§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed [18th February] to Amendment proposed to Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House):—
And which Amendment was, after the last Amendment—
To insert the words Wednesday and Thursday at Two of the clock for an Afternoon Sitting, and at Nine of the clock for an Evening Sitting. If the business appointed for an Afternoon Sitting is not disposed of at Eight of the clock, the Sitting shall be suspended till Nine of the clock. At One of the clock at the Evening Sitting.'"—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
And the Amendment to the proposed Amendment was—
To leave out the words 'Wednesday and.'"—(Mr. Laurence Hardy.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'Wednesday' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ (4.20.) MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said the object of the hon. Member for the Ashford Division of Kent was to preserve the present arrangement, and to prevent any interference with the Wednesday sittings. The Government's method of conducting the debate was extraordinary. At the opening of the discussion on Tuesday it was generally agreed that the question was whether Private Members' Bills were to be taken on Wednesdays or Fridays. But a few minutes before midnight the First Lord interrupted to point out that the Amendment did not decide what business should be taken on Friday, but only whether Friday or Wednesday was to be the day of a 12 o'clock sitting. What was the object of allowing the debate to go on for seven or eight hours on a misunderstanding?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
I deprecated discussing Friday at all in the preliminary discussion. As to the accusation that I have decided that the House is only debating on this question the hours of the Friday sitting, that decision is a question of order over which I have absolutely no control whatever.
§ MR. DILLON
said that the whole character of the debate would have been substantially altered, for every speech was delivered on the assumption that, if the 12 o'clock sitting were changed from Wednesday to Friday, private Bills now taken on Wednesday would in future be taken on Friday. In his opening statement the right hon. Gentleman had made that very plain. What were the words he used? He said the scheme would work automatically. The Monday morning and evening sittings would belong to the Government; on Tuesday the Government would have the morning sittings, and private Members the evening one; on Friday the same arrangement would 606 obtain, while on Thursday the afternoon and evening would be devoted to Supply. Friday was to take the place now held by Wednesdays—Wednesday would, in fact, be transferred bodily to Friday.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That is the plan of the Government. But this question is in two parts; and I cannot compel the House to discuss the two parts together.
§ MR. DILLON
rejoined that that was what the House had been doing all through. It was impossible to discuss them separately. The whole attitude of the House to the Friday sitting might be changed if it were decided that Government business would be taken on Fridays. The Government ought to say what they meant to do. That was only a reasonable question to put to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. DILLON
said that that was hardly a fair answer. The decision depended not upon the House but upon the Government, unless the right hon. Gentleman would leave the question open. The House was entitled to know what the intentions of the Government were. If this change were agreed to, what was to be the Government programme with regard to Fridays? That was an all-important question. If the right hon. Gentleman would give the House leave to vote freely in the matter, well and good, the House would decide the question; but they knew that the contrary would be the case, for according to the information he had received the Government Whips were putting more and more pressure on hon. Gentlemen in order to get the rules through in the shape in which the Government had submitted them. He ventured to assert that he was neither unreasonable, fractious, nor obstructive in insisting on having from the Government 607 a plain statement as to what business would be taken if the House sat at noon on Fridays. So far as he was concerned he preferred the present arrangement. All the arguments up to the present time had been that the Wednesday to Friday change would facilitate Private Members' Bills, but if the Government were now going to make an attempt to get the Friday first and then shove the private Members on to an afternoon sitting on some other day and give Friday to Supply that would alter the attitude and the votes of many hon. Members. It was unreasonable to demand this now before the House knew exactly what the change involved.
§ (4.34.) SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
Surely we have a right to know from the Leader of the House where we stand in this matter. The proposal is to alter the situation of Wednesday, and up to this time Wednesday has been appropriated to Private Members' Bills. Before this question is decided we ought to know what is to be substituted for Private Members' Bills for we have no information upon that subject.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am doing my best to make it clear. We have told the House over and over again what our plan is. Our plan is that Private Members' Bills should be taken on Friday, but it is perfectly impossible and out of order, and out of the power of the Government to decide by this vote whether that plan is to be carried into effect completely or not. I explained the plan of the Government in the original speech I made.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Do I understand that the Government take their stand on their proposal that the time on Friday should be devoted to Private Members' Bills at a morning sitting, and to take Wednesday, which arises on this Amendment, for a morning and evening sitting to be devoted to Government business? Am I to understand that there is no alteration in the views of the Government upon that subject, and that that is the plan to which they intend to adhere? Am I right in that assumption?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Then that alters the whole thing. We ought to have a clear understanding, and I must say that the statement of the right hon. Gentleman on the evening of the last discussion, and even to day, was very ambiguous. From the expression he has used he seems to still consider it a very doubtful matter what to do with Friday. I think we are entitled to know, if we give up Wednesday what private Members are to have, if they do not have Friday. The right hon. Gentleman says this may be decided when we come to Friday, but I contend that it ought to be decided before. We cannot really deal with this question of Wednesday, unless we have some tolerable certainty as to what will be substituted. I will ask the right hon. Gentleman, as he has put it as a questionable matter, if the House decides upon the Friday under those circumstances what will he do with Wednesday, and what substitute will be given, because we may have disposed of all the time beforehand. Supposing the House determines that Government business shall be taken on Friday there will be no time to substitute for that taken away from private Members on Wednesday. For my own part, I strongly adhere to the existing plan of the Wednesday. I think it is a very good thing to have a rest in the middle of the week, rather than have this change. I have a very strong opinion that the result of this Friday sitting will mean the loss of Friday altogether, and it will be regarded outside as a matter of giving less attention and less time to the work of the House of Commons, and as sacrificing business to private holidays. Therefore, so far from impressing the country with the idea that what we desire is to do more work, the impression produced will be exactly the opposite, for when they see that the House of Commons practically does not sit for any useful purpose on Fridays, as it used to sit before, they will think that we have been sacrificing the efficiency of the House of Commons to the convenience of hon. Members opposite. For these reasons I shall vote for the adherence to Wednesday as before.
§ (4.42.) MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)
said the answers given by the right hon. Gentleman had placed him in a con- 609 siderable difficulty. He was greatly opposed to the idea of having Private Members' Bills taken at a morning sitting on Friday, because he was convinced that nothing but harm could result from that proposal. It was very easy to argue that the Second Readings would not be conclusive, but he felt that all hon. Members ought to do what they could to prevent the House of Commons obtaining still more the character of a mere academic debating society that it had at present. He was prepared to vote against the allocating of morning sittings on Fridays to Private Members' Bills. But he did not attach the same importance to there being a morning sitting on Friday and no evening sitting. He gathered that the Government had decided to make it a Government question whether they should have a morning sitting and an adjournment on Friday, but he earnestly asked the First Lord of the Treasury not to put any sort of pressure upon his supporters with regard to the taking of the morning sitting on Friday for Private Members' Bills. All that was fundamental in the new Rules he would Support, but the proposal before the House was a matter upon which each hon. Member was competent to form a sound judgment. The Government were under the impression that this proposal would be generally popular and attractive, and he did not blame them for adopting that supposition. When he first heard of it he thought himself that it seemed to be very attractive. Many other hon. Members had said that while at first they thought this change was a delightful proposal, the more they considered it the more they came to the conclusion that it would be derogatory to the efficiency of the House. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would not think that he had the least desire to embarrass the Government, for that was the last thing he had in his mind. He understood the main purpose of the scheme was to increase the security and certainty of Government business, and, if possible, prevent private Members time from being gradually filched by the Government as had been the case in the past. To achieve those objects he would give the Government scheme as a whole his hearty support. He did, however, ask 610 the First Lord of the Treasury to respect the deep and conscientious convictions of hon. Members when they said that if the Government were going to take Friday morning sittings for Private Members' Bills they would be doing something which might be very mischievous, and which would impair the popular credit of the House of Commons.
