scepticism and cynicism in his political character, which he did not sympathise with. He thought when the right hon. Gentleman undertook the question of remodelling the ancient machinery of the House of Commons, he would have displayed a more strenuous spirit. The right hon. Gentleman made speech after speech, and calculation after calculation: but what did they all come to?—that the machinery of the House was bad, had been bad, would never be anything but bad, for the discharge of business. The right hon. Gentleman had no eulogy for the past, and no hope for the future of the House of Commons. That was not the proper spirit in which to approach the question. When all was said and done, the House of Commons was the great inspiring force from which ought to radiate the whole Government of a great and expanding Empire: and when an opportunity occurred, as it had occurred in connection with the Rules, of restoring to that Assembly the dignity and power which by admission it had lost, the right hon. Gentleman ought to have approached it, not in a spirit of pathetic despair, but of strenuous energy and hope, so that its machinery might be made equal to the demands upon it.

He did not intend to be disrespectful to the right hon. Gentleman—he hoped he never was—but the tone of pessimism displayed by the right hon. Gentleman almost reminded him of that sub-acid flavour they occasionally found in the conversation of a jaded professional beauty just on the wane. Somehow or other, she did not find the world as bright, as gay, and as hopeful as it used to be. Men were not what they used to be in the olden time, and their admiration was not so ready. That was not the spirit in which one of the foremost figures of the Empire should approach such a great question as that of fashioning the machinery of this House to meet the wants and needs of a great Empire.


May I make an appeal to the House to come to a decision on this Amendment, which has been discussed at considerable length.

(6.8.) Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 135; Noes, 218. (Division List No. 133.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E. Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Lundon, W.
Allan, William (Gateshead) Ffrench, Peter MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.
Allen, Charles P. (Glouc. Stroud Field, William MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Asher, Alexander Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Atherley-Jones, L. Flynn, James Christopher M'Cann, James.
Barlow, John Emmott Gilhooly, James M'Crae, George
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Goddard, Daniel Ford M'Hugh, Patrick A.
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Grant, Corrie M'Kean, John
Blake, Edward Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick) M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Gordon, Sir W. Brampton Mansfield, Horace Rendall
Burns, John Haldane, Richard Burdon Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe
Buxton, Sydney Charles Hammond, John Mather, William
Caine, William Sproston Harcourt, Rt. Hn. Sir William Mooney, John J.
Caldwell, James Harmsworth, R. Leicester Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Cameron, Robert Hayden, John Patrick Morley, Charles (Breconshire)
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale- Moss, Samuel
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D. Murphy, John
Causton, Richard Knight Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Nannetti, Joseph P.
Channing, Francis Allston Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.) Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)
Clancy, John Joseph Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Condon, Thomas Joseph Horniman, Frederick John Nussey, Thomas Willans
Craig, Robert Hunter Joicey, Sir James O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)
Crean, Eugene Jones, William (Carnarvonsh're O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid
Crombie, John William Joyce, Michael O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Kennedy, Patrick James O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Delany, William Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Donelan, Captain A. Kitson, Sir James O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Doogan, P. C. Lambert, George O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Duncan, J. Hastings Leamy, Edmund O'Dowd, John
Dunn, Sir William Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Edwards, Frank Leigh, Sir Joseph O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.
Emmott, Alfred Leng, Sir John O'Malley, William
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Levy, Maurice O'Mara, James
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) Lewis, John Herbert O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Fenwick, Charles Lough, Thomas Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)
Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Roche, John White, Luke (York, K. R.
Pickard, Benjamin Roe, Sir Thomas Whiteley, George (York, W. R.
Pirie, Duncan V. Sheenan, Daniel Daniel Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Power, Patrick Joseph Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Price, Robert John Soames, Arthur Wellesley Young, Samuel
Priestley, Arthur Soares, Ernest J. Yoxall, James Henry
Rea, Russell Stevenson, Francis S.
Reddy, M Sullivan, Donal
Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. T. W. Russell and Mr. Dillon.
Rigg, Richard Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings
Roberts, John H. (Denbighs) Thompson, Dr EC (Monagh'n, N
Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Dorington, Sir John Edward Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lucas, Col. Francis, (Lowestoft)
Allhusen, Augustus H'nrv Eden Duke, Henry Edward Lucas, Reginald. J. (Portsmouth
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Arkwright, John Stanhope Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Macartney, Rt Hn W. G. Ellison
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Ellior, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Macdona, John Cumming
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Maconochie, A. W.
Austin, Sir John Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir. J (Manc'r M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire
Bailey, James (Walworth) Finch, George H. Malcolm, Ian
Bain, Colonel James Robert Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Manners, Lord Cecil
Baird, John George Alexander Fisher, William Hayes Martin, Richard Biddulph
Balcarres, Lord FitzGerald Sir Robert Penrose- Max Well, W. JH (Dumfriesshire
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Galloway, William Johnson Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Horusey) Garfit, William Middlemore, Jno. Throgmorton
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (City of Lond. Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.
Banbary, Frederick George Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Mitchell, William
Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor) Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Bartley, George C. T. Gordon, Hon. J. E (Elgin&Nairn More, Robt, Jasper (Shropshire)
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks Gore, Hon. G RCOrmshy-(Salop Morgan, David Higgin J (Walthamst'w
Beckett, Ernest William Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc) Morrell, George Herbert
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford
Bignold, Arthur Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Goulding, Edward Alfred Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute
Bond, Edward Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm'nds Myers, William Henry
Bousfield, William Robert Gunter, Sir Robert Nicol, Donald Ninian
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nder'y O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hare, Thomas Leigh Orr-Ewing. Charles Lindsay
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Harris, Frederick Leverton Parker, Gilbert
Butcher, John George Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Heath, James (Starffords, N. W. Pemberton, John S. G.
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Heaton, John Henniker Pierpoin, Robert
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbys'ire Henderson, Alexander Plate - Higgms Frederick
Cecil, Evelin (Aston Manor) Hickman, Sir Alfred Plummer, Walter R.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Hoare, Sir Samuel Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Pretyman, Ernest George
Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton Horner, Frederick William Purvis, Robert
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Houlds worth, Sir Wm. Henry Randles, John S.
Chapman, Edward Hoult, Joseph Rankin, Sir James
Charringto, Spencer Houston, Robert Paterson Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Churchill, Winston Spencer Howard, J. (Midd, Tottenham) Reid, James (Greenock)
Clare, Octavius Leigh Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Remnant, James Farquharson
Clive, Captain Percy A. Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Renshaw, Charles Bine
Cochrane, Hon. H. A. E. Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Staly bridge
Coghill, Douglas Harry Kimber, Henry Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Collings, Rt Hon. Jesse Lambton, Hn. Frederick Wm. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Laurie, Lieut.-General Rutherford, John
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-
Cranborne, Viscount Lawson, John Grant Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Cripps, charles Alfred Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H. Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareham Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)
Crossley, Sir Savile Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Seton Karr, Henry
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Sharpe William Edward T.
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S. Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)
Dickson, Charles Scott Lonsdale, John Brownlee Simeon, Sir Barrington
Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield Lowther, C. (Camb., Eskdale) Smith, Abel H, (Hertford, East)
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent) Smith, H C (North'mb, Tyneside
Smith, James Parker (Lanarks) Tuke, Sir John Batty Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Valentia, Viscount Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich) Wanklyn, James Leslie Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)
Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset Warde, Colonel C. E. Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Stanley, Lord (Lancs) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Stewart, Sir Mark J. M Taggart Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE (Taunton) Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M. Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Strachey, Sir Edward Whiteley, H. (Ashtonund. Lyne Wyndham-Quin. Major W. H.
Stroyan, John Whitmore, Charles Algernon Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset) Younger, William
Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Williams, Osmond (Menineth)
Talbot, Rt. Hn. JG (Oxf'd Univ. Williams, Rt Hn JPowell-(Birm
Thorburn, Sir Walter Willough by de Eresby, Lord TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Thornton, Percy M. Willox, Sir John Archibald
Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Tritton, Charles Ernest Wilson, John (Falkirk)

Question put and agreed to.

(6.24.) MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

said the object of the Amendment which he now proposed to move was essentially a practical one. The most salient fact of the Supply Rule during the few years that it had been in operation was that, although the Government had given a large amount of time—he was almost tempted to think too much—for the discussion of Supply, the whole time was really given to Second Reading discussions of five or six different questions. The whole character of discussion in Supply, of dealing with the details one by one, and with as large a number of questions as could reasonably be brought under discussion, had been put on one side. The Amendment made two suggestions which he hoped the House would consider practical. The first was that all Motions put down by hon. Members in Committee of Supply should be arranged and classified by Mr. Speaker or the Chairman of Ways and Means; that they should draw up from time to time a scheme under which these Motions could be brought before the House in consecutive order. He did not suggest that the exact proportion of time to be given to each discussion should be fixed, as he did not think that would be convenient; but he thought that they would be going a step further in the direction which the right hon. Gentleman intended to go when he first introduced this Rule by passing this Amendment. He did not see any supreme difficulty in Motions being classified from time to time with the advice and suggestion of the Government Whips in consultation with the other Whips of the House; and he had introduced into the Amendment the words "unless the House otherwise directs," because a cast-iron rule of this kind would defeat the object he had in view. To facilitate that object he had inserted in the last line of the Amendment conditions with regard to those who brought Motions before the Committee that were not in existence now. That was to say that instead of giving simply the heading of the Vote as was now done, hon. Members should suggest the object of their Motion. He had never troubled the House much in Supply, but he had noticed that whenever he had put down a Motion for a reduction it was the practice of the head of the Department which the reduction concerned to come and ask what was the object of the reduction. That information was always given, and he thought it would facilitate discussion in Committee of Supply if hon. Members put down on the Paper the intention with which they moved a reduction. A Motion should be specific in its character. He had no desire, in urging the acceptance of this Amendment, to repeat the arguments which had been stated again and again as to the general nature of these Rules and the object of passing them, but he did insist most strongly on this aspect of the working of the Rules. The real idea of this Amendment was that instead, of proceeding at once, as it was conceivable we might be forced to proceed in times to come, to the time limit that had been introduced into the American Assembly, it would be better to have a series of Motions placed upon the Paper authoritatively for a particular day. He thought that if these Motions were specific, and if they were placed, with the authority of the Chair and the House generally, in a specific order on the Paper, the right hon. Gentleman; would be placed in a strong position to apply to the House to conclude a discussion on one subject and pass to the next. There would be a sense of fair play when once the practice was established that a certain time would be given to every question put down on the Paper for a particular day. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed— In line 8, after the word 'Account,' to insert the words 'and, in the consideration of the Estimates, Notices of Motion as to any Vote, or any Item in any Vote, unless the House otherwise direct, shall be placed in order according to a classification to be made by Mr. Speaker and the Chairman of Ways and Means from time to time, and all such Notices of Motion shall specify the object for which such Motion will be made.'"—(Mr. Channing.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


I understand the hon. Gentleman proposes to throw upon the Speaker the task of settling the order in which, not the Votes, but the Motions on the Votes, are to be discussed.


That a scheme should be drawn up for classifying them according to their relative importance.


I have a certain amount of sympathy with the aim of the hon. Gentleman, because it is undoubtedly the fact that sometimes really important issues which the House would like to see dealt with are deferred by some perfectly trivial discussion on an earlier item. But I do not think the plan proposed by the hon. Gentleman would be satisfactory, for two reasons. In the first place, it limits too severely the initiative of the House. As I understand the proposal, nobody would be able to start a discussion unless he had on the Paper a notice of Motion. That would doubtless be an immense convenience to Ministers, and I may incidentally observe that the debates in Supply would be greatly improved if Members would tell the Minister concerned beforehand the points they desired to deal with. The Minister would then be able to get up his case, and it would be for the general convenience of the House. But to say that no discussion should be started without notice is to fetter the House in a manner which I do not think they would tolerate. My second objection is as strong as my first, though perhaps not so easy to state to the House. I think the proposal would throw upon Mr. Speaker and the Chairman of Committees a responsibility which they should not to be asked to undertake. Take the Foreign Office Vote, for instance, and suppose the Speaker or the Chairman had to decide whether we should discuss China or Uganda, I do not think it would be possible to ask those who preside over our deliberations to take upon themselves so invidious or difficult a task. Therefore, though I should like to see some elasticity given to the House in regard to the order in which items should be discussed, I do not think the plan proposed is one to which we could assent.

