HC Deb 04 February 1902 vol 102 cc377-9

The first business on the Paper, a Motion standing in the name of the hon. Member for Banffshire, will not be in order, there having been Bills introduced dealing with this question.

MR. BLACK (Banffshire)

Upon a question of order, Sir, may I be allowed to submit that, although what is called a blockhouse system has been established, it is, perhaps, possible to get through the line of blockhouses by a precedent created in 1891, to which I venture to refer you, Sir. It was a case in which the hon. Member for Nottingham submitted a Resolution with regard to the question of local veto. There were, at that time, four Local Veto Bills upon the Paper—one for England, one for Ireland, one for Scotland, and one for Wales, and the question was raised whether the hon. Member would be in order in moving his Motion. Another hon. Member, who was in charge of the English Bill, withdrew his Bill in order to enable the hon. Member for Nottingham to proceed with his motion, and MR. Speaker Peel gave this ruling— The Resolution as drawn is in very general terms, and as it stands it applies to the whole United Kingdom—England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. A few days ago there were four Local Veto Bills before the House, but the Bill for England has been withdrawn so as to enable the hon. Gentleman to proceed with his Motion. As the Resolution stands, however, if affirmed by the House, it would prejudice the consideration of other Bills, and especially of the Irish measure. It would therefore be convenient if the hon. Member were to confine the terms of his Resolution to England, and this may be done by the insertion of the words, 'in England.' That would not only obviate every objection on the ground of anticipation, but the Motion would not then prejudice any other Bills on the Paper that the House may have ordered to be read on a future day." [(3) Debates ccclii., 1637.] The same thing has happened here. Yesterday, a Bill, applicable to the whole of the kingdom, was withdrawn, and I venture to submit that the only Bills on the Paper now, are two Bills referring to England alone, and have no reference to Scotland. It is quite true they are in general terms, but both the hon. Gentlemen promoting those Bills are in the House, and are prepared to say they only refer to England, and, therefore, in order to bring myself within the ruling of 1891, I beg to add to my Motion the words "in Scotland," so as to make it read as follows:— That, in the opinion of this House, a measure is urgently required in order that out of funds provided by taxation, or by local rating, better provision may be made for aged subjects of His Majesty in Scotland. I venture to submit that if those two words are added, the two Bills now standing on the Paper would not block this Motion. The Bills are not yet printed. The House will surely agree that, if the Bills had been printed, the precedent I quoted would have been applicable, and the question therefore is, whether their not having been printed rules out the precedent. If that is so, it will be very unfair to Bills for Scotland and Ireland, because any English Bill introduced, even though the Members promoting the measure were prepared to say it only applied to England, would block any other Bill for other parts of the United Kingdom. If, on the other hand, the mere act of printing a measure has any mechanical effect, then I should like to draw attention to the fact that a mere mistake of the printer might have a very serious effect on the legislation of the country.


No, I think the hon. Member's Motion is out of order. I can only look at the title of the Bill on the Paper. That would authorize the introduction of a Bill to cover all parts of the United Kingdom. The Bill may be so drawn and printed as to limit it afterwards, but I can only look at the Order Paper. If I must go into the question of what are the intentions of hon. Members, of what they conceive will be the extent and effect of their measures, I might be landed in extreme difficulty and confusion, because, in the case of some complicated Bills, it is not every hon. Member who is aware of the real scope of his Bill. The hon. Member's Motion is out of order.