§ MR. JOSEPH A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)
said if the First Lord of the Treasury would adopt the suggestion which had been made the Government would actually gain time, for they would be getting five and a half hours of Government time on Friday, whilst private Members would be sacrificing a certain amount of time in order to obtain an efficient debate upon an earlier day in the week. If private business commenced at two o'clock and the Government plan was adhered to, then under their proposal they would have four hours fifty minutes as against the five and a half hours which was suggested by the hon. Member opposite. If the suggestion of the hon. Member for Norwich was met, that the Government business should commence at three o'clock, the Government would have five and a half hours on Friday instead of a shorter period on an earlier day in the week. He thought that was an argument which the Government ought to consider.
§ (4.45.) SIR F. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)
said the strain of the work of the House was very great, particularly on the older Members. He asked whether the Government thought they would be able to get their supporters to come down to the House four nights running. They came on Monday and Tuesday, and when they got a holiday on Wednesday they were prepared to come on Thursday and Friday. While a loyal supporter of the Government, he could not help feeling that they should not insist on this proposal.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said the Government had put forward these proposals professedly with a view to the convenience of the House, and undoubtedly the House itself should be left free to decide on a matter relat- 611 ing to its own convenience, and the performance of the work for which they were sent there. But the Government were going to put on Party pressure and employ the Party Whips in the matter, so that instead of consulting the convenience of the House they were, when it came to a division, going to consult their own convenience. It was not fair to him who certainly exercised a certain independence, and it was not fair to hon. Members behind who usually exercised less independence. He was not sure that this might not have an effect contrary to that which was expected, because hon Members were apt to resent this sort of dictation in a matter where they ought to be left free. When this proposal was made it was held forth that Members would probably be able to go away on Thursday and stay until Monday, certainly to go away from Friday until Monday. But he was glad to see that many hon. Members had come to the conclusion that although their own interests were worth something, they had higher and more imperative interests. They had to consult the interests of the country which they were sent here to look after. The more this proposal was looked at, the less it was liked. The more Members looked at it, the less disposed they were to sacrifice the business of the House to their own personal convenience. It was creditable that in spite of the tempting bait held out to them, there should be such a strong expression of opinion on both sides. This Wednesday question was, in his opinion, one with the Friday question, and it was for that reason that he put down an Amendment, which, however, he did not now intend to move. He asked the House to observe what the result would be if the proposed Rule were adopted. All those Members who did not feel so stron a sense of duty as to be obliged to remain on Friday would have gone away, and the House would be peopled by Members who wished to pass certain Bills, possibly by different sections of Members, each of which wished to pass their own Bill. He thought there would be a system of log-rolling, and one Member would say to another, "If you attend on my Friday to pass the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, I will attend 612 on your Friday to pass the Taxation of Land Values Bill." The Members who were interested in Supply alone would be away, and the zealots would be in full and uncontrolled possession of the House. They would have the most extraordinary Bills brought forward on Friday. By having these Bills on Wednesday, a counter - balance of attendance was secured, for Wednesday coming between two working days was not sufficient to tempt Members away to the country. The result was that they had a much more representative attendance in the House than they otherwise would have. But if they put work down for Friday, they would have none of that counterbalance which he had mentioned. He might be allowed to say that he was one of those who did not wholly neglect their business in this House, and that he undertook a considerable share of the work which preceded the meeting of the House. His case was this: Wednesday was invaluable to every Member of this House. On Monday and Tuesday they were engaged perhaps in strenuous work and strenuous speech in this House, possibly in the Committee stages of most important measures. Then came Wednesday, and they immediately had a feeling of relief. They were able to overlook the work done on Monday and Tuesday, and perhaps some of that done in the preceding week. It was the day when new ideas occurred to them in regard to measures, and they were able in that way sometimes to remove opposition and to arrange compromises. Wednesday, for the same reason, was invaluable to the Government when they were endeavouring to pass a difficult and contentious measure. The right hon. Gentleman knew that in passing a contentious measure, difficulties constantly arose, which required to be dealt with there and then if it was to go through. Wednesday was exactly the day when the ingenious compromise occurred to Ministers which enabled them to get their measures through. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT nodded assent.] He was glad the right hon. Gentleman opposite nodded assent, for nobody had ever had a more difficult Bill to pass through the House, a proposal which he brought forward being 613 discussed for three months. Wednesday was what sailors called a "stand easy," but under the proposed arrangement there were to be two sittings that day. The more he looked at the new Rules, the more he was convinced that the present rules were the right ones, and that the present allocation of time was right. An adequate attendance was secured in the House on Wednesday to deal with the revolutionary proposals sometimes made from both sides of the House. He earnestly trusted that the Government would reconsider and abandon the proposal for altering the character of Wednesday.
§ (4.57.) MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
said he was afraid the hon. Member for King's Lynn had thrown out some temptation to the Government to adhere to the proposal, because if he was deprived of Wednesday he would not have so much time for composing the strenuous speeches to which he had alluded. According to the hon. Member for Thirsk, who introduced this Rule, a large number of Members would go home or to business on Friday. The Leader of the House and the Colonial Secretary thought this would make the House more attractive to Gentlemen who had limited time. That was their reason for proposing the Rule. But if they made this change, questions of great importance would be debated in an attenuated House without sufficient logic and argument, and carried by small majorities, by no means representative of the House. Under such circumstances, the House would do nothing but lose in dignity.
§ (4.59.) MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
asked the Leader of the House not to yield to the request of the hon. Member for King's Lynn and others in regard to the removal of what they called the pressure of the Government. If Government pressure was taken off on this particular point, it would be most unfair to a great number of Members on this side of the House who had supported the proposals of the Government on other particulars, though their predilections might not be in favour of them. This weighed with him more than any other proposal made by the Government. He had been in the House on probably more Wednesdays during the last six- 614 teen years than most other Members; and he thought that the hon. Members for Ashford and Chelsea had on these occasions been conspicuous by their absence. It was notorious that the Wednesday Houses were extremely thin; and there was no reason to suppose that there would not be an adequate number of Members to debate any subjects coming on on Fridays. It was perfectly absurd to suppose that the mere transfer of private Members' business from Wednesday to Friday would work such a transformation that Private Members' Bills would be placed at a disadvantage. It had been urged by some Members that the Wednesday morning sitting was a great relief; but it would be nothing to the relief gained by having a reasonable dinner hour on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. He agreed with the First Lord of the Treasury that what was most convenient for the majority of the House tended to the advantage of public business. He had been sent there either to support the Government or the Opposition, and he was sure that nine Members out of ten had not been sent there to listen to or discuss Private Bills. He had spent many weary hours in opposing on Wednesdays legislation of a character which he thought extremely dangerous; and he supposed that in future he would have to do the same on Fridays. He would point out that all the dangers alleged to attach to the change of days were merely hypothetical; and he hoped the First Lord of the Treasury would adhere to the proposals he had put before the House, and that he would not yield to the demand made by the hon. Member for Chelsea to take off the pressure upon his followers.