(6.40.) MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE (Bristol, E.)

said that all would recognise the conciliatory character of the remarks of the Leader of the House, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would draw up a form of words embodying some such proposition as that before the House. There had been a universal consensus of opinion that in some way or another the Motions upon Estimates should be arranged and classified, and surely it was not beyond the ingenuity of the Government to devise a scheme for that purpose. There was, no doubt, considerable force in the objection to placing an undue and almost improper responsibility upon the Speaker in this matter; but, probably, by means of a Committee or by agreement between the two Front Benches, or the two sides of the House, an arrangement could be come to by which the Motions should be regulated. In the proposal on the Paper he could not trace any words which necessitated a Motion relating to the Estimates being put on the Notice Paper. It might be necessary, but it was not definitely stated.


pointed out that the Amendment related to the allocation not of Votes, but of Amendments and notices of Motions in the nature of Amendments to the Votes. Such a proposal, he thought, would not work. It was absolutely impossible to deprive Members of the power of moving in Supply Amendments which were not on the Paper, because, from the very nature of the case, circumstances might arise during a discussion which rendered an Amendment necessary. That being so, it would be impossible to carry out this proposal, because Mr. Speaker or the Chairman of Ways and Means, to whom it was proposed to refer these matters, would not have before him for classification Motions which might be of a most important character. No doubt some system for the allocation of Votes was very desirable. If a scheme could be devised by which Votes would be put in such an order as to ensure each Vote coming on in its turn and none being habitually excluded, as was now the case, the Amendments would come naturally in their place. He agreed that it would not be right to place this duty upon either Mr. Speaker or the Chairman of Ways and Means. Both were officers of the House, with a great deal of work to do, and the amount of detailed examination which would be required in the discharge of this duty ought not to be put upon them. If upon anybody, it should be upon a Committee; and if upon a Committee, it should be upon the Public Accounts Committee. Even then, he had serious doubts as to whether it would work. The Votes might be arranged by taking them from the beginning one year, and from the end the next; or to take the first Vote first in one year, the second Vote first in the next year, and so on. At any rate, he should think some plan could be devised by which the Votes, each in its turn, should necessarily come under review in a favourable position before Committee of Supply. It was, no doubt, a serious defect in our present system, but he did not think the hon. Member's proposal would work satisfactorily, and he should, therefore, vote against it.

MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

said that, while it was clear the particular Amendment before the House would not meet the object they had in view, it was evident that there was a general feeling in favour of something being done in the direction of classifying the different items under particular heads, so that the House should have under its control more than at present the subject it desired to discuss. Possibly, however, the latter part of the Amendment might be adopted without leading to any of the difficulties the First Lord had referred to. It would then be necessary, when notices of Amendments were given, to state the specific object with which the reductions were to be moved. At present, Motions were often put down to reduce the salary of a certain official by £100, but nobody, except the Member concerned, knew the object of the Amendment. The Chairman of Ways and Means had at present very elastic powers in regard to calling on Members: he was not compelled to call on the Members whose names stood first on the Paper, and he frequently exercised that discretion, to the great advantage of the Committee, when he knew that a certain Member desired to raise a question in which the Committee were particularly interested. The Chairman would be able to exercise that power much more freely if the notices of reduction stated in a few words their specific object, and it would also be for the general convenience of the House. He, therefore, hoped the right hon. Gentleman would favourably consider the latter part of the Amendment.


agreed with the objections which had been taken to the first part of the Amendment. He was wholly opposed to the responsibility of deciding on the relative importance of different Amendments being thrown upon the Speaker or any official of the House. The second part of the Amendment, however, stood on a totally different footing. The course there proposed would be to the advantage of the House and enormously to the convenience of Ministers. Speaking from his own experience at the Local Government Board, he knew that Ministers frequently had to exercise great activity in order to ascertain the points that were going to be raised in the discussion of the Votes of which they were in charge. He hoped, therefore, his right hon. friend would undertake to consider some proposal for giving effect to the sense of the second part of the Amendment.

MR. JOSEPH A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)

said it was not always easy to indicate in a few words the matter a Member desired to bring forward. He might desire to allude to the incapacity of a Minister, and it would be very difficult for him specifically to mention that on the Paper. It was, however, very desirable that a Minister should have some intimation [...]and of the subjects to be raised. It would also be for the advantage of the Committee if when one reduction had been moved, no other subject should be permitted to be brought forward until that particular reduction had been disposed of. Frequently when a reduction had been moved to call attention to a particular matter, say China, another Member would rise in his place and discuss the Uganda Railway, although a reduction had actually been moved in connection with China. He thought it would help matters very much in the debate if they could speak on the subject upon which a reduction had been moved.

(6.55.) MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)

said it seemed to him that if anything of that kind were done, it would largely fetter the freedom of discussion. As matters stood at present, if any Member moved a reduction, and spoke upon the question of the Uganda Railway, for instance, there was nothing to prevent another hon. Member discussing some other subject.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

thought there was a great deal in the remarks which had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet. They must guard against the risk of having the whole twenty days of Supply given up to the discussion of special subjects. That might be interesting, but it would not be an effective discussion of the Estimates. The First Lord had stated that he, had succeeded in getting important matters discussed in Supply. His opinion was that they got those subjects too much discussed, for there was nothing so important as the details of these tremendous Votes. They should go through the Estimates from the first to the last, not necessarily every year, but at some time, and look at them in a business-like spirit, from the point of view of this great and growing expenditure. It was the every-day dull business which they ought to endeavour to get a few business men to do in Supply, for the nation required it to be done.

MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)

agreed that if this Amendment were carried, it would be a convenience to Ministers. They were not however, sent to the House to consider the convenience of Ministers, but the convenience of hon. Members at large, and he ventured to say that the carrying of this Amendment would not be for the convenience of hon. Members at large. He agreed that this Amendment threw a most invidious duty upon the Chair, and he felt sure the House would agree with him when he said that the less the Chair was brought into conflict with hon. Members the better.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

appealed to his hon. friend to withdraw his Amendment, and suggested that the First Lord of the Treasury might deal with the matter at some later stage.


said he was quite willing to withdraw his Amendment, and expressed the hope that the right hon. Gentleman would initiate some constructive policy with regard to this question of discussion in Supply.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


said he would now move the Amendment standing in his name, which provided that the Vote or Votes to be considered on each Friday should be determined by the Committee on Public Accounts. At present the allocation was performed theoretically by the Leader of the House on his own Motion and authority, but no doubt in so allocating the days he had certain principles in view, and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would tell the House what they were. His practice seemed to be that he placed the Votes which gave the Government the most money first, and when the Government had got as much money as was necessary for them to carry on their business the right bon. Gentleman then began to consider the Votes in the order of their public importance. If there happened to be great interest taken in a question of foreign policy, the right hon. Gentleman would put down the Foreign Office Vote, or if it was a Colonial question he would put down the Colonial Office Vote. The point he wished to raise was whether it would be possible to relieve the right hon. Gentleman of the duty of deciding these rival claims by referring the question to some other body. He thought that if there was to be any Committee or any other body whatever other than the House itself, it should be the Public Accounts Committee. He was conscious that he was making a suggestion which, it carried out, would in some measure tend to relieve the Leader of the House of responsibility for some of the business of the House, but it would only apply to the days allocated to Supply.

If there was a body to which might be committed the power of allocating the Votes in Supply from week to week—and he thought it would be absolutely impossible to allocate them all at the beginning of the session—he thought the Public Accounts Committee, with its special knowledge of and special competency in relation to the Estimates, was the body to whom the responsibility should be entrusted. This Committee bad always been recognised as the body to deal with the Estimates, and no essential change in the form of Estimates could properly be made without previous consultation with the Committee on Public Accounts. He had several extracts from Treasury Minutes to support that contention, but he did not think it would be denied. If this Amendment received favour in the eyes of the House the Committee on Public Accounts would every week receive those appeals which were now made to the Leader of the House, and would consider them. Of course, the Public Accounts Committee would readily recognise that the Government must at an early period have some of the larger Votes to go on with. The Committee would consider the various claims for interesting and important subjects in connection with the policy of the country.

MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

Would they take evidence?


said the Committee would take no more evidence than the Leader of the House at present did. They would allocate the Votes for the succeeding week, and on the Friday they would give notice to the House as to what Votes had been allocated for the following Thursday. He was not quite certain that this was a practical suggestion, and be should be glad if the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, who was sitting opposite, would favour the House with his views upon this question.

Amendment proposed— In line 8, after the word 'shall.' to insert the words" be allocated each week to such Vote as may be determined by the Committee on Public Accounts, and notice shall be given of the allocation so determined at the Friday sitting of each week, and the allotted days shall.—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


The hon. Gentleman has expressed great doubts as to the proposal he has made. I confess that I think it would not be practicable, and that the only principle we can act upon is to leave the whole responsibility of these matters on the Leader of the House. Whether or not any particular subject is one which the House ought to have an opportunity of discussing, is a question upon which he has much better mean; of ascertaining the views of hon. Members than any Committee whatever. I do not know how a Committee would get at the sentiments of the House. They might be very much divided, and that would be a very great danger. We ought to have one man responsible for this, and if you trust the Leader of the House I think it is far better.


I do not think I need say anything on this matter. My hon. friend has avowedly put this forward rather, as a subject for the House to consider than a plan to which he is attached. He was not. I think, present in the House when his Amendment was discussed in connection with the previous Amendment, upon which we have already had a big discussion. The tight hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, and the hon. Member for East Mayo, although they did I not agree in everything, were a greed in this, that we should devolve on no Committee of the House the duties of the Leader of the House. As far as I am concerned, I should be very glad to see that work devolved on a Committee, but I do not think that is the general view of the House, and under these circumstances I trust that we will not embark on what would be a very academic discussion which would not lead to any practical result.


said the Minister of the Department must be the person to settle and allocate the order in which the different items in his Vote should be taken. If there was any special question which did not come under any particular item, the Secretary of State could arrange to have it taken up on the Vote for his own salary if there was a feeling in the House that the matter should be discussed. All these matters should be left entirely to the Minister of the Department who had charge of the Vote, who would indicate to the Leader of the House the day he wanted for the discussion. As Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, he said the Committee would be unable to accept the duty the Amendment proposed to cast upon it.

MR. GODDARD (Ipswich)

said that it would be an unwise thing to take away responsibility from the Leader of the House with regard to the allocation of Votes. He objected to the suggestion that the work should be devolved on the Public Accounts Committee, on the ground that that Committee had already quite as much to do as they could possibly find time for. If they were to undertake to allocation of the Votes in the way proposed, they would be obliged to give to that work a certain amount of time which ought to be devoted to their more legimate duties. He appreciated the desire to see a better allocation of the time in regard to the Estimates, but he thought if there was to be any real economy in the administration of the affairs of the country it would not be by discussing large and important items, but by dealing with certain small items which had grown up in the Estimates by degrees, and which in his opinion would only be got rid of by degrees.


asked leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.


moved that the words "for war expenditure" be left out of the third paragraph of the Standing Order. He explained that the object of this Amendment was to provide that the time devoted to the discussion of all supplementary estimates, whether for war expenditure or any other purpose, should not be counted in the twenty or twenty-three days allotted for business in Supply. He asked the House to consider what would be the effect of passing the proposed Rule as it stood. They had already allotted twenty days for business in Supply, but there were certain items which, under the Rule, were to be outside of the twenty days' limit; and if the Government desired a vote in respect of any one of these items, it was to be taken out of Government time, and not out of private Members' time. Consequently the one object of the Government would be to keep everything within the twenty days if possible. But if the Government presented any supplementary estimate it ought to be outside of the allotted days. The words "for war expenditure" which he proposed to leave out were not, he believed, in the Rule when originally proposed as a Sessional Order, but somehow they were introduced at a later period.


When I moved the Rule last year it seemed to me that it was not right that so big a subject as the supplementary War Estimates should be included in the twenty days, as they might raise questions of policy, and ought therefore to be excluded from that computation.


said he wanted to go further, and to provide not only that no supplementary estimates for war expenditure, but that no supplementary Estimates at all ought to be included in the twenty days. A supplementary Estimate was a thing which, by the rules and traditions of the House, ought very rarely to be presented; but in recent years there had been a great number of supplementary Estimates. He was not prepared to say that supplementary Estimates were always wrong. There were occasions when unexpected expenditure had to be provided for. Whose time was to suffer when such Estimates were brought forward? Surely not the time of private Members, which was already far too small. Nor should the time be taken out of what he regarded as the already insufficient twenty days. If the Estimate was supplementary so should the day be supplementary. This was a reasonable Amendment, and would only restore the Rule to what it was before last year. He moved.

Amendment proposed— In line 15, to leave out the words 'for War Expenditure.'"—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question,"


said he attached the greatest importance to this Amendment, and he trusted that the House would carefully consider what the mover had said. He thought hon. Members, if free to express their views, would be of opinion that the clause which they had passed was a very severe one. Now they were dealing with a proviso which excluded some things from the sweep of the resolution just passed. A tremendous encroachment might be made on the days allotted to Supply if supplementary Estimates were included in the operation of the Rule. War expenditure was not a bit more interesting and important and might not require a bit more consideration from the House than other new matters which suddenly came before them. Suppose they were asked to give a grant for famine in India, that would surely be a matter requiring some time for discussion, and that day should not be taken out of the twenty days. Tin's year they were already warned of a supplementary Estimate for the West Indies. He did not think it would be fair to take a day for that out of the twenty days. During the past few years supplementary Estimates had become a perfect scandal. In the last ten years there had been a steady and continuous growth of the moat alarming character, with the result that a great stimulus had been given to extravagance. They did not know the circumstances which the future might bring forth, and that, being so, they ought carefully to guard the twenty days which had been allotted for business in Supply.

(7.30.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR

I do not propose to traverse the whole of the speech of the hon. Gentleman, otherwise I might be tempted to comment on one phrase he let fall—that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was incapable of speaking in firm language to his colleagues or to anyone else. My right hon. friend has been subjected to many criticisms, like every public man, but I think no criticism has ever been passed on him which is so wide of the mark as that. The two hon. Gentlemen who have spoken on this Amendment to the same effect have not shown much gratitude, I do not think they have shown any gratitude, for the change made last year. I think that change did exclude from the limit of the twenty days that kind of supplementary Estimate which ought not to be brought within that limit, but it is evident that there are a great many supplementary Estimates which it would be very absurd to take outside that limit. Suppose a Committee on the ventilation of this House were to report that some structural alteration was immediately required, and that a supplementary Estimate was introduced for that purpose, I think it would be very improper that a Government Bill, by hypothesis devoted to some very important subject, should be trenched upon to an unlimited extent by the discussion of a supplementary Estimate of that character. Or take a Bill appointing factory inspectors, which required some immediate expenditure, and that a supplementary Estimate is introduced, as not infrequently happens, I think it is quite right that such an Estimate should fall within the ordinary limit of our Supply Rule. But I am quite ready to admit that there may be questions of a wholly new service being started—some subject not included in the ordinary Estimates of the year, something which has arisen since the ordinary Estimates were framed, and, not only that, but something which cannot be fitted in to the ordinary Estimates, something which is not a supplementary Estimate in the ordinary use of that word, which is not merely an increase in a Vote which the House has already sanctioned, and which, judging by past experience, it would be prepared to sanction, if, in such a case, it will be taken as a serious concession by the Mouse, and if it will shorten the debate, I shall he prepared, not indeed to accept my hon. friend's words, but to accept words which go a good way in his direction. If the House will be prepared to take it as a useful concession, I will be prepared to move such an Amendment. I shall be prepared to move at the end of line 13 the following words— Any new service not included in the ordinary Estimates of the year. That does not go the whole way asked for by the hon. Gentleman opposite, but it does, I think, meet the most important part of the objection which has been raised, and if the House will accept it as a compromise I shall be very glad to move it.


said that undoubtedly the concession of the right hon. Gentleman was a very important one. There was another concession made in the Rule by the right hon. Gentleman to which he would invite the attention of the hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn. In line 59 it is proposed that— Any additional Estimate for any new service or matter not included in the original Estimates for the year shall he submitted for consideration in the Committee of Supply on some day not later than two days before the Committee is closed. That bore on the present concession of the right hon. Gentleman. Last year it so happened that an entirely new service was started towards the end of the session, which had no reference to any service of the year, and which was closured without any discussion. A loan of £75,000 was sanctioned which was absolutely apart from any service of the year hon. Members would observe that it was now provided that any new service should be submitted to the consideration of the Committee of Supply on some day not later than two days before the Committee was closed. He raised the point last session, but was not successful, as it was ruled that inasmuch as the notice was on the paper a fortnight before, and during days when Supply was discussed, although it was not reached, it should betaken as having been submitted to the consideration of the Committee.


I think the hon. Member is a little premature in raising that point. It is entirely a different point from that now before the House.


said that if the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment were carried the provision to which he was referring would be rendered unnecessary, because when any new service or supplementary Estimate not dealt with in-provided for in the Estimates of the year was proposed it must be taken not within twenty days but in time provided by the Government.


Any new service not included in the ordinary Estimates of the year, such as the loan referred to by the hon. Member, would be a new service, and if the Rule is passed in the shape in which it appears on the Paper, and with this Amendment— Not later than two days before the Committee is closed. it would not come within the purview of the twenty-three days at all.


said that the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman would do away with the difficulty which arose last year, and, that being so, he thought the concession a very substantial one.


asked whether it was proposed to make any distinction between "service" and "matter."


I think "matter" will be excluded, but it will be absolutely clear and beyond any doubt or question.


asked if there would be any distinction between Amendments to Ordinary Estimates and Amendments to what were called Original Estimates. If the right hon. Gentleman would look at the sentence beginning at line fifty-seven he would see that "original" was the word used.


I will tell the House, exactly why we have put in "ordinary" instead of "original." I understand from my hon. friend the Secretary to the Treasury that even-year a Civil Contingencies Fund has to be introduced as a Supplementary Estimate. That is an inevitable part of the financial system of the country, and I believe it would be interpreted as an original Estimate of the year. It is quite clear, however, that that ought to be included within the twenty-three days. It is to make that quite clear that we have put in "ordinary" instead of "original' but if it is distinctly laid down that such an estimate as that is not excluded from the twenty-three days. I will have no objection to "original," though I think the other word is better.


said be thought that there should be some amendment in the language used in the last part of the Rule as to "service" and "matter."


I think we may do that.


said he thought that "matter" was of some importance. There might be no new service, but there might be such a thing as the purchase of a large piece of land. That would not be a new service, but it would be new matter. The words were originally "service or matter" and he could not see what objection there was to their being retained.


said they were all agreed as to the substance of the concession, but the ruling last year did not carry out the original intention. They were called upon last year to vote £6,500,000 as a grant in aid for the new Colonies. It might have been held that that was not a new service, because it was a Colonial Office grant, but it was new matter no one could doubt. He was quite Mire that the intention of the right hon. Gentleman was that his concession should cover such a case as that.

(7.45.) MR. BRYCE

said it seemed to him that "service" and "matter" were not necessarily the same thing, and that the word "matter" might be ruled to cover simply the object, not necessarily the means by which it was to be obtained. The word "matter" implied more than "service," and might be necessary in order to cover a new form of obtaining the object of the vote, He would suggest, therefore, that it would be safer to include the word "matter," and the real object of the right hon. Gentleman would be better attained by including it. He hoped that what had been said about supplementary Estimates would not be forgotten, and if the debate exercised any influence on the Departments in the direction of dispensing with supplementary Estimates it would have done good. When he entered the House of Commons twenty-two years ago supplementary Estimates were rare. It was considered rather a blot on a Department to have a supplementary Estimate, and the Minister in charge apologized to his colleagues for it. They were now so common, however, that that uneasy feeling had disappeared.


said they were all quite agreed as to the compromise, but it was extremely difficult to know how to express it. There might be some substance in the contention of his hon. friend. Cases might be imagined in which "service" did not include "matter," but certainly, "matter" might be interpreted to include things which might be in the nature of ordinary Supplementary Estimates, things which could not be said to lie outside the Rule. He thought the case would be met by the insertion of the words "or for any new service not included in the Estimates of the year."


said there was another point on which he would like to have the opinion of the Secretary to the Treasury. Take a grant in aid to Jamaica, for a steam-ship service—that was a Colonia Office grant. He knew that the First Lord would never dream of excluding that, but it was totally new matter, and it might be ruled by the Chair to be not a new service but a Supplementary Grant in aid.


said the case which had been instanced by the hon. Gentleman was clearly one which would be excluded from the twenty-three days. He reminded the hon. Gentleman that so right was it thought that a distinction of this kind should be made that in the previous year, although this Rule was then in force, it was brought in as a separate Vote.


agreed that that was so, but pointed out that there was no ruling from the Chair. That was a voluntary act.


said the hon. Member might be satisfied that if a ruling could have been obtained it would have been, but such a thing never occurred to their minds. It was thought proper to treat that Vote in a particular way, and it was so treated. He certainly thought that that class of case ought not to be included.


said it might make the discussion a little easier and facilitate the matter if he withdrew his Amendment in order to allow the right hon. entleman to move his. He therefore begged to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed— In line 15, after the word 'Expenditure,' to insert the words or for any new service not included in the ordinary Estimates for the year.'"—(Mr. A. J. Balfour).

Question proposed, "That the words be there inserted."


said that subsidies were given to Jamaica for steam-ship service and for the provision of sugar factories, which were covered by the ordinary Estimates, but supposing a further amount was given for the purpose of roviding a bounty on sugar it might be said that that was a new service when it was only a new matter on which items were introduced referable to the same service. But at the same time it was desirable that whenever there was anything in the nature of new policy or I new application of matter, to which argument should be addressed, it should be excluded.


said the case put by the right hon. Gentleman would be a new service. If the word "matter" as well as the words "new services" were introduced it would be almost impossible to deal with any addition to an existing Vote even of the most cogent kind. The Factory Act recently introduced, for instance, would necessitate some fresh expenditure on the part of the Home Office, but no one would contend that an Estimate of that kind, which raised no question of principle, should be excluded from the twenty-three days, and ought to form the subject of a separate debate outside the Rule. Again, the coal duties imposed last year necessitated a larger amount being granted to the Customs for the purpose of providing extra staff to deal with them, but that was not a case to exclude from the ordinary discussion on the Vote. He hoped the House would accept the suggestion of his right hon. friend, and be content to take the words in the form in which they were.


said although he attached considerable importance to the word "matter," he was prepared to relinquish it, because this debate would carry conviction to any Chairman of Committees who chose to read it as to the real meaning of the word that was intended to be used. What they wanted to ensure was that if any new policy or new idea occurred to the Government requiring a new item, that should be outside the allotted days. The Amendment he now moved was really a consequential Amendment to his previous one. A matter of this kind should not be left to a Minister of the Crown alone but to the House as a whole. This was to be a Standing Order for ever; it would stand when this Government had gone and another Government occupied its place. It might be that a Minister would come into power who would refuse to give the three days when they were necessary; then he thought it should be in the power of an ordinary Member to propose the three days. He would be quite content if his right hon. friend would accept the Amendment to leave out the words "by a Minister of the Crown," without inserting anything in their place. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed— In line 17, to leave our the words by a Minister of the Crown.'"—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


I have no objection to my hon. friend's Amendment. I do not think it will ever be done except by a Minister of the Crown.

Question put and negatived.


congratulated himself in finding the right hon. Gentleman in so yielding a mood. The House was dealing with the second proviso of what they considered was a bad Rule, and they were endeavouring to improve the Rule. He desired by his Amendment to leave out the words "not exceeding three days." There was something of the forcibly feeble in the wording of this Rule as it stood. It looked as if the Government were afraid of themselves. The First Lord had not got all he desired under this Rule, and he was dealing with a proviso for getting a few more days. Then why put a restriction on himself or the House in this matter? It was almost insulting to the Ministers and to the House to leave it as it was. The last six years that had passed would show that it was almost impossible to fix any rule as to what time should be devoted to the discussion of Supply. Last year £212,000,000 had to be provided; seven years since, only £106,000,000. He could not see the slightest reason why the First Lord should put into the Standing Orders of the House a restriction to which he would be unable to adhere, and he therefore begged to move the Amendment standing in his name.