§ (5.7) SIR FREDERICK MILNER (Nottinghamshire, Bassetlaw)
said he could conscientiously give the proposals of the Government his hearty support, and for two reasons. First, because he thought they conformed to the general opinion of the majority of the House; and second, because he believed the change in both the hours and the days would tend to the efficiency of the House. Moreover, he frankly expressed his approval of the proposals for a more or less selfish reason, because, being a domestic man, he looked forward to spending four 615 nights a week in the bosom of his family. Having settled days and hours for it, the work of the nation would be more efficiently discharged, because hitherto they had never known when to come down to the House, and tim was wasted by private business and Questions. A good deal had been said as to the new Rules depriving private Members of their opportunities of bringing in Bills, but during the twenty years he had been in the House, while the procedure had sometimes prevented private Members from accomplishing much useful work, it had also prevented them from doing a good deal of mischief. The hon. Member for Chelsea had said it would probably be better to give private Members another day than Friday, but he himself felt that if there was any important Bill on, there would be quite a large attendance of Members on that day. The Leader of the Opposition, with very bad taste, as he thought, insinuated that the chief part of these new Rules had been brought in for the benefit and convenience of what he called the "smart set" in the House. That example of bad taste had, he was glad to say, not been followed. The Government had consulted the convenience of the whole House, and not any particular section of it; and the fact that the hon. Member for Leicester was one of the warmest advocates of the proposal was the best answer to the Leader of the Opposition.
§ (5.12.) SIR JOSEPH LEESE (Lancashire, Accrington)
said that he was not a supporter of the Government. He, however, claimed to be loyal to his constituency, and, through them, to the public advantage. He might point out that if this Rule could be shown to afford more time to the Government for the transaction of public business, he should have felt inclined to support it. He wanted no repetition of the monstrous thing which happened last year, when no fewer than 70 Votes were passed in Supply without discussion. He did not believe that a single hour would be gained by the Rule, and he could not, therefore, support it.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
scarcely thought that his right hon. friend who addressed the House a few moments before had helped the Government very much in this matter, when he put it that this was very largely a 616 question of personal convenience and not a matter which, in the first instance, affected non-official Members. His right hon. friend had pressed the Leader of the House to use all his personal influence in forcing the House to a conclusion. Now, he thought the Leader of the House had been most considerate on that point, and had used no language which indicated any desire to bring undue pressure to bear on his supporters. Personally he thought it was his duty to exercise his individual judgment whatever his right hon. friend or his colleagues might think or do. At the same time he must differ from his right hon. friend with regret. He was, however, not sure that if all his right hon. friends his colleagues were polled individually on the matter there would be a consensus of opinion upon it. This was obviously a question which hon. Members must decide for themselves, and anyone with a spark of spirit in him would decide it for himself. He did not want to go over the ground as to the substitution of Friday for Wednesday for private Members business, but he thought that many considerations had been somewhat obscured in the discussion. The Friday sitting, as had been pointed out, would be very frequently taken in hand by the log-rollers of whom the hon. Member for King's Lynn had spoken. He thought, moreover, that four consecutive long nights would not redound to the output of useful work. Each night would be divided amongst different classes of business, and the system would be entirely changed. It would not be denied that the break in the week, which had become a matter of habit, was useful, and had better not be interfered with. It was impossible not to consider the allocation of the time of the House when discussing the question of the change from Wednesday to Friday, but he would not be in order in dealing with that in detail. His right hon. friend had, however, thrown out a hint that perhaps some other arrangement might be made for the business of unofficial Members, and he thought they ought to know what that arrangement was. The only practical question before the House was whether they were to give up Wednesday to the Government and whether Private Members' Bills should be taken on Friday. They should exercise their own individual judgment on it, and whatever 617 might be thought on a particular Bench, he hoped the House of Commons would decide the matter for itself.
§ (5.18.) MR. MELLOR (Yorkshire, W.R., Sowerby)
said the question was not in any sense political, and he hoped it would also be regarded as a non-Party one. As his hon. friend had said, their duty as Members of Parliament was to make their Rules efficient in order that they might be able to carry on the business of the House of Commons to the satisfaction of the public. The reason why a good many Members were naturally unwilling to agree to the proposed change was that they thought that the Government had already a very large share of the time of the House, and were, therefore, unwilling that anything should be done to limit the time which was now given to private Members for their Bills. He agreed that Friday would probably produce a thin House, and that it was very undesirable that these Bills should be relegated to such a House, as private Members would not have a fair chance of pressing their measures in a full House or of having a thorough and satisfactory discussion. He thought it would be difficult to have a satisfactory House on Friday. Up to 1880 the first Question put on Friday by the Speaker was, "That I do now leave the Chair," and on that Question private Members had a right to move Amendments similar to the present Tuesday Motions. It was found that private Members could not keep a satisfactory House on that day, and at times that they could not keep a House at all. An appeal was made to Mr. Gladstone, who was then Prime Minister, and he was asked whether the Government would keep a House on Friday. Mr. Gladstone said he thought it ought to be regarded as a Government day, and since then a House had been kept. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Antrim said that there was now an insufficient attendance on Wednesday, but if that were the case on Wednesday, which was between two full days, what would be the case on Friday? He put it to the Leader of the House that it was not desirable that the Government should do anything that would look like taking away important time from private 618 Members, unless they were absolutely driven to it by some sudden and great emergency. There was another consideration why the House should retain Wednesday as it was, and that was that it was a most important break in the middle of the week. It was all very well to say that Members were only thinking of their own convenience. That was not the case on one side or the other. When he was Chairman of Committees he had a great deal of experience of morning and evening sittings, and he could assure the House that the break on Wednesday was of much importance to the House. It was of importance to hon. Members who attended to their duties, and was most important to the Chair and the officers of the House. In considering these questions, they ought never to put out of consideration the position of the Chair and the Officers of the House. The Speaker and Chairman had his mind constantly at a stretch, and he was really afraid that if they compelled either the Speaker or the Chairman to sit four nights in succession with four morning sittings, they would be casting an amount of labour on the Chair, which would cause a very considerable amount of fatigue.
§ *MR. MELLOR
said that he, as Chairman of Committees, had sat four days a week, and after Whitsuntide, when the Government took the time of the House and when an important Bill was in Committee, the Chairman would probably have to sit four days a week. Therefore, he thought that was a very unreasonable amount of labour to put on the Chair 619 without a sufficient break in the middle of the week. If the Government had made up their minds to meet at twelve o'clock on Friday, he would suggest that the House should also meet at twelve o'clock on Wednesday. The Wednesday adjournment was so important that he hoped the House would not give it up, and he thought that very little harm would be done by meeting at noon on Wednesday as well as on Friday.
§ (5.26.) MR. RANDLES (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
said that much had been said about preserving the rights of private Members, but as far as he could judge the sense of the constituencies now was, and increasingly so, that the private Member was doing the best service to his constituency, for he supported the party he was sent to support, and used such influence as was at his disposal to further the needs and objects, he was elected principally to serve. Speaking with little experience, the proposed change from Wednesday to Friday appeared to him to be eminently sensible. It appealed to him as being a businesslike proposal, and as one calculated to secure the better transaction of the important business which came before that assembly. The private convenience of individual Members was perhaps a minor argument, but it certainly was a convenience, that Members who were engaged in various public and private occupations at a distance from London should be able to get into the country on Friday night or Saturday morning, and to come into contact with their constituents during the progress of the session. While it might be inconvenient to some extent to hon. Members engaged in London, still the maximum convenience of the House should be considered with a view to the efficient discharge of the duties they had to perform. It was not conducive to the public interest that important estimates involving considerable expenditure should be considered at the fag end of the week. It was said that there would be a thin House on Friday for the consideration of the academic and obstruse questions brought forward by private Members; but a thin House was more favourable to a private Member than a full House if he wished to bring in a 620 revolutionary measure, as there would be less opposition to cope with. He thought the term of membership would not be entirely futile for he supported the Government in proposals which were introduced, he believed, for the general convenience of the House.