Amendment proposed— In line 18, to leave out the words 'not exceeding three days.'"—(Mr. Lough.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'not exceeding' stand part of the Question."


I think the hon. Member must perceive that this Amendment, if carried, would destroy the whole principle of the Rule, and practically give an unlimited amount of time to the discussion of Supply. It would not be possible for us to assent to so wide a change in our proposals, and I hope, after the lengthened discussion we have had on this question, the hon. Gentleman will not think it necessary to go to a division.


pointed out that last year thirty-six days were given to Supply, seven of which were allotted to supplementary Estimates. That was not much above the average of recent years, and it was four days above the average up to 1896, since when, however, the expenditure had enormously increased. Under this Rule, no more time would be given in a year of abnormal expenditure than in a year when the expenditure was less by many millions. Elasticity was absolutely necessary in this matter, and a strong case had been made out against restricting the discussions in Supply to a limit which had never in practice obtained.

MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)

thought that if the right hon. Gentleman would give an indication of his intention to accept an Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Cork (to insert "Five" in place of "Three") it would shorten the discussion. The business of Supply was becoming more and more serious each year, and instead of the period devoted to it being shortened, it ought, at least, to be as long as heretofore. There was not at all sufficient time to discuss Irish Estimates, and the right hon. Gentleman should remember that whenever he thought a debate had reached its proper limit he had the closure at his disposal.

(8.13.) Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 138 Noes, 95. (Division List No. 134.) (8.25.)

Acland-Hood., Capt. Sir Alex. F. Gardner, Ernest Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Allhusen, Augustus Hry Eden Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lon. Myers, William Henry
Arkwright, John Stanhope Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Pierpoint, Robert
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gordon, Hn. J. E (Elgin&Nairn) Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Austin, Sir John Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon Plummer, Walter R.
Bagot, Capt. Jo celine FitzRoy Gosehen, Hon. George Joachim Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bain, Colonel James Robert Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Pretyman, Ernest George
Baird, John George Alexander Green, Walfor D (Wednesbury Purvis, Robert
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Greene, W. Raymoud-(Cambs) Randles, John S.
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Greville Hon. Ronald Rankin, Sir James
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Hare, Thomas Leigh Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Staly bridge
Bartley, George C. T. Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Beckett, Ernest William Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.) Rutherford, John
Bousfield, William Robert Helder, Augustus Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Hermon-Hodge. Robert Trotter Sharpe, William Edward T.
Bull, William James Hickman, Sir Alfred Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Carlile, William Walter Hope, J F (Sheffield Brightside) Spear, John Ward
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Howard, J. (Midd, Tottenham) Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Cautley, Henry-Strother Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Stanley, Hon Arthur (Orm'kirk
Cavendish, V. CW (Derbyshire) Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh) Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore'r Kimber, Henry Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Chapman, Edward Laurie, Lieut.-General Stewart, Sir Mark J. M Taggart
Charrington, Spencer Law, Andrew Bonar Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Clare, Octavius Leigh Lawson, John Grant Thornburn, Sir Walter
Clive, Captain Percy A. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Thornton, Percy M.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos, H. A. E. Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S Tritton, Charles Ernest
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Tuke, Sir John Batty
Compton, Lord Alwyne Long, Rt Hn Walter (Bristol, S.) Valentia, Viscount
Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas Loyd, Archie Kirkman Wanklyn, James Leslie
Cranborue Viscount Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Wason, John Catheart (Orkney)
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Whiteley, H. (Ashtonund. Lyne
Dalrymple, Sir Charles M'Calmont Col H. L. B (Cambs. Williams, Col. B. (Dorset)
Dickson, Charles Scott M-Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.) Willox, Sir John Archibald
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. M'Killop, Jame (Stirlingshire) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Dorington, Sir John Edward- Manners, Lord Cecil Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Maxwell W J H (Dumfriesshire Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Wilson, J. W.(Worcestersh., N.
Fardell, Sir T. George Middlemore Jh Throgmorton Wodehouse, Rt Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Mitchell, William Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Molesworth Sir Lewis Younger, William
Finch, George H. More, Robt, Jasper (Shropshire)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Morgan, David J (Walthamst' w
Fisher, William Hayes Morrell, George Herbert TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Forster, Henry William Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford
Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Galloway, William Johnson Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Esmonde, Sir Thomas M'Crae, George
Allan, William (Gateshead) Fenwick, Charles M'Hugh, Patrick A.
Allen, Charles P (Gloue., Stroud Ffrench, Peter M'Kean, John
Ambrose, Robert Field, William M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Flynn, James Christopher Mansfield, Horace Rendall
Blake, Edward Gilhooly, James Morgan, J. Lloyd (Catmarthen)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Goddard, Daniel Ford Moss, Samuel
Brunner, Sir John Tomlioson Grant, Corrie Murphy, John
Caldwell, James Hammond, John Nannetti, Joseph P.
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Harmsworth, R. Leicester Newnes, Sir George
Channing, Francis Allston Hayden, John Patrick Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway, N.
Clancy, John Joseph Hayter, Ht. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)
Coghill, Douglas Harry Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Nussey, Thomas Willans
Condon, Thomas Joseph Jones William (Carn'rvonshire O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)
Crean, Eugene Joyce, Michael O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary M I.
Creamer, William Randal Kennedy, Patrick James O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Dalziel, James Henry Leamy, Edmund O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Leigh, Sir Joseph O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W)
Delany, William Levy, Maurice O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Lundon, W. O'Dowd, John
Dillon, John Macdonnell, Dr. Mark A. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Donelan, Captain A. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon N.)
Doogan, P. C. MacVeagh, Jeremiah O'Malley, William
O'Mara, James Roche, John Weir, James Galloway
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Roe, Sir Thomas White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Pickard, Benjamin Sheehan, Daniel Daniel White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Pirie, Duncan V. Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) Whiteley, Geo. (York, W. R.)
Power, Patrick Joseph Soares, Ernest J. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Reddy, M. Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. Northants) Young, Samuel
Redmond, John E. (Waterford Sullivan, Donal
Rigg, Richard Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, K. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Lough and Mr. Charles Hobhouse.
Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
(8.55.) MR. FLYNN (Cork Co., N.)

moved an Amendment to provide that five, instead of three, days additional might be allotted, if necessary, for Supply. He considered it a mistake to lay down any limit for the number of days to be given to Supply, because the time required must alter according to the exigencies of the public business brought before the House. Looking at the course of the debate he was rather surprised at his own moderation. He was sorry that he did not propose that six or seven additional days might be allotted in order to give the Government a chance of allowing five. It must be quite obvious that as the session proceeded many circumstances might arise with regard to foreign or colonial policy, or questions of Irish administration might occur, which would demand in the public interest, and not unreasonably, something more than the three additional days which were to be allotted under the proposed Standing Order. He found from a Return which had been issued with regard to business in Supply last year, that twenty-seven days were given over to Supply. One of these days was taken up with the Vote to Lord Roberts. Of the other twenty-six days, twenty were allotted days. Why should they be tied down arbitrarily this year, and for all subsequent sessions, to three days in addition to the twenty allotted days, when last year they were able to get seven extra days. After the debate of this evening he thought it would be generally conceded that if any Members in the House were interested in getting extra days for Supply, and extra facilities for the discussion of the action of the Executive, they were the Members sit ting on the Irish Benches. If five additional days were allowed, they might look forward to a larger share of time for the discussion of the Irish Estimates, but if only three days were given their chances would be very poor indeed" The First Lord of the Treasury seemed to accept the position that Irish grievances should be brought before the House of Commons, and that they had a special claim, owing to centralised administration of Ireland, to a larger amount of time than under other circumstances would be given. But while admitting that, the right hon. Gentleman gave no promise, no indication, and no guarantee that the Irish Members would get more than two or three days out of twenty-five or twenty-six days. He was rather surprised at his own moderation in moving to increase the number of extra days to five only; but he was under the impression that the First Lord of the Treasury would not insist on a hard and fast rule of twenty days. They were now bound down to twenty days, and, that being so he thought they were entitled to the claim that more than three extra days should be given. It was well known that towards the end of the session there was always pressure of business, and it might happen that of the extra days proposed in the Standing Order, two might be occupied in discussing a Colonial Office or a War Office question, leaving only one day to the general business of Supply, and no Minister or private Member could move for a further day. That was a very arbitrary and unnecessary restriction, and was confining the Committee in Supply to very narrow limits. He thought the Amendment was a very reasonable one, and should commend itself to hon. Members generally.

Amendment proposed— In line 19, to leave out the word 'Three,' and insert the word 'Five.'"—(Mr. Fiynn.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'Three' stand part of the Question:"

(9.5.) MR. FIELD

said the Amendment appeared to him to be deserving of consideration. It would be remembered that last year a very extra-ordinary scene occurred by reason of the fact that an enormous sum of money was closured without any consideration having been given to it by the House. He held that the Irish Members had a very important duty to perform, altogether different from the duty of; Members representing English or Scotch constituencies, by reason of the fact that: the administration of Ireland could only come under the purview of the House in discussion of Supply. At the present time, Ireland was governed in a peculiar way which did not apply to Great Britain, and consequently the Irish Members ought to have an opportunity of utilising debates in Supply, in order to bring forward matters which affected their country. There was another argument which might be reasonably adduced, and that was that the business of Supply and the amounts concerned were increasing year by year, and apparently the desire of the Government was that, according as the amount of Supply to be voted increased, the time at the disposal of the House for its consideration should decrease. He thought it was reasonable that, as the demands of the Government increased, the time to be given to the House for their consideration should be correspondingly increased; but apparently the desire of the Government was to escape that criticism which should be exercised by the House. He therefore thought it was reasonable that the Government should grant two extra days. He did not wish to repeat arguments which had been already used, but he thought it would be neither for the benefit of the House nor the country that subjects which required attention should not receive due consideration in the House of Commons. It was the unexpected that always happened Something might occur in connection with the war, or there might be a big scheme of expenditure resulting in long debates, and hon. Members knew that when a debate began it was impossible to tell when it would end. Irish Supply was generally left to the end of the session, with the result that very often the Irish Members got no chance at all of discussing questions of the utmost importance to Ireland. He hoped some expression of opinion would be given that the matter would receive consideration. Considering the circumstances under which Ireland was governed, the Irish Members were entitled to special facilities for criticising the Irish administration, bat under the new Rules those facilities would be considerably decreased, and it was, therefore, of the utmost importance that those extra days should be added, in order that the Irish Members might have a better opportunity of discussing questions which were absolutely necessary in order to preserve the administration of Ireland, true, economical and efficient.

* MR. WEIR (ROSS and Cromarty)

said that his hon. friend had been too modest. If he had asked for seven or eight days he might have got five. He wished to know what the Scotch Members thought of the Rule. He was glad the Leader of the House was present because he was a Scotsman and claimed to be a Highlander. Last session only the Vote for the Congested Districts Board was discussed, and all the other Scotch Votes were closured. Two or three years ago private business occupied the time of the House up to a quarter to nine, when Scotch business commenced, and Scotland had to be content with three and a quarter hours discussion. That was how Scotland was served, and he maintained that Scotland ought not to be treated in that way. He would not grudge Ireland three or four days, but surely Scotland was entitled to a couple of days or to one clear day at least. The Government would be in no worse position if they accepted the Amendment, but the hard and fast rule that was now proposed would not work satisfactorily. He said it was not right or proper that millions of money should be passed through the House without being discussed for even five minutes. Hitherto he had resorted to questions as a means of getting information; but the right hon. Gentleman was now about to curtail that means, though whether he would be successful or not remained to be seen. It was a farce for Scotch Members to spend their time in the House on the chance of getting two or three hours for the discussion of Scotch votes, and he sincerely hoped his hon. friend would I press this Amendment to a division.


said he thought there was some slight misunderstanding in the matter. Hon. Members had spoken as if the Rule were to be a hard and fast one and that only twenty-three days could by any possibility be given to Supply. But the hon. Member for North Cork himself mentioned that twenty-six days had been given to Supply last session, though he believed himself that the figure should be thirty-six; but, at any rate twenty-six days as the hon. Member said, and thirty-six as he contended, were given to Supply last year when the proposed Rule was a sessional Order. [Mr. FLYNN said his statement was that twenty-six days altogether, including Supplementary Estimates, were given.] His point was that it was unreasonable to contend that only twenty-three days could be given to Supply under the new Rule when last year from twenty-six to thirty days were given it, when it was a sessional Order. If, towards the end of the session, it was admitted on all hands that further time should be given to Supply, it would be the easiest thing in the world to arrange it. He was not going to "ay a word as to the difficulty which his Irish colleagues had in expressing their views to the House. The hon. Member who just sat down spoke of the difficulties of Scotch Members, but he had the pleasure of sitting in the Chair during the consideration of Scotch Estimates, and he was perfectly sure that he constantly heard the hon. Member discussing Scotch questions. As many days as possible within a reasonable limit had been given to Supply, and the Government could not accept the Amendment.


said he could not understand the argument of the hon. Gentleman, who appeared to have misconstrued the meaning of the Rule altogether. The Rule expressed that twenty days should be allotted for Supply, that was the prima facie limit. Then there was a provision that three more days might be allotted for that purpose. If the Rule had any meaning at all it meant that only three days should be allotted. He considered that the Amendment was quite reasonable. The House of Commons ought to be the place where the most important business of the Empire ought to be discussed, but it appeared to him to be more like a great school, the great object of which was to have its holidays accelerated as much as possible. All that the objections came to was that the session might be prolonged two days. It really seemed absurd that when the interests of the greatest Empire of the world were concerned—the money interests, because, after all, it was the due proportion between revenue and the expenditure which was the basis of all the prosperity of this Empire—they had to be compressed into a sort of procrustean bed in this manner. He was much afraid that the object of this Rule was to hide the conduct of the executive in the management of the affairs of the nation. He was himself against any limit, and, therefore, he would be logical in supporting an Amendment which mitigated to a certain degree the evil complained of.

MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S. W.)

said the hon. Member had not appreciated the point raised by his hon. friend. There were many occasions on which some small bill was put down first, and after it was disposed of, Supply was discussed. That was not an allotted day, but it was a day upon which Supply was discussed. To say the discussions upon Supply were confined to twenty-three days was to state that which was not the fact. He deprecated the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman that the object of the Rule was to stifle criticism of the way in which Ministers conducted the affairs of the country. He did not think the Irish Members could be accused with justice of not bringing their grievances before the House. Apart from Supply they never lost an opportunity of moving the adjournment of the House; still less did they lose an opportunity of putting questions and supplementary questions to a very large extent. To suggest that any Minister of the Crown could shelter himself under this Rule from full investigation of his conduct was entirely contrary to what the working of the Rule had proved to be the fact.

(9.25.) MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

said that the importance of this proposal was much increased by the fact that for all time it was to be the accepted Rule of the House. He was sorry to see the hon. Member come forward to champion Ministers; he liked him much better when he was opposing the Government and better still when he defeated them as he did recently. It was not the position of the present Government that they had to consider, they had to look to the future, and he was surprised at the assertion of the hon. Member that the Rule had worked well so far as the twenty-three days were concerned. Was the hon. Gentleman aware that ninety-seven Votes were not discussed at all last year? Yet they were told the Rule worked splendidly. The right hon. Gentleman who was responsible for the limitation of that time had done everything in his power to make the Rule a success, but it was impossible because there "as too much work to be done in that time. There were too many Votes to be discussed. He should vote for the Amendment because it gave greater latitude, he thought, to the Minister in charge. Another reason for his voting for it was that the Estimates were increasing every year, and if necessary the time for discussing them must be extended. It seemed to him that the present system of having practically no discussion at all, was calculated to make public servants more careless than they might otherwise be. Some Votes bad not been discussed for four or five years. They were not Votes which ought not to he discussed: many were Votes which ought to be discussed, but no opportunity bad been allowed for discussion at all. It had been suggested that this Rule was for the purpose of sheltering Ministers; but that was a point which happily they need not discuss at the present time, but he could conceive the possibility of the time arriving when Ministers might limit a discussion to one Vote, and the time might be absorbed by an interesting Question, and the administration might not be discussed at all. During the last few years there had been no discussion of the Scotch Estimates. There had been perhaps half a day given to them, or two or three hours after dinner, and the result was that half-a-dozen important Scotch Votes were not discussed at all. He thought the right hon. Gentleman ought to make the concession asked for.


said the reason there was no adequate discussion of the Scotch Votes was that there was so much superfluous talk. He had known hours wasted in discussing most trivial points. He bad always held the opinion that if the time taken up in discussing the Estimates was spent in a business-like manner, twenty days would be ample for that purpose He had intended to move the omission of this proviso, in the hope of inducing the right hon. Gentleman to adhere to the twenty days. That was the original proposal on this question, but it had been violated session after session by the concession of three additional days Earlier in the evening, however, the Leader of the House had indicated that he might consider the propriety of allotting one day more than were usually given to the discussion of lush estimates. If therefore, he moved his Amendment later on, he would propose to cut off two days only instead of three. Attention had been called to the passing of ninety-seven votes without discussion. None regretted that fact more than he did It was a terrible reflection on the proceedings of the House as a business assembly. But the only result of going back to the old practice would be that no Government would ever get its Supply at all. ["There is the closure."] General closure—yes Of what us would that be? He admitted that if the Government would make up its mind to devise proposals for stopping obstruction, which these Rules would never do to cheek dilatory speeches and superfluous talk, it might be possible to go back to the old practice, but, short of that, in the present condition of the House of Commons nothing could be more fatal than the abandonment of this Rule.


said it was a singular thing, in view of the complaint of the right hon. Gentleman opposite of trivial discussions on matters of little importance, the greatest amount of time occupied by Supply after the 5th August was in the session of 1893. The right hon. Gentleman and his friends were then in Opposition, and they occupied, not four, but fourteen days after that date in discussing Estimates. According to the right hon. Gentleman's own statement, they deliberately wasted ten days of Parliamentary time in discussing questions of no importance. The whole point in this matter was one of arithmetic. The first Estimates were presented about the end of February, and, taking last session as an example, the Vote on Account was presented about March 15. From hat time forward to August 5 there were about twenty-two Fridays—or Thursdays under the new regime—for the purposes of Supply. It was therefore clear that the number of allotted days before August 5 could not be increased with any expectation of success: consequently the number would have to be increased after that date. He had taken out the number of days given to Supply after August 5 under the four last Administrations, and he found that in 1800 it was seven; in 1893, fourteen: in 1895, ten; while last session, under the Rule of 1896, the number was cut down to four. The First Lord was not being unduly pressed by this request for an exten Mon from three to five days. More time was not being asked for, but simply that of the time allotted, which was admitted to be thirty-five or thirty-six days, a large portion should be permanently fixed by the Standing Orders of the House. There would be no more time actually allotted to Supply, but there would be an increase in the allotted minimum. It was impossible for a Minister to anticipate the needs of a coming session. Not only would there be matters of legislation, but from time to time questions would crop up demanding the consideration of Motions which would raise discussions on different estimates every year, varying both in character and in extent. The time ought not therefore, to be cut down to a minimum smaller than that which in practice obtained.


said that when this Rule was first introduced he objected to it, because he was convinced that whatever was fixed as a maximum would tend to become the minimum. In the early days of his Parliamentary life Supply used to be voted in a peculiar manner. Comparatively few days were devoted to it, and the morning light used generally to be coming through the windows before the House adjourned. Under this Rule they had certainly had more time for the discussion of Supply, but owing to the unfortunate practice of naming a certain number of days, that number was looked upon as a minimum instead of being regarded as a large increase compared with former times. During its first year, the Rule worked fairly well, and comparatively few Votes were guillotined, but now certain sections of the House—certainly the Irish Members—rather glorified in the number of Votes that were guillotined. ["No."] In olden days, although they were not guillotined, he had seen Votes passed by the score by simply being read at the Table, so the result was practically the same. Everybody wanted to get away, the Votes were not discussed, and millions of money were voted as rapidly as possible. The time allotted under the present Rule, if properly used, would afford much more opportunity for discussion than was formerly enjoyed, but if Members would persist in discussing snail matters year after year, the result would, of course, be unsatisfactory. He regretted that the twenty days had been increased even by three. No doubt, in cases of emergency, an increased number might be reasonable, but where the number was fixed at twenty, or thirty, or forty, the result, in a few years, would be the same—it would be looked upon as the minimum. The difficulties under this Rule arose from the fact that certain Members openly avowed their intention of setting all Rules at defiance, so that the House might be brought into contempt and disrepute in the eyes of the country, and as long as that spirit prevailed it would be impossible to carry any legislation, and no revision of Rules would ever do much good.

MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W. R., Pudsey)

thought the House should take into consideration the present financial position of the country. For ten years he had been a Member of the House, but he was still just as much lost in wonderment at the manner in which the financial business of the nation was conducted as on the day he first entered the House. He had had a good deal to do with financial matters, but he had never known a business or commercial undertaking to manage its financial affairs as did the House of Commons; indeed, if any such undertaking did so manage its affairs, it would find itself in pecuniary difficulties before a single session had elapsed. Anyone looking through the Estimates and endeavouring to gauge the financial position of the country, would, if he were at all a financial purist, have a feeling almost of horror at the fashion in which nearly all the Estimates were presented to the House and dealt with. He thought that the financial condition of the country rendered it necessary to have additional days for Supply. They should give to the consideration of the Estimates every possible moment they could. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford had described some of their discussions upon the Royal palaces as superfluous and unnecessary, but no less than fifteen of those votes were closured last year without any discussion whatever. A full, complete, and drastic discussion upon all those matters was of the greatest importance. The whole taxation of the country depended upon the manner in which this House spent the money which was collected from the tax-payers. Even the normal expenditure of the country had increased by £32,000,000 since the present Government came into office, and unless facilities were afforded them for checking this ever-increasing expenditure, it would prove very disastrous to the country in the near future. They had been reproved by the hon. Member for North Islington for their action in endeavouring to increase the number of days allotted to Supply, but he would remind the House that, in the hon. Member for King's Lynn, the President of the Board of Agriculture, and the hon. Member for North Islington himself, the House in the past had a trio which had never been surpassed in this respect. He remembered an occasion when a leading hon. Member on the opposite—


I must say that the hon. Member is now going into matters which do not arise on this Amendment.


said he was only answering the contention of the hon. Member for North Islington. The time devoted to the discussion of the financial affairs was not lost, for the sheet anchor of the constitution of this country was the economical administration of its financial business. Twenty-three days as the maximum was not sufficient to deal with the increasing volume of financial, business which the House of Commons was now called upon to administer, and; he could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman would be well advised if he gave way upon this point.

(10.0.) MR A. J. BALFOUR

May I make an appeal to the House to remember that this is a question which has been gone over several times. I agree with the importance of the subject, but I think hon. Gentlemen might limit the discussion to the very important question as to whether there should be some fixed period. Really most of the speeches which have been made upon this Amendment seem to be altogether out of place. Several times I have put forward a calculation to show that the arrangement proposed is necessary to carry on the business of the session. It is clear that in a session of six months in an assembly of 670 gentlemen, it is impossible that individual scope can be given to each to discuss any subject arising within the affairs of the Empire in which he is interested. In view of the calculations I have laid before the House, I should not be doing my duty if I were to assent to the proposal. Good nature would prompt me to that course, but I cannot, consistently with the principles I have ventured to advocate on this Rule, do so, and I must resist the Amendment.


said he rose to suggest that they should now come to a division upon this point. He should not have intervened at all, only there was a limit to human patience, and when the hon. Member for North Islington lectured the Irish Members for excessive discussions in Supply, he could only say that the ancient simile of Satan reproving Sin sank into absolute insignificance.

(10.1.) Question proposed.

The House divided:—Ayes, 162; Noes, 101. (Division List No. 135.)