§ (5.30.) SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, W.)
I should like to interpose a word or two before the Leader of the House gives his opinion. I venture to suggest that there are two questions in this substitution of Friday for Wednesday, and that we cannot look at the question as a whole without having regard to both these considerations. The first consideration is the efficiency of the conduct of the business of the House, and the best mode of discharging that branch of our work, and the second is the convenience of the Members themselves. The first question we have to consider is, what will best promote the work of the House and the discharge of business, and I think we are entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman why the experience of fifty years is to be put on one side. If a system which, during the last half a century, has worked satisfactorily alike to the Government and unofficial Members is to be interfered with, what are we to gain by it? I have no sympathy with the opinions expressed in this debate as to the Wednesday sittings of the House being devoted to fanatics and faddists. If by that it is meant that there is to be no legislation at all by unofficial Members, that all legislation is to be confined to the Government, and that no unofficial Member may bring in a Bill at all, say so plainly, and let it be understood by the Members of this House and their constituents. But the history of the last fifty years disproves the force of that argument. Many of the most useful measures on the Statute - book have been introduced on their first initiation by private Members on a Wednesday. Some of the measures brought in on a Wednesday are among the most valuable on the Statute-book. Some of them have been discussed, though it was known they could not pass all their stages in the House, and public opinion has been educated 621 and convinced. It will be a great loss to the country if these debates are done away with. Some one spoke in very contemptuous terms of yesterday's debate, but I think that debate was a credit to both sides of the House. The House approached the subject of the debate in a manner in which they ought to approach a great and difficult question, and a subject which some day or other some Government will have to take up. But it is asked: "Why should not this be done on a Friday?" Why not! For the simple reason that you will not get on Friday afternoon the same interest, the same debate, the same power, and the same effect on public opinion that you would have on Wednesday afternoon. We must look at these Rules as a whole, and the effect of this change is—it is a part of a scheme to enable Members to leave for the country or elsewhere to attend to other matters which, no doubt, are very important. No one can doubt but that the Friday sitting will be very attenuated; that the efforts of the Whips will be unable to keep a House, and that that day may be wiped out, as a day for public business, altogether.
The right hon. Gentleman may, in the debate, give us some reason how public business will be best promoted by the change. It cannot be Government business. No Government business is introduced on Wednesday. I should have thought the Government were not indisposed to recognise the importance of Wednesday. It is a day when Cabinets meet, and when that Front Bench is deserted by the Government; it is the day that members of the Government devote to their Departmental duties, and that is a matter which is worthy of consideration. When are the members of the Government going to attend to their Departments if the House is to sit on Wednesday I afternoons, and they are not to have the relief they ought to have? Then it is said that what tends most to the convenience of private Members tends most to the convenience of the House, but who is the best judge of the convenience of the Members? Opinions differ on this matter; there are some who think the convenience of Members will be served by the change from Wednesday to the Friday, and others who object to that change also on the ground of con- 622 venience. It is not a question for the Government, but a question on which the House itself is the best judge, the true judge, and the only judge. If the right hon. Gentleman had said, "I believe this change to be absolutely essential to carry on the business of the the country; I cannot carry on the business of the country with reference to Supply or legislation or administration unless we get rid of Wednesday and take the business we generally take on Wednesday on a Friday," then I think he would be quite justified in making this question what Mr. Gladstone used to call a vital question. But I cannot conceive a right hon. Gentleman in his position, having, as he says, the confidence of the country, resigning if the House does not give him this Wednesday. Mr. Gladstone had a strong majority in 1881, but he did not believe it to be necessary for the large changes he made to force his opinion on the House. I remember that there were several revolts on that side of the House in 1881, and that Mr. Gladstone gave way when he saw a matter was not received with favour. Mr. Smith did the same thing, and modified his arrangements when he saw that the general sense of the House was the other way. I do not say that the general sense of the House may not be convinced by the right hon. Gentleman's argument. What I say is that it is not fair that he should make this question a vital question and not allow the House to have its own opinion on the matter. What is convenient to "A" is not convenient to "B." How the division will go I do not know. I know a great many Members on that side will vote in favour of the Government, and that a great many of the leading Members on this side will vote against the right hon. Gentleman's proposals; but however that may be, this question ought to be decided by the House itself, uninfluenced in any way except by argument, and in my opinion the House of Commons ought to be allowed a free and independent judgment in the matter.
§ (5.40.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
This is a question upon which the Government take a strong view; it is a question to which we have given most careful consideration, and we do 623 not think, as the right hon. Gentleman appears to suppose, that the only consideration which we ought to take account of is the desire of this Member or of that Member to work on Friday, or the desire of this Member or that Member to have a holiday on Wednesday. Those are very important considerations, but they are not the sole considerations which suggested themselves to the Government in making this change, and before I sit down I shall explain to the House why it is we attach such importance to this discussion.
Before I come to that, let me deal with one objection not referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, but referred to at some length by other speakers—the hon. Member for King's Lynn, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet, and others — the argument that it would throw an undue burden, firstly, on the House at large; secondly, on the officers of the House; and thirdly, on the Ministers, by depriving them of that repose which is given by the short sitting on the Wednesday. I think there is some weight in that argument, but that weight is notably diminished by a circumstance which has not been referred to in any single one of the speeches we have heard—namely, that under these Rules there will be rest given by the interval for dinner on each one of the four days. [A Voice: "One hour."] No, not one hour; on the contrary, frequently more than that to the various speakers; certainly more than that to the Chairman of Committees and to Mr. Speaker, who will have to sit only three days in the week. Therefore, so far as the most important persons are concerned, the Rule provides for that. There are circumstances — not very common circumstances—under which the Chairman of Committees may be in the Chair on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but he has now got a Deputy Assistant, and there will be this lengthened interval, so I think the weight of the argument can be very easily exaggerated, while no attempt has been made to give weight to the considerations on the other side.
Now, I pass from the relatively insignificant, but by no means negligeable, factor in the consideration of this question. If I truly interpret the 624 sense of the majority of those who have spoken against this change, it is a fear, and, as I venture to think, a fantastic fear, that has been raised in their bosoms, that Fridays will be handed over to faddists, philanthropists, and revolutionists. I shall have something to say on that point later. But I may here interpolate an observation—though it would be out of order to dwell at length on the matter—which I think ought to be made before we go to a division. I understand that the terrors of these friends of mine are augmented by a proposed Rule standing on the Paper by which practically there may be settled in one debate, not only whether a Bill shall be read a second time, but also whether it shall go to a Grand Committee. Within the last few days I have had the advantage of hearing representations made by gentlemen intimately acquainted with the working of Grand Committees—far more intimately acquainted with their working than I can profess to be. These gentlemen, some of whom have been Chairmen of Grand Committees, have represented to me that such a change as is proposed, would, by increasing the number of Bills sent up, threaten with destruction the whole machinery of these Grand Committees. They have quite convinced me. ["Oh, oh!"] Those are the representations made to me; I do not wish to pursue the point, as it is really out of order at present, but, at all events, they have convinced me that that change cannot and ought not to be considered alone, and that before adopting it the whole machinery of the Grand Committees, the method by which Bills are sent, and the kind of Bills that ought to be sent to them, should have the most careful consideration of a Committee of this House. Under these circumstances, with such authority against them, the Government do not propose to press that Rule any further on the consideration of the House.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am sorry not to have the favour of the Hon. Member for East Mayo in this proposal, but the good fortune of getting him to agree with me on any aspect of 625 any question is of such rare occurrence that I cannot profess to have any very bitter disppointment at finding myself, even on this occasion, in opposition to him.
Now, Sir, what is the argumentative basis of almost every oration which we have heard in connection with this subject? It is that the difficulty of inducing Members of this House to attend on Friday—even on Friday afternoon—is so great that we cannot ask them to undergo the sacrifice. Let us suppose that to be true—although I think I can show it is untrue—what then becomes of the work of Supply? I am really astounded at the view which has been taken in this discussion as to the relative value and importance of private Members' legislation and the work of Supply. As far as the Government is concerned, undoubtedly the work of Supply is absolutely necessary, because if the Government is beaten or frequently beaten in Supply, it is clearly impossible for them any longer to hold office. Very well. So far as the Government is concerned, Supply is no doubt vital. But as regards the rest of the House, when did Supply sink to this small and insignificant place among the matters that we have to discuss? When we come to the Supply Rule we shall hear speeches of a very different tenour. We shall then be told that Supply is the very root and basis of our whole system; the most important thing we have to discuss; the only means of bringing a recalcitrant Government to its senses; the only method by which the the attention of the country can be called to grave scandals and abuses. No doubt my hon. friend the Member of King's Lynn, who has been foremost in denouncing this as he has been in denouncing every other suggestion—
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
The right hon. Gentleman must really forgive me interrupting him; I not only have not denounced every proposal of the Government, but, on the contrary, I supported one the other night.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Then I express fervent gratitude for a rare favour. But I was thinking, when I made that 626 observation, of the original speech of the hon. Member on these Rules, in which he did not point out one single merit which these Rules possessed, but rather urged that there was not a single demerit which changes could possibly possess of which these Rules did not show flagrant and striking examples. Under these circumstances, I think I was justified in saying that my hon. friend took a leading part in the opposition of these Rules. But that is a parenthesis. Those who have taken a leading part against these Rules, when we come to the proposals which regard Supply, will, say that Supply is the one thing of importance; the one way of controlling the Government; the one way of introducing order into our finances, and a far more important subject of discussion than any mere proposals of a legislative kind for which the Government make themselves responsible. Mark you, the argument is that Members cannot be got to attend on Friday mornings. I can tell the House that the difficulty is not to get Members to attend on Friday morning, but to get them to attend on Friday evening, and it is on Friday evenings, if we take the advice of these supporters of Supply, we are to consider the finances of the country week by week, and month by month. There may be dangers in the scant attendance of Members on Fridays under the Rule we propose, but what are they compared with the dangers we shall run if Supply is discussed in an utterly insufficient House, or if chance divisions are taken by which the opinion of the House is not properly represented? That argument will make clear why I drew the distinction, so much objected to by the Member for East Mayo, between the proposal for having a morning sitting on Friday, and, the proposal to have a sitting devoted to private Members' legislation. I think we ought to have that sitting devoted to private Members. That is the plan of the Government. But it is far more fundmental in our view that we should not have a Friday evening sitting, in which the House has no representative force; in such circumstances, for no purpose whatever, least of all for the purpose of conducting the financial 627 business of the country, is it proper we should be asked to meet. This consideration ought to be present to the minds of all who talk of the credit of the House. Speaker after speaker has told us that the credit of the House will be sacrificed if there is not a large attendance at half-past five in the afternoon to vote for or against some Private Bill. Is not the credit of the House as much involved in having a large attendance at half-past nine on Friday evenings if at the time we are asked to consider Supply? I think that is more important. But I do not think there will be any difficulty at all on important Bills, in getting Members to attend and take their fair share in the work at half-past five. Everybody acquainted with the working of the House knows perfectly well the difficulty of inducing Members to come back at 9 o'clock to sit through the not always very attractive or businesslike discussions that are forced upon us in Supply. That difficulty may be, and indeed is, almost insuperable.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton, in the speech he has just delivered, said that this Wednesday Rule has worked for fifty years with perfect satisfaction to the House, to successive Governments, and to the country; and he asks what change there is in the circumstances in which we now meet, which justify or necessitate this alteration. I will tell the right hon. Gentleman. There is—and it is folly to shut our eyes to it—an immense change in the habits of the people with regard to what are now called "week-ends," of which the influence is, must be, and ought to be, felt in this House. I am told on all hands that in all industries, in all classes, right through the whole community, the enormous increase of the facilities of locomotion has made a change in the habits of the people—and in our own habits, too, who are representative of the people—which it would be folly on the part of this House to ignore. I think, on the whole, the change is a good one, but I will not argue the question. We have to take things as we find them, and whereas it may have been, and indeed was, perfectly suitable to the habits of this House in 628 former days to sit on Friday night up to twelve or one or two o'clock, I think it is perfectly unsuitable to the modern conditions under which we live. If anybody doubts the value or force of that argument, I would ask him to consider who it is that helps to carry on the necessary business of the country late on Friday nights. I am not going to do anything so invidious—I was going to say discourteous—as to mention names, but I would ask all the Gentlemen who have spoken against this Rule— with the exception, I must say, of my hon. friend the Member for Peckham—to consider what assistance they have given to the passage of Supply late on Friday nights. Are they among the Members upon whom the Government can count to sacrifice their convenience and come down to sit through the tedious debates on Supply? I do not know, but I am pretty certain that a conscientious examination of their own records will convince my hon. friends, with the exception I have mentioned, that, at all events, whoever is to carry on the work of Supply on Friday nights, they are not to be counted among them.
That, it will be observed, is of vital importance when I come to deal with the appeal so freely made from both sides of the House to leave this an open question. On what is the appeal based to allow Members to vote as they feel disposed upon this question? It is based on the plausible argument that, whereas this arrangement is intended to suit the convenience of Members of the House, it is the Members of the House whose convenience is consulted who ought to decide, and that every man should be left with perfect security to say what will or will not suit his convenience. But the House is not voting on the convenience of all the Members of the House. What we are going to vote upon is this—whether those who do not mean to attend on Friday are going to compel those who, under pressure, would attend on Friday, to do so; and I do not see why that subject should be left open. It is a subject of far wider and of more far-reaching effect than the convenience of Mr. A, Mr. B, or Mr. C; and for these reasons the Government are clearly of opinion that, by the conditions under which we now carry on our work, there ought not to be an evening sitting on Friday. There are great advan- 629 tages in having even for a morning sitting private Bill legislation on a Friday rather than Supply. Private Bill legislation is known throughout the whole of our work practically from the first week of the session. Any Member can look ahead at the list of Bills and see what are the controversial measures which affect his constituency, and he can make his arrangements a month or even four months ahead if he pleases. With Supply, however, the case is different. Divisions come on at an uncertain period, and no human being can tell a week ahead what will be the subject of discussion or what form it will take. Though we regard it as relatively of secondary importance that there should be a twelve o'clock sitting on Friday, we do not think on the whole that that will be the most convenient arrangement for the House and for the country. I think we have a right—and I think the House will feel that I have endeavoured to make out a case—to look at this matter from all sides. Having done so, and having told the House that this is really no mere passing fancy of the Government, but a maturely considered change, I think that may appeal, and I am sure that I shall not appeal in vain, to the loyal support of those who habitually help us.