Acland-Hood, Capt, Sir A. F. Galloway, William Johnson Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Gardner, Ernest Myers, William Henry
Allhusen, Augustus Hn Eden Gibbs, Hn A. G. H (City of Lond. Nicholson, William Graham
Arkwright, John Stanhope Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Nicol, Donald Ninian
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk. Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gordon, Hn. J. E.(Elgin&Nairn Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n
Austin, Sir John Gore, Hon. G RCOrmshy-(Salop Pierpoint, Robert
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Bain, Colonel James Robert Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Plummer, Walter R.
Baird, John George Alexander Goulding, Edward Alfred Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J.(Manch'r Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Pretyman, Ernest George
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds) Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry Purvis, Robert
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch Greene, Sir E. W.(B'ryS Edm'ds Randles, John S.
Banbury, Frederick George Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Rankin, Sir James
Bartley, George C. T. Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs) Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir Michael H. Greville, Hon. Ronald Reid, James (Greenock)
Beckett, Ernest William Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd Remnant, James Farquharson
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Hare, Thomas Leigh Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Staly bridge
Bignold, Arthur Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Blundell, Colonel Henry Heath, James (Staffords, N. W. Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Brook field, Colonel Montagu Helder, Augustus Rutherford, John
Bull, William James Henderson, Alexander Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-
Carlile, William Walter Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir. Edw. H. Hickman, Sir Alfred Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Cautley, Henry Strother Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E. Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Hope, J. F. (Sh'ffield, Brightside Spear, John Ward
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Howard, John (Kent, Fav'rsh'm Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Laurie, Lieut.-General Stanley, Lord (Lancs)
Chapman, Edward Law, Andrew Bonar Stewart Sir Mark J. M Taggart
Charrington, Spencer Lawson, John Grant Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Churchill, Winston Spencer Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Thorburn, Sir Walter
Clare, Octavius Leigh Leveson-Cower, Fredk. N. S. Tollemache, Henry James
Clive, Captain Percy A. Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S Tritton, Charles Ernest
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Lowe, Francis William Tuke, Sir John Batty
Compton, Lord Alwyne Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent) Valentia, Viscount
Cranborne, Viscount Loyd, Archie Kirkman Wanklyn, James Leslie
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Warde Colonel C. E.
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Crossley, Sir Savile Macartney, Rt Hn. W. G Ellison Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B.(Cambs Willox, Sir John Archibald
Denny, Colonel M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E. Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R,)
Dickson, Charles Scott M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Dorington, Sir John Edward Manners, Lord Cecil Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh. Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Middlemore, J. Throgmorton Wodehouse, Rt Hn E. R. (Bath)
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Mitchell, William Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Molesworth, Sir Lewis Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Finch, George H. Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Younger, William
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)
Fisher, William Hayes Morgan, David J (Walthamstow
FitzGerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose- Morrell, George Herbert TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Flower, Ernest Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford
Forster, Henry William Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Foster, Philip S (Warwick, S. W. Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G (Bute)
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E. Burke, E. Haviland- Crean, Eugene
Allen, Chas. P.(Gloue., Stroud) Caldwell, James Cremer, William Randal
Ambrose, Robert Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Channing, Francis Allston Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan
Blake, Edward Clancy, John Joseph Delany, William
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Coghill, Douglas Harry Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Condon, Thomas Joseph Dillon, John
Doogan, P. C. MacVeagh, Jeremiah Power, Patrick Joseph
Duncan, J. Hastings M'Crae, George Rea, Russell
Emmott, Alfred M'Hugh, Patrick A. Reddy, M.
Fenwick, Charles M'Kean, John Redmond, John E.(Waterford)
Ffreneh, Peter M'Killop, W. (Sligo. North) Rigg, Richard
Field, William Mansfield, Horace Rendall Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Plynn, James Christopher Mooney, John J. Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Gilhooly, James Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Roche, John
Goddard, Daniel Ford Moss, Samuel Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Hammond, John Murphy, John Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Harmsworth, R. Leicester Nannetti, Joseph P. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Hayden, John Patrick Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.) Soares, Ernest J.
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants
Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.) Norton, Capt. Cecil William Sullivan, Donal
Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Nussey, Thomas Willans Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.
Jones, William (Carnarvon) O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.) Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Joyce, Michael O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wallace, Robert
Kennedy, Patrick James O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Weir, James Galloway
Lambert, George O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) White, Luke (York. E. R.)
Leamy, Edmund O'Dowd, John White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Leigh, Sir Joseph O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Whiteley, George (York. W. R.)
Leng, Sir John O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Levy, Maurice O'Malley, William Young, Samuel
Lough, Thomas O'Mara, James
Lundon, W. O'Shaughnessy, P. J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.
MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Pirie, Duncan V.

Amendment proposed— In line 19, to leave out the words 'purposes aforesaid,' and insert the words 'business of Supply.'"—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn—

(10.18.) MR. FLYNN

moved an Amendment providing that on a day so allotted, no business other than the business of Supply shall be taken before midnight, unless it is unopposed, thereby omitting from the Rule the words "except on the last two of the allotted days." He asked an explanation why these words had been inserted. The keynote of the speech of the First Lord of the Treasury was that they were to have absolute certainty what business was to be brought before the House. The proposal was that they were to come down to the House on these particular days for the business of Supply, and yet the Government might at the last moment put down some other business, so that the House would not be sure of getting more than twenty-one days.

Amendment proposed— In line 22, to leave out the words 'except on the last two allotted days.'"—(Mr. Flynn.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


stated that the Standing Order was framed on the hypothesis that business in Supply would be taken on the whole of the allotted days, and that on each of the two final days the discussion would terminate at ten o'clock. It must be, and he hoped it would be, that the House would not expend much time in passing the Votes which then remained to be disposed of. If after the closure of Supply on the two final days there was still some time available before midnight, it would be immensely for the convenience of all parties that they should get on with business, and it seemed a pity that two hours should be entirely wasted.


said that under the old system, if the business of Supply was finished on the last two nights at half-past ten, hon. Members could get away home early as a reward for their forbearance in not dividing the House. Now the Government came in their extreme parsimony of time and proposed on the last two nights of Supply to depart from the Rule which had been laid down for their guidance that no other business I should be taken on the days allotted for Supply. In that way Members had been safeguarded against having important Government business brought on after the business of Supply when that was got through unexpectedly early. Now it was proposed to keep hon. Members there on the last two nights of Supply on the off-chance—for it was only an off-chance—that there might be one, two, or conceivably three hours, which the Government could devote to other business. It was most absurd for the Government to make any change in that respect. The only result of the scheme would be that instead of the Government getting the time they hoped for, hon. Members would be kept going through the Division Lobbies for the purpose of blocking Government business.


said the paragraph now under consideration and the following ones were entirely new inventions, and they certainly did require some scrutiny. He could not see why this exception was here introduced, He held that no other business should be allowed to intrude on the days which had been allotted for Supply. The proviso with respect to the last two of the allotted days should be omitted.


said it was certain that in practice no other business would be done after ten o'clock on these two days. The matter was not worth fighting about, and he would accept the Amendment.

Question put, and negatived.

(10.28.) MR. GALLOWAY

moved that the words "unless it is unopposed" be left out of the fifth paragraph of the Standing Order on business in Supply. He explained that the object of the Amendment was merely to secure that the days set down for Supply should be devoted entirely to Supply, and that no other business should be taken on those days. There might be Private Members. Bills down on the Paper, and if they could be taken on Supply nights hon. Members would not know when they were coming on, because they would not know when the business of Supply was going to terminate. He reminded the blouse that the Child Messenger Bill was taken when Supply was finished at an early period of the evening, and after some Members had gone away under the impression that no other business would be taken that night. The result was that the House passed the Second Reading while those who desired to express their views upon it were entirely unable to do so.


said he would accept the Amendment.

Amendment made, in lines 22 and 23, by leaving out the words "unless it is unopposed."—(Mr. Galloway.)


who was received with laughter and cries of "Oh, oh!" on the Ministerial side of the House, said he objected to be treated in this way by hon. Members who were not interested in the subject and who came in late at night. [Cries of "Order."] He and others were endeavouring to do their duty by this House in connection with matters which were extremely difficult. The paragraph as it now stood read thus— On a day so allotted, no business other than the business of Supply shall be taken before midnight, and no business in Committee or proceedings on Report of Supply shall be taken after midnight, whether a general order for the suspension of the Twelve o'clock Rule is in force or not, unless the House otherwise order on the Motion of a Minister of the Crown, moved at the commencement of public business, to be decided without Amendment or debate. The Leader of the House when introducing the Rules said that one of the purposes in view was that Supply night should always end at twelve o'clock. He thought that was an extremely salutary Rule, especially as Thursday, when Supply was to be taken, was followed by the morning sitting on Friday. It was there fore important that the Rule should be made so as to secure that Supply day should be for Supply alone, and that it should end at twelve o'clock on Thursday. He believed he was right in saying that the intention of the First Lord of the Treasury was that business on Supply night should end at twelve o'clock. That was one of the great inducements his right hon. friend had held out to the House. There was another reason, and that was that the sitting next day commenced at twelve o'clock. He trusted, therefore, his right hon. friend would accept the Amendment.

Amendment proposed— In line 23, to leave out the words, 'in Committee or proceedings on Report of Supply, and insert the word 'whatever.'

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


I entirely sympathise with my hon. friend's desire to get to bed. This portion of the Rule is intended to apply to that period of the session when the Twelve o'Clock Rule is generally suspended: when the whole programme of the Government has been developed, and when the chief desire of Members is to get away for the holidays. If the Amendment were passed, it would be impossible for the House of Commons to do any work after midnight. It is proposed under the new Rude that the business of Supply shall stop at twelve o'clock; but if it was the general view of the House that it was necessary to sit on for other business, I do not see why the House should be precluded from doing so by a Standing Order without a special Resolution. After twelve o'clock, small Government measures can be advanced, and why should we compel ourselves to have a Resolution whenever we desire to sit after twelve o'clock. I think the Amendment proposed would be a great inconvenience, and not a help.


said he hoped the hon. Member would go to a division on the Amendment, as he considered it extremely important. He was afraid many hon. Members did not see the force of the Amendment, or the evil against which it was directed. What was really involved? Under the old Rule, the time during which the House sat on an allotted day after twelve o'clock was additional time given to Supply, but under the new Rule discussion of Supply would be cut off at twelve o'clock, and after discussion in Supply was finished the House was to be asked to sit up for the consideration of other business. That was a most unreasonable proposal. The right hon. Gentleman was wrong in saying that if the Amendment were accepted it would be impossible to discuss Government Bills after midnight on an allotted clay towards the end of the session, because the Rule states— Unless the House otherwise orders on the Motion of a Minister of the Crown. It would be still open to the Government to move a Motion to suspend the Twelve o'Clock Rule without discussion. Surely that was not too much to ask. He would never attempt to deprive the Leader of the House of the right to move the suspension of the Twelve o'clock Rule in special cases. All that was asked was that the normal position of things should be that on Supply nights business should stop at twelve o'clock, leaving the Government absolute power on those nights to move the suspension of the Twelve o'Clock Rule by special Motion.


said the hon. Member who had just sat down appeared to have no objection to practically the wholesale suspension of the Standing Order.


said the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly mistaken. What he said was that he would never be a party to depriving the Leader of the House of the power to suspend the Twelve o'clock Rule ad hoc. What he objected to was the establishment of a wholesale system of suspension of the Rule.


said that one of his complaints was that when the House framed Rules under great difficulties they were not observed, but were being constantly suspended. That resulted in very great confusion. It seemed to him that his right hon. friend intended to confine the sittings to midnight. He said so quite clearly, and he hoped he would stand by his own words. His right hon. friend said that Supply night was a night which, throughout the session, and irrespective of the chances and changes of the session or whether Supply was being discussed in Committee or Report, should always end at twelve o'clock.


said that the proposition was that after Supply other Government business should be commenced.


said the Leader of the House went a great deal further, because he said that in his view a Supply night should end at twelve o'clock always. Of course it was possible that there might be exceptions occasionally. Therefore, he would not preclude absolutely suspending the Rule sometimes, but he hoped it was not intended that after a certain period of the session there should be a wholesale suspension of the Rule. The great difficulty was that the Rules were applied in a fast and loose manner. Day after day notices were put on the Paper for suspending them for some ephemeral convenience of the Government. He hoped his hon. friend's Motion would be accepted in some form or another.

MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)

said he, too, hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would re-consider his position. He was extremely jealous of the Twelve o'clock Rule, and, like the right hon. Gentleman, he wished to get to bed. He would rather meet earlier than sit later. He would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that he had landed himself in a difficulty by the last-Amendment, which laid down that the House should proceed with no business, even unopposed business, before twelve o'clock on Supply nights. Why then, should opposed business be taken after midnight? If the right hon. Gentleman really wanted a discussion, he could suspend the Rule. He hoped that Thursdays would be reserved solely for the purposes of Supply, and that other business would not be taken after midnight.

MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)

said he desired to point out that the words proposed to be omitted did not touch the question of the time allocated to Supply, but merely reserved the same power as to business after twelve o'clock as on nights not allotted to Supply. The Amendment, if accepted, would make it impossible to take even unopposed business after midnight on Supply nights.


said he thought that hon. Members generally did not appreciate the seriousness of what was now proposed. The Standing Order said that on the allotted day no business, except Supply, was to be taken before midnight. That meant an absolute change in the practice which had been followed during the last six years, as it differed from the sessional Order which every year for the last six years had been accepted by the House. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: It is much better.] The right hon. Gentleman said it was much better, but, at any rate, it was an absolute change in the system which had obtained for six years. The change was that on Supply nights, after midnight, other business could be begun without notice. If the right hon. Gentleman wanted to secure a discussion after twelve o'clock, he could do it by a Motion which would be passed without discussion. All certainty as to twenty-three days of the session would be destroyed if the Amendment were not accepted. Any night, other business might be taken without notice. One of the main advantages of the Rule would be destroyed if the Amendment were rejected, and he begged the right hon. Gentleman to re-consider the matter.

MR. NUSSEY (Pontefract)

said he, too hoped the right hon. Gentleman would re-consider his position. It was an extremely bad proposal, when Supply had been discussed up to midnight, to introduce a fresh topic then. Moreover, he understood that no other business could be taken before twelve o'clock on Thursdays. What would happen if the proceedings on Supply stopped at ten o'clock?


asked whether it would be possible on the last day of the session to bring in the Appropriation Bill. If the Rules said that no business could be done then, it would mean that the Appropriation Bill could not be brought in, and under those circumstances the session might last another day. Although he agreed that no business should be done after twelve generally, an exception ought to be made in respect to the Appropriation Bill.


considered that the question asked by the hon. Member for Pontefract was a practical question, and required to be met.


said he was not quite so sure as to the question raised by the hon. Member for North Islington, but the question raised by the hon. Member for Pontefract was a substantial question. It was impossible that such a thing could arise, because the question must be under discussion at twelve o'clock.


said although the right hon. Gentleman had stated the general form of the operation of the Rule, that need not be the meaning contemplated by the paragraph under discussion, and a Motion might perfectly well be framed to allow business to be carried on.


said he did not consider that was a practical point. It pre-supposed that a Minister might come down as late, say, as May, and move that the Twelve o'clock Rule be suspended, but no Minister would do that, because it was a debatable Motion.


Not under this Rule.


thought the hon. Member had not read the Rule aright. There were occasions when the Twelve o'clock Rule could be suspended. There was the general suspension of the Rule when the session was drawing to a close, when the ordinary limitations of

debate were brought to an end, and there was the suspension of the Twelve o'clock Rule in the course of the session. The hon. Member suggested that in the ordinary course of the session a Minister might come down and move the suspension of the Rule in a form which might be debatable.


pointed out that in the Rule were the words "unless the House otherwise order"


thought his hon. friend had mistaken the effect of the words he had quoted. They meant whether Supply should go on—not whether general business should go on.


Would the right hon. Gentleman put in words excluding the discussion on the Appropriation Bill, so as to save a day.

(10.58.) Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 191; Noes, 108. (Division List No. 136.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex F. Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Cranborne, Viscount Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Cripps, Charles Alfred Hare, Thomas Leigh
Arkwright, John Stanhope Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Harris, Frederick Leverton
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Crossley, Sir Savile Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Dalrymple, Sir Charles Helder, Augustus
Austin, Sir John Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan Henderson, Alexander
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Denny, Colonel Hermon-Hodge Robert Trotter
Bain, Colonel James Robert Dickson, Charles Scott Hickman, Sir Alfred
Baird, John George Alexander Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Dorington, Sir John Edward Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Hope, J F.(Sheffield, Brightside
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds Duke, Henry Edward Howard, Jno. (Kent, Faversh'm
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Darning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse
Banbury, Frederick George Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton
Bartley, George C. T. Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Keswick, William
Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir Michael H. Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Law, Andrew Bonar
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Finch, George H. Lawrence, Joseph (Mon mouth)
Beckett, Ernest William Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lawson, John Grant
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Fisher, William Hayes Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Bignold, Arthur FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose- Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Blundell, Colonel Henry Flower, Ernest Leveson-Gower., Frederick N. S.
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Forster, Henry William Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Foster, Philip S (Warwick, S. W. Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham
Bull, William James Fuller, J. M. F. Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)
Burdett-Coutts. W. Galloway, William Johnson Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Gardner, Ernest Lowe, Francis William
Cautley, Henry Strother Gibbs, Hn. AGH. (City of Lond. Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes) Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)
Cavendish, V. C. W. (D'rbyshire Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elgin&Nairn) Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(S'lop Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Macartney, Rt Hn W. G. Ellison
Chapman, Edward Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Macdona, John Cumming
Charrington, Spencer Goulding, Edward Alfred M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs
Churchill, Winston Spencer Gray, Ernest (West Ham) M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)
Clive, Captain Percy A. Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry Malcolm, Ian
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm'nds Manners, Lord Cecil
Coghill, Douglas Harry Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Martin, Richard Biddulph
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs) Massey-Main waring, Hn. W. F.
Compton, Lord Alwyne Greville, Hon. Ronald Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesh)
Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Randles, John S. Talbot, Rt Hn J. G. (Oxfd Univ.
Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Fredenrick G. Rankin, Sir James Thorburn, Sir Walter
Mitchell, William Rasch, Major Frederic Carne Thornton, Percy M.
Molesworth, Sir Lewis Reid, James (Greenock) Tollemache, Henry James
Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Remnant, James Farquharson Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hunts) Richards, Henry Charles Tuke, Sir John Batty
Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Staly bridge Valentia, Viscount
More, Robt Jasper (Shropshire Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas, Thomson Wallace, Robert
Morgan, David J (W'lthamstow Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Morrell, George Herbert Robinson, Brooke Warde, Colonel C. E.
Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford Russell, T. W. Wason, John Catheart (O'kney)
Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Rutherford, John Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE. (Taunton
Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute Sackville, Col, S. G. Stopford- Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Willox, Sir John Archibald
Myers, William Henry Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W. Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.
Nicholson, William Graham Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Nicol, Donald Ninian Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R (Bath)
Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n Skewes-Cox, Thomas Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East) Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Penn, John Spear, John Ward Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Platt-Higgins, Frederick Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk Younger, William
Plummer, Walter R. Stanley, Lord (Lancs) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Pretyman, Ernest George Stewart, Sir-Mark J. M Taggart
Purvis, Robert Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Hayden, John Patrick O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Allen, Charles P (Glouc. Stroud. Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Ambrose, Robert Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. O'Dowd, John
Asher, Alexander Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Asquith, Rt Hn. Herbert Henry Jones, William Carnarvonshire O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N
Barry, E. (Cork. S.) Joyce, Michael O'Malley, William
Blake, Edward Kennedy, Patrick James O'Mara, James
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Lambert, George Pirie, Duncan
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Leigh, Sir Joseph Power, Patrick Joseph.
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Leng, Sir John Rea, Russell
Burke, E. Haviland- Levy, Maurice Reddy, M.
Caldwell, James Lewis, John Herbert Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Lough, Thomas Rigg, Richard
Carvill, Patrick Geo Hamilton Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent) Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Channing, Francis Allston Lundon, W. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)
Clancy, John Joseph Mac Donnell, Dr. Mark A. Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Condon, Thomas Joseph MacNeill, John Cordon Swift Roche, John
Crean, Eugene MacVeagh, Jeremiah Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Cremer, William Randal M'Crae, George Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) M Hugh, Patrick A. Sosres, Ernest J.
Delany, William M'Kean, John Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants
Dillon, John M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Stevenson, Francis S.
Doogan, P. C. Mansfield, Horace Rendall Sullivan, Donal
Duncan, J. Hastings Mooney, John J. Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E
Emmott, Alfred Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Fenwick, Charles Moss, Samuel Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Ffrench, Peter Murphy, John Weir, James Galloway
Field, William Nannetti, Joseph P. White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Flynn, James Christopher Nolan, Col. John P.(Galway. N. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South.) Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)
Gilhooly, James Norton, Capt. Cecil William Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Goddard, Daniel Ford Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick) O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ry Mid Young, Samuel
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.
Hammond, John O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Harmsworth, R. Leicester O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.

said that nothing could be more definite than the repeated declarations of the; Leader of the House that the discussion of Supply was to end at midnight, and yet, by the wording of this Rule, the Government were to have power to prolong the sitting practically whenever they chose. At any moment, on a Motion being made, without opportunity of Amendment or debate, the Government could call on the House to decide that on that particular night Supply should be taken after midnight. His right hon. friend might say that in making his statement, he meant unless the House otherwise ordered. His words, however, were not qualified in that way, and nobody so understood them. He much disliked moving further Amendments, as the right hon. Gentleman had been very accessible to argument; but in order to hear what he might say, he would move the Amendment standing in his name.

Amendment proposed— In line 25, after the word not, to leave out the words to the word 'debate,' in line 28, inclusive."—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


My hon. friend has quoted the speech I delivered in bringing these Rules before the House, but I think he has based more upon that statement than it will bear or ought to be expected to bear. That speech was a general explanation of the policy of the Government, and it was immediately followed by the Rules them selves, printed in a form which everybody could understand. It is perfectly true that the policy of the Government is that Supply should end at twelve o'clock, whether it be in Committee or on Report, but we feel that there may be circumstances under which the House would like an extension of the debate, and it would be a great pity if we had not the power to grant that extension. I hope, therefore, apologising for any misapprehension I may have caused by my introductory speech, my hon. friend will not press his Amendment.


supposed that in the event of the business of Supply collapsing before midnight it would not be possible for private Members to proceed with these measures.


said that such measures could not be brought forward before twelve o'clock, and after twelve o'clock they could be stopped in the usual way.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

(11.20.) MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)

said he desired to move an Amendment which would have the effect of omitting the limitation to one day of proceedings on Votes of Account, whether in Committee or on Report. Suchalimitation was absolutely new, and it was the most important new proposal in the Rule. It would establish an exceptional procedure for Votes on Account. Hitherto a certain number of days had been allotted to Supply as a whole; no particular portion had been limited to one, two, or three days, as the ease might be, and the House were entitled to have some explanation of why this part of Supply should be selected for exceptional treatment. The Vote on Account applied mainly to the Civil Service Estimates. What corresponded to it in regard to the Army and Navy Estimates were Votes 1 and 2 in each case, which were always taken at the beginning of the session. No limitation of time was to be placed on the discussion of those Votes, and if it was not necessary in regard to the Army and Navy, why should it be necessary in regard to the corresponding Vote for the Civil Service? But an even more substantial objection to the proposal was that based on the excessive size of the Vote on Account under the existing practice of the House. In former times the Vote on Account was not allowed to contain more than two months Supply; this year it covered at least five months. That practice had disadvantages of its own: and it resulted in the dislocation of the business of the House in regard to Supply. He asked hon. Members seriously to consider whether, when several Votes were merged into one, and that one Vote covered Supply sufficient for the whole session, it was a proper time to introduce this exceptional treatment. The Vote on Account this session was probably the largest in the history of Parliament. The Consolidated Fund Bill, No. 1, contained Votes amounting in the aggregate to a perfectly appalling sum. In 1894 the amount covered by the Consolidated Fund Bill, No. 1, was £9,497,000; this year the corresponding Bill covered the enormous sum of £68,181,600. The House could hardly be aware that it had already voted that amount of Supply. The Vote on Account was £19,000,000, or just double the amount of eight years ago. In moving this Amendment, there was one suggestion he would make. It the right hon. Gentleman would undertake to give favourable consideration to another Amendment standing lower on the Paper, by which it was laid down that no Vote on Account should exceed two months Supply, he would be prepared to withdraw his present Amendment. If, however, the Government intended to adhere to the practice of bringing in only one Vote on Account, involving an enormous sum, it was not reasonable that the House should be asked to sanction this alteration of procedure. It would be better if Votes on Account were excluded from this Rule. He begged to move the Amendment standing in his name, omitting the proposed Rule limiting the discussion on any Vote on Account to one day.