§ (6.5.) MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W. R., Pudsey)
said he was very sorry to hear what had just fallen from the Leader of the House, for he had declared distinctly that this matter must be considered as a Government question. He ventured to suggest that this was a matter which ought to be left to the free and unfettered vote and decision of every hon. Member of the House. It was not in any shape or form a question of the Government against the Opposition, and it was not of a Party character. The change from Wednesday to Friday and the reverse was not a matter which would expedite Government business, and it would in no way assist Government legislation. On the contrary, it would retard it. The other changes which had been proposed were in quite a different category. His objection to the whole of these changes was that they were conceived not in the interests of those hon. Members who desired to take part in the debates, but in the interests of those who 630 only wished to put in an appearance from time to time to rush into the "aye" or "no" Lobby, entirely ignorant of what they were voting for, and did not care so long as they voted in the Government Lobby. The Rule under discussion was not only unpopular on the Opposition side, but also on the Government side, and the First Lord of the Treasury dare not take off the Government pressure, or the Vote would go against him. An hon. Member opposite had told him that he did not like this Rule, and it was more like bullying them to cram this Rule down their throats in this way. The right hon. Gentleman would get his Rule through much easier if he would leave it to the unfettered judgment of the House. If it was left an open question as to whether hon. Members preferred this change or the old Wednesday arrangement, then the decision would be whatever was the most convenient to the majority of the House. He hoped the debate on this point would not close without further discussion. It had been said that the Government could not afford to leave this to the judgment of the House, because it would form a very awkward precedent, but he ventured to say that that was a very unworthy argument to put forward.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
said that argument had been used by hon. Members opposite. He asked the right hon. Gentleman, even at the eleventh hour, to consider this point. It would facilitate matters, create a good impression, and tend to discourage discussion upon other Rules, if the right hon. Gentleman would come forward and make this concession for the individual comfort and convenience of the House.
§ (6.14) MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
I ask the permission of the House to say a word or two in support of that chorus—I might say consensus—of opinion on the part of the more experienced hon. Members of this House who are altogether opposed, it appears from the debate, to relegating Fridays to the business of private Members. I think it must be admitted by all who have listened to this debate that the 631 hon. Member for East Mayo was more than justified in his contention at the commencement of this debate that Wednesdays and Fridays must be discussed together. There is no doubt that they are inseparable, and I am bound to say that that is what I always understood it to be from the first. We know now perfectly clearly where we stand.
In the first place I should like to say a word or two in reply to my right hon. friend. He expressed his unbounded surprise that in all the speeches which had been made, and which objected to the undue work which would be thrown both upon the Members and the Officials of the House by continuous four-day sittings, nothing had been said with regard to the great relief they would enjoy by the adjournment for dinner. But, after all, what does that amount to? The House is to adjourn from eight until nine. It is the practice of the Speaker or the Chairman now to leave the House for half an hour, so that what it comes to is that they are to half an hour additional leisure in return for the four continuous days.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
I do not think that argument is worth a great deal in support of the proposal. My right hon. friend rather turned into ridicule the "fantastic terrors" on the part of a great many of his hon. friends with regard to the kind of Bills that may be scrambled through the House of Commons on Friday afternoon. Surely my right hon. friend must remember the character of a great many of the Bills that come before us on Wednesday. Are there not such things as Irish Bills put forward of an extreme character, and which have by the fortune of the ballot until the present Session obtained some of the first places and some of the best days? Is there not a reasonable dread on the part of some Members, at all events, as to the character of these Bills and the possibility of their receiving the imprimatur of the House of Commons? That is a possibility which, under this Rule, if it be adopted according to the plan of the Government, will be a matter of far too constant occurrence. What was the basis of all the speeches made against this proposal? 632 The basis of them was the difficulty of getting a sufficient attendance to form a House on Friday afternoons, and yet it is to those afternoons that we are desirous that the great question of Supply should be left. There is a great difference between a Friday afternoon devoted to Government business and a Friday afternoon devoted to private Bills. Has any Government coming from either side of the House ever yet had any difficulty in keeping a House for the Supply that is necessary for the government of the country? That is the most far-fetched idea. I have ever heard. If the Government is unable to keep a House to support its own business, I should be afraid, myself, that the days of that Government would be very nearly done. Besides, it seems to me that Friday evenings are not liable to this great difficulty and danger. There is the simplest and easiest way in the world of avoiding it. It has already been partly suggested by my hon. friend the Member for the Sowerby Division. It is perfectly possible on Fridays to sit from twelve to seven, or from two to, eight, for the purpose of transacting the business of the Government dealing with questions of Supply. In that way there would be no difficulty whatever I venture to think, in saving the credit of the House of Commons which my right hon. friend seemed to think is greatly in danger. In regard to the question of week-ends, he says there has been a great change in the habits of the people of England in the matter of taking a holiday on the Saturday and Sunday. I am not prepared to deny that that is the case. I am glad if it is the case. The more holidays they get, so far as I am concerned, the better. But that is not the kind of week-end that affects the House of Commons. A weekend here means a week-end for the purpose of going to some agreeable party. [Cries of "No."] Surely that is what usually happens at the week-end which hon. Members of this House like. A great many people elsewhere like to enjoy an agreeable party from Saturday to Monday at no great distance from London. That is generally accepted, so far as I understand it, by the term week-end. With all the respect in the world, I do not think by itself that is at 633 all a sufficient reason for making a complete change in the Rules and practice of the House of Commons.
In dealing with the various appeals made to him to leave this an open question, my right hon. friend seemed to think that the grounds on which those appeals were made were totally inadequate. I should like to put the appeal on a different ground, which, I think, is worthy of the consideration of any Leader of the House of Commons, however powerful or however great his majority may be. This matter, which is not, strictly speaking, a Government question, ought not, in my humble opinion, to be made a Government question. As far as my recollection goes, this is the first time it has been made a Government question, although there have been numerous occasions on which the Rules of the House have been amended. I think it is well to remember that the pressure may be too great, and that it may produce a strain on the loyalty of supporters at last. The Leader of the House should remember that the House is easily and readily led, but that it is a very bad place to try to drive. I confess that in the first instance I was led to look upon this Rule with great favour, and no doubt the temptation to do so was exceedingly great. My right hon. friend the Member for South Antrim has no fear as to the keeping of a full House for any purpose whatever on Friday. Let me say, with great respect, how it strikes me. It is quite true, as my right hon. friend points out, that the attendance at Supply Committees has never been very strict or very close. You will have Thursday for Supply, Friday for private Members' Bills, and Saturday and Sunday two open days. Is it possible to doubt that a very large number of Members of the House will avail themselves of the opportunity of taking a holiday for these two days? You will have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday when they will probably attend to public business. I say that the House will be put in the position of enjoying a holiday for practically four days out of the seven. It seems to me that there will be a less attendance for private Members' business, unless the Government undertake to keep a House than there has ever been before. One section 634 of the House, no doubt, will always be in attendance. These are the men who hold extreme opinions. I cannot say, with my experience of the House, that the fears which have been expressed to night by a great many of my hon. friends are unreasonable, or that they have been very much exaggerated, namely, that if Fridays are relegated to private Members there will be a danger of a great many Bills of an extreme character being brought forward, and for the passing of which those who are keenly interested in them will make any sacrifice to make a House when the great majority of Members are away. In all probability a great many of these bills will be rushed through. Even then they will have received, so far as the mind of the country is concerned, the approval and sport of the majority of the House of Commons, and that in itself would be an extremely unfortunate thing. My hon. friend the Member for Chelsea has pointed out quite truly that such bills might meet with a very different fate in another place. I say it is most undesirable to place more responsibility, especially responsibility of this kind, upon the House of Lords, than rests upon them at the present time. I would join in the appeal to my right hon. friend with regard to this particular Rule to let it be known among his followers and supporters that, be their opinions what they may, they will be at liberty, it without any charge of disloyalty to their Leaders, to act on their opinions and vote as they see fit.