Amendment proposed— In line 29, to leave out from the words 'Of the days so allotted,' to the words 'Vote or the Report' in line 35, both inclusive."—(Mr. Edmund Robertson.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


I am quite sure that the hon. Gentleman will see that there is more ground for this change than at first sight he appears to suppose. It is true that under the old system Votes on Account were brought in perhaps every two months, but that was the inevitable result of the old system, which piled up Supply at the end of the session; and it is absolutely necessary now for the Government to get, by Votes on Account, money to carry on the administration of the country. Now that Supply is evenly distributed and that in each week there is an opportunity of dealing with it, the old necessity has passed away, and with the old necessity the old practice. The hon. Gentleman goes on to ask why it is provided in this Rule that the Vote on Account should be closured. I will give him a very simple reason, which I will preface by reminding him that when Votes on Account were first introduced into this House they were not regarded as occasions for discussion at all. They were simply regarded in anticipation of the Votes the House would be asked to discuss later on, and they simply asked the House meanwhile to give the Government the money to carry on the business of the country. Those Votes on Account were always given without discussion, but it was afterwards found to be in order to have discussions upon them. Under these circumstances I ask whether it is not better that the House should devote its time to a discussion in Supply of twenty-three allocated Votes than engage in an absolutely disorderly discussion without beginning and without end, upon a single Motion upon which every other question raised can properly be discussed. I think that is a strong practical reason why we should carry out this Rule. There are two additional reasons. Consider in what position you put the Chairman of Committees if you do not lay down the length of time. The Chairman of Committees is asked in granting the closure whether the question has been adequately discussed. Upon what principle is the Chairman to decide that question? It is not fair to ask the Chairman to decide whether a sufficient proportion of the time has been given to any subject. There fore, in order to make that clear, I say it is desirable to lay down that the discussion shall come to an end after a certain time. There is a further reason which I am sure the House will appreciate. The Government have endeavoured of late years to make the discussion of Votes on Account as orderly as possible by putting down first some subject which we believe to be of special interest, and often Gentlemen who have other questions to raise feel they have a great grievance if the closure is moved. I therefore think it should be made clear by the Standing Orders that the debate is limited. There is no desire to curtail the liberties of the House by the alteration, but only to secure the orderly discussion of Supply and some relief to those who preside over the debates.

* (11.30.) SIR BRAMPTON GURDON (Norfolk, N.)

said he wished to callattention to a habit which had sprung up of late of taking one item in the Vote on Account and discussing it at length at that time instead of taking it when the Vote came up in due course. They had an example of this last year, when an Amendment was moved on the Educational Vote, and under the Rules of the House any hon. Member was out of order if he alluded to any other question upon that Vote not connected with education. The debate he referred to went on until twelve o'clock, when the First Lord of the Treasury came in and closured the Vote. If any responsible Minister had been in the House during the whole of the debate, he would have pointed out that it was absolutely necessary that the Vote on Account must be passed that night, and he would have suggested to hon. Members that it would have been better that the debate on the Educational Vote should cease at a certain time, and then other hon. Members who had anything to say upon the Vote on Account as such would have had an opportunity of doing so. He thought that any responsible Leader would have taken that course instead of coming into the House and closing items amounting to some £17,000,000. The amount of Supply had gradually grown, and he thought the right hon. Gentleman would agree that these were matters which the House ought to be allowed full opportunities of discussing. He thought the right hon. Gentleman would admit the necessity of discussing whether five or six months Supply was too much to be taken in one lump sum. He wished also to call attention to the new Votes. The object of a Vote on Account was that the current services should be carried on, and that the collection of the revenues should proceed. Such Votes were necessary in order that the work of the Treasury, the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, and other public Offices should proceed without interruption. That was the object of Votes on Account; but certainly no new works of a controversial character should be put in Votes on Account. Last year there was included a Vote for the Gladstone monument, and, although he did not think any hon. Member wished to question that expenditure, it was undoubtedly the constitutional right of the House that any hon. Member should be able to move the rejection of the whole of that Vote, and if it had been a Cromwell monument they would probably have had considerable opposition on the part of some hon. Members. The position would have been that they could not have rejected the Vote for that monument without rejecting the whole of the Vote on Account. He would not move any Amendment, but he should be very glad if this paragraph could be so worded that the discussion of the Vote on Account should be limited to the questions of the total amount of the Vote, and of the introduction of new or controversial services.


thought this was the proper occasion to call attention to the extent to which the new Rules were making every thing much more fixed and definitely settled automatically. He regretted that instead of relying partly upon the general sense of the House and partly upon the closure, which could always be moved when a proper case had been made out, a sort of automatic closure was now being adopted. A short discussion at a time when the Vote on Account was taken might be worth a great deal more than the prospect of a discussion later on. The right hon. Gentleman stated that it would be a disagreeable duty if the Chairman was asked to decide the closure. He wished to point out that the usage of the House generally fixed when the closure was to be applied, and when it was thought that a discussion ought not to exceed a day the Chairman or the Speaker ruled accordingly, and they seldom found it difficult in deciding what the sense and feeling of the House required. He was more inclined to rely upon the sense and usage of the House and the usage of the Chair, but the tendency of these Rules seemed to him to be to introduce automatic closure, which placed them in a coat of heavy armour which made the conducting of their business far more difficult than it was before. It was because he thought the new Rule would have this tendency that he should support the Amendment of his hon. friend if a division were taken.

(11.40.) MR. DILLON

thought there was great force in what had been said as to the desirability of fixing in the Rule the length of time which a debate on a Vote on Account was to last, thus relieving the Chair of the duty of applying the closure to a discussion which might have only just commenced. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to convey a false impression in regard to the history on Votes on Account because up to the advent of the present Government Votes on Account never exceeded more than two months of Supply, which were taken at intervals of about two months, and they never exceeded more than about £4,000,000 or £5,000,000. He thought the old practice was a good one. Therefore he thought the real fault had been in taking such an enormous Vote on Account, which undoubtedly had on more than one occasion given rise to the greatest possible irritation on the part

of Members of the House. The First Lord of the Treasury had admitted that he recognised it was natural and inevitable in taking Votes on Account that hon. Members should feel a deep sense of injury when they were closured on a matter which they considered very important. He must say that the change was a great and marked improvement, because nothing could be more futile and absurd than the old system of allowing the affairs of China or East Mayo to be discussed by different speakers in connection with the same Vote.

(11.43.) Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 186; Noes, 101. (Division List No. 137.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Dorington, Sir John Edward Long, Rt Hn Walter (Bristol, S.)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Allhusen, Augustus Hen Eden Duke, Henry Edward Lowe, Francis William
Arkwright, John Stanhope Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Lucas, Reginald J (Portsmouth)
Bain, Colonel James Robert Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Baird, John George Alexander Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Macartney, Rt Hn W. G. Ellison
Balcarres, Lord Finch, George H. Macdona, John Cumming
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs.
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Fisher, William Hayes M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim. E.
Bal four, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds Forster, Henry William Malcolm, Ian
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christen. Foster, Philip S (Warwick, S. W. Manners, Lord Cecil
Banbury, Frederick George Galloway, William Johnson Martin, Richard Biddulph
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks Gardner, Ernest Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Gibbs, Hn A. G. H. (City of Lond. Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire
Bignold, Arthur Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.
Boseawen, Arthur Griffith- Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elgin&Nairn) Mitchell, William
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop Molesworth, Sir Lewis
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)
Bull, William James Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Goulding, Edward Alfred Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Butcher, John George Gray, Ernest (West Ham) More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry Morgan, DavidJ (Walthamst'w
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Greene, Sir E. W (B'ry S Edm'nds Morrell, George Herbert
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury Morrison, James Archibald
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Greene, W. Rayniond-(Cambs.) Morton, Arthur H.A.(Deptford
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Greville, Hon. Ronald Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute
Chapman, Edward Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nder'y Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Charrington, Spencer Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashfo'd Myers, William Henry
Churchill, Winston Spencer Hare, Thomas Leigh Nicholson, William Graham
Clive, Captain Percy A. Heath, James (Staffords, N. W. Nicol, Donal Ninian
Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. Helder, Augustus Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Coghill, Douglas Harry Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Hickman, Sir Alfred Pemberton, John S. G.
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E. Penn, John
Compton, Lord Alwyne Hope, J. F. (Sheffield Brightside Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow Howard, Jno.(Kent, Faversham Plummer, Walter R.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Jebb, Sir Richard (Claverhouse Pretyman, Ernest George
Cranborne, Viscount Keswick, William Purvis, Robert
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth) Randles, John S.
Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Lawson, John Grant Rankin, Sir James
Crossley, Sir Savile Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Reid, James (Greenock)
Dalrymple, Sir Charles Leigh-Bennett, Henry Carrie Remnant, James Farquharson
Denny, Colonel Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S. Richards, Henry Charles
Dickson, Charles Scott Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Staly bridge
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Long, Col. CharlesW. (Evesham Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Stanley, Hn. Arthur Ormskirk) Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Robinson, Brooke Stanley, Lord (Lancs.) Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Round, James Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart Willoughby do Eresby, Lord
Russell, T. W. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley Willox, Sir John Archibald
Rutherford, John Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.
Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford- Talbot, Rt Hn J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.) Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Thornton, Percy M. Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.
Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W. Tollemache, Henry James Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Secly, Charles Hilton (Lincoln) Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Simeon, Sir Barrington Tuke, Sir John Batty Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Valentia, Viscount
Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East Wanklyn, James Leslie TELLERS FOE THE AYES—
Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Warde, Colonel C. E. Sir William Walrond and
Spear, John Ward Welby, Lt, Col. A. C. E. (Taunton Mr. Anstruther.
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick) O'Brien, Kendal (Tip'erary, Mid.
Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud Griffith, Ellis J. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Ambrose, Robert Hammond, John O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Asher, Alexander Harmsworth, R. Leicester O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Hayden, John Patrick O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- O'Dowd, John
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Blake, Edward Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E. O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. O'Malley, William
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Jones, William (Carnarvonshire O'Mara, James
Burke, E. Haviland- Joyce, Michael O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Buxton, Sydney Charles Kennedy, Patrick James Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Caldwell, James Lambert, George Pirie, Duncan V.
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Leigh, Sir Joseph Power, Patrick Joseph
Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Leng, Sir John Reddy, M.
Causton, Richard Knight Levy, Maurice Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Channing, Francis Allston Lewis, John Herbert Rigg, Richard
Clancy, John Joseph Lundon, W. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Condon, Thomas Joseph MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Crean, Eugene MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Roche, John
Cremer, William Randal MacVeagh, Jeremiah Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Mr. Arthur, William (Cornwall) Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Delany, William M'Crae, George Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants.
Donelan, Captain A. M'Hugh, Patrick A. Stevenson, Francis S.
Doogan, P. C. M'Kean, John Sullivan, Donal
Duncan, J. Hastings M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings
Elibank, Master of Mansfield, Horace Rendall Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)
Emmott, Alfred Mooney, John J. Weir, James Galloway
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Ffrench, Peter Moss, Samuel White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Field, William Murphy, John Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Flynn, James Christopher Nannetti, Joseph P.
Fuller, J. M. F. Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Captain Norton and Mr. Warner.
Gilhooly, James Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)
Goddard, Daniel Ford Nussey, Thomas Willans
(11.55.) MR. GHAKNIKG

moved an Amendment, of which the hon. Member for West Islington had given notice, to omit the following portion of the Standing Order— At midnight on the close of the day on which the Committee on that Vote is taken, and at the close of the Sitting on which the Report of that Vote is taken, the Chairman of Committees or the Speaker, as the case may be, shall forthwith put every Question necessary to dispose of the Vote or the Report.

He said the Amendment was practically to exclude the proposal with respect to the automatic guillotining of outstanding votes. The Leader of the House, or the Minister in charge of a Vote always had the power of moving the ordinary closure of debates in Supply. He had since 1896 always protested against the automatic guillotine, and having seen the disadvantage of that form of closure, and being convinced that it was a thoroughly unsound principle to apply either to legislation or Votes in Supply he objected to the proposal now made.

It being Midnight, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.

Adjourned at five minutes after Twelve o'clock till Monday next.