§ (6.25.) MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
said he had at the first the greatest objection to the proposed change, but the First Lord had taken the House into his confidence. The difficulty which his right hon. friend had indicated was one which rested on an assumption which he was not quite sure his right hon. friend had a right to make, and he therefore rose for the purpose of asking him whether, supposing the House persisted in adhering to its present practice of sitting on Friday evening, it necessarily followed that the business to be taken on Friday sittings. and therefore on Friday evenings, would continue as at present to be the business 635 of Supply. If he did not say that, then he thought it was incumbent upon those of his hon. friends who objected to the proposed change to say they were prepared to attend the House for the Second Reading of important Bills, and to remain until twelve o'clock for issues of the first magnitude. If the House was good enough to sit at all on Friday evenings, it was good enough to decide an issue of first rate importance.
SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
said he wished to join in the appeal which had been made to the Leader of the House. This was not a Party question, and it should be decided by Members of the House irrespective of Party. He could not conceive why Party issues should be involved in a matter which was for the convenience of the House. He asked the Leader of the House to make this an open question, not that he thought it would make much difference in the result, but that it would make a wonderful difference in the respect with which the Rules would be viewed. The present Rules had had a sanction which they never would have obtained if they had been passed under Party pressure. As to the Amendment immediately before the House, speaking from the point of view with reference to the work of the House, he really considered, although the change would be for his own personal convenience, that if they were to have four working days, one after the other, there would be too heavy a strain on Members, and the result would be that the work would be done less efficiently. It would be also a severe strain on the officials of the House, who were obliged to be there. That meant that for the morning sitting there would be six hours of continuous work, and the free interval of an hour was not sufficient for recuperative purposes. Then succeeded the evening sitting from nine to one o'clock in the morning, which was a strain on the occupant of the Chair and on the other officials to which they ought not to be subjected, and which would not be compensated for by the half-day at the week end. It would make the labour more tedious and monotonous and do away with the 636 benefit received from the Wednesday break under the present system. What they wanted in the House of Commons was not only men of leisure, but men engaged in business and professional pursuits, who would feel it almost impossible to enter Parliament if they had to come there for four days in the week at two o'clock in the afternoon. As to the Fridays, he thought the dangers conjured up by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sleaford, were by no means imaginary. He himself could foresee the danger of certain faddists, sitting on both sides of the House, who were desirous of pushing through Bills and getting a Second Reading for these, which weight probably bring about many business difficulties in the future. He did not see how these Rules would be any great advantage to the business powers of the House; but they would be a great disadvantage to a class of men from whom it was most desirable to recruit new Members, and certainly they would not add to the comfort and satisfaction of the best Members of the House of Commons.
§ (6.38.) MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House had referred to the number of hon. Members who did not attend the House during Supply nights on Friday. He did not think that the right hon. Gentleman could include him in that category, for he always made it a point to be present when Supply came on. But if they were to make Friday a dies non, so to speak, or for the consideration of Private Members Bills only, and took Supply on Thursday, he could not see why the difficulty of securing the attendance of Members would not recur. He ventured to ask, was it to be publicly stated that the reason the Government were making this alteration in the Rules of the House was that they could not get a sufficient number of Members of the House of Commons to attend to their duty? If that were so, he was afraid this House would fall even lower than it was alleged in some quarters, to have done in public estimation. If the Government would only look for it, it was just possible that they might find some other cause why Members did not attend on Supply nights. 637 As an independent Member, he must say that it seemed to indicate a want of confidence in the Government. [Cries from the Ministerial benches of "No, no."] Well, if hon. Members did not attend to carry out the work of the Government, it suggested to his mind that that might be a reflection of the laxity of the Government itself, which had spread to their former supporters. He asked what would be the effect of these changes on the country? He did not hesitate to say that they would not tend to raise the feeling of the country in favour of the House. Thirty or forty years ago there was a great movement on behalf of a Saturday half-holiday for the working classes, with which most of them sympathised. Well, the House of Commons had a full Saturday holiday, and were they to say to the country that this House, which only sat six months in the year, could not meet for more than four days in the week to carry on the business of this great Empire? This was not altogether a question of the convenience of Members. He objected to the proposal, because he was certain it would make the country feel that they had been neglecting their duty; and it would not strengthen the opinion of the contituencies in the House of Commons. He was all for a long day on Monday and Tuesday, a break on Wednesday, and a long day again on Thursday and Friday, and if hon. Members did not attend on Friday for Supply, then the Government and the Government Whips were not doing their duty. There were a number of Members who were very rarely seen on these Benches. Why should they not take their turn of duty? This House had stood many centuries, and he hoped that they would not do something which would degrade themselves in the eyes of the public; and that it should not go forth that they were so fond of pleasure that they could not attend to their duty.
§ (6.44.) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said that the First Lord of the Treasury declared that he disagreed from the hon. Member for East Mayo. Now, he generally agreed with the hon. Member for East Mayo, and disagreed from the First Lord; but in this particular instance he agreed with the First Lord and entirely disagreed from the hon. Mem- 638 ber for East Mayo. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton had said that the First Lord of the Treasury had stated that if these proposals were thrown out he would resign.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Well, if he said so, he would have voted against the right hon. Gentleman, because they might then look for a superior Government. He rose because he heard the right hon. Gentleman attack hon. Gentlemen on his own side so cruelly when they took an independent view and did not agree with him, that he felt impelled to come forward in their defence. One right hon. Gentleman had said the opinion of this country was strongly against it—not only of this country, but the whole of the colonies would rise against them—because they chose to take their holiday on Friday instead of Wednesday. It was absurd. And where did the right hon. Member for Sleaford get his idea that a week-end meant a very agreeable party? He might go to an agreeable party, but another hon. Member on that side had said he did not want an agreeable party, he wished to devote his mind to his business, which he (Mr. Labouchere) believed was in Liverpool. Another gentleman had said he wanted to go to the bosom of his family—he did not want an agreeable party. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton had stated that he was against the change because he approved so much of Wednesday sittings, because, although the Bills might not pass, they were educational, and people would attend and listen. He had not noticed that the right hon. Gentleman ever profited by the educational aspirations. There was no doubt that this week-end was of great advantage to the private Members. If hon. Gentlemen who came forward with Bills could not find forty Members to give up a holiday in order to support and pass measures which they considered important, the sooner they gave up business the better. What went on on Wednesdays was a perfect delusion. How many Members attended for this educational process? About thirty, each of whom, instead of taking 639 advantage of the educational opportunity, kept jumping up and endeavouring to educate the rest, and that went on until 4 o'clock, when other Members came and the Bill was lost on a division. Everybody knew that even in Supply, if there was a Motion to be made on Mr. Speaker leaving the Chair, there was the greatest difficulty to keep a House, and some important Vote had to be put down immediately after it in order to ensure a House being kept. It was not the business of the Government to keep a House for private Members; they had to keep a House for their own purposes, and he supposed they would do so. Hon. Gentlemen had got up and said they would not be affected, that they would be always here every day, but they were afraid others might yield to the temptation. If they did, then let them go, but he did not think imputations of this sort should be thrown at hon. Members of the House. What the Rule did was to give those who liked to attend the business of the House on Friday an opportunity to leave at 5.30. It was not intended that hon. Members should leave on Friday morning or Thursday night. He was very glad the right hon. Gentleman had stood firm. He did not think it desirable as a rule that great pressure should be put on Members, but if hon. Gentlemen opposite thought the pressure was too great, why did they yield? He did not yield to pressure; he adopted his own views and voted accordingly. It was simply pitiable to see hon. Gentlemen almost whimpering to the Government and saying,
§ "Do not press me; if you do, I shall vote for you, but I shall have to vote against my convictions." He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would carry this very useful and very convenient Rule.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
congratulated the Government upon the special recruit they had obtained from the other side of the House. If anything would have induced him to vote against the Government, it was the speech which the hon. Member for King's Lynn had made when he said that it was on Wednesday that be formulated the conundrums which he put to the Government on the following Thursday. He thanked the Government for the concession they had made. He never had a Bill before the House on a Wednesday, and never expected to have one, and the only use he could see in a private Member's Bill was that it gave him an opportunity of getting in his division by voting against it at 5.30. The substitution of Friday for Wednesday certainly did give Members a chance of spending a happy day among their constituents, but they were prepared to sacrifice all that. The reason which induced him to support the Government on this particular issue was that this Rule gave the Government four clear days' to carry on the work of the country, and that was what the constituencies wanted.
§ (6.55.) Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 263; Noes, 166. (Division List No. 38.)643
|Acland-Hood, Capt.SirAlex.F.||Bigwood, James||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bill, Charles||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Aird, Sir John||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn.J.(Birm.)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bousfield, William Robert||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r|
|Arrol, Sir William||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Chapman, Edward|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Charrington, Spencer|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Brymer, William Ernest||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Bull, William James||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn.A.J.(Manch'r)||Bullard, Sir Harry||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G.W.(Leeds)||Butcher, John George||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Balfour,Kenneth R.(Christch.)||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Colomb,SirJohn Charles Ready|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. Hicks||Campbell, Rt. Hn.J.A(Glasgow||Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Carlile, William Walter||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Bignold, Arthur||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir E. H.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)||Reid,Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.(Salop.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Dalkeith. Earl of||Keswick, William||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Renwick, George|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Knowles, Lees||Ridley,Hn.M. W.(Stalybridge)|
|Dickinson. Robert Edmund||Labouchere, Henry||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Law, Andrew Bonar||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Rutherford, John|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawson, John Grant||Sackville Col. S. G. (Stopford-|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lee, Arthur H.(Hants, Fareham||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col.Ed.J.|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Scott, Sir S.(Marylebone, W.)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Leveson-Gower, Fredck, N.S.||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Seely,Maj.J.E.B.(Isleof Wight|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Finch, Gorge H.||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Long,Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol,S)||Shaw-Stewart,M. H.(Renfrew)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Fison, Frederick William||Lowe, Francis William||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. E. Algernon||Lucas, ReginaldJ.(Portsmouth)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Macartney,Rt Hn. W.G. Ellison||Smith,H.C.(North'mb,.Tyn'sde|
|Flower, Ernest||Macdona, John Cumming||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks)|
|Forster, Henry William||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Spear, John Ward|
|Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S.W.)||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Stanley,Hn.Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Galloway William Johnson||M'Calmont, Col.J.(Antrim,E.)||Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)|
|Gardner. Ernest||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Garfit William||Majendie, James A. H.||Stewart,Sir Mark J.M'Taggart|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Manners, Lord Cecil||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Gordon, Hn.J.E.(Elgin&Nairn)||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Gore, HnG. R.C. Ormsby-(Salop||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gore, Hn. S.F. Ormsby- (Linc.)||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Talbot, Rt. Hn.J.G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon.Sir John Eldon||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Thomas,Alfred (Glamorgan,E.)|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Thomas David Alf. (Merthyr)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Milner, Rt. Hon.Sir Frederick G||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Green, Walford D.(Wednesbury||Mitchell, William||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Greene, Sir EW (B'ryS. Edm'nds||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.)||Tritton Charles Ernest|
|Gretton, John||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||More, Robt.Jasper (Shropshire)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Grey Sir Edward (Berwick)||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Groves, James Grimble||Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Morrison, James Archibald||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Morton, Arthur H.A.(Deptford||Warde, Col. C. E.|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Muntz, Philip A.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Rt Hn. AGraham (Bute||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Webb, Col. William George|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Myers, William Henry||Welby, Sir C. G. E. (Notts).|
|Harwood, George||Nicholson, William Graham||Wharton, Rt. Hon. J. L.|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u-Lyne)|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Parker, Gilbert||Williams. Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Heath, James (Statfords, N. W.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Pease, Herbert Pike (D'rlington||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Wilson A Stanley (York, E.R.|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Soerset, E.||Pemberton, John S. G.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Penn, John||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hope, J.F (Sheffield, Brightside)||Percy, Earl||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E.R. (Bath)|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hoult, Joseph||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham||Plummer, Walter R.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||TELLERS FOR TIIE AYES—|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Purvis, Robert||Sir William Walrond and|
|Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Randles, John S.||Mr Anstruther.|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Doherty, William|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||O'Malley, William|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Hammond, John||O'Mara, James|
|Asher, Alexander||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. Sir William||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hay, Hon. Claude George||O'Shee, James John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Hrbt. Henry||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham)|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Henderson, Alexander||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Holland, William Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Blake, Edward||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Boland, John||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Price, Robert John|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jacoby, James Alfred||Rea, Russell|
|Bowles,T. Gibson(King's Lynn)||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Reddy, M.|
|Brigg, John||Joicey, Sir James||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh||Jones, David Brymnor(Swansea||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jordan, Jeremiah||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Joyce, Michael||Roche, John|
|Burns, John||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Runciman, Walter|
|Caldwell, James||Kennedy, Patrick James||Russell, T. W.|
|Cameron, Robert||Kinloch, SirJohnGeorge Smyth||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Kitson, Sir James||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Lambert, George||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Leese,Sir Joseph F(Accrington||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lloyd-George, David||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James(Kent||Spencer, Rt H.C. R. (Northants|
|Crean, Eugene||Lundon, W.||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Cremer, William Randal||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Crombie, John William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Cullinan, J.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tennant, Harold John|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Crae, George||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Fadden, Edward||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Delany, William||M'Govern, T.||Tomikinson, James|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Dillon, John||M'Kenna, Reginald||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Wallace, Robert|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Walton, John Lawson(Leeds, S.|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Morley, Charles (Breconshire||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Moulton, John Fletcher||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Murphy, John||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. SirJ (Manc'r||Norman, Henry||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Norton, Captain Cecil William||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Wortley, Rt. His. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||O'Brien, Kendal(Tipperary Mid|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Gibbs, Hn.A.G.H. (City of Lon.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Mr. Laurence Hardy and|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Mr. Vicary Gibbs.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Connor, T. P (Liverpoll|
§ (7.10.) MR. DILLON
said he desired to move an Amendment which stood in the name of two hon. Gentlemen, neither of whom happened to be present at the moment. It was an Amendment which he strongly supported and which he thought would receive a very large support from all sides of the House. The Rules were put forward by the Government, on the whole, as a measure of relief to the Members of the House, and they heard a great 644 deal from the Leader of the House of the enormous advantages expected to be derived from the dinner hour, but he found that the Rules did not give any relief whatever to the workers in the House, though they would give relief to the "dinner brigade." The active Members of the House, the ordinary working Members of the House would be subjected to an intolerable strain. It was proposed that they should meet at two instead of three. When he first 645 entered the House they met at four, and after long discussions the hour was put back to three on the understanding that the Twelve o'Clock Rule should be more strictly adhered to, and that the House should not be subjected to late sittings. But what had been the result? They had never had such late sittings as they had had during the last three years. The Government now proposed to call on Members to meet at two o'clock, thereby adding one hour per day to the length of the sitting on four days a week. In compensation for that, they offered the House the dinner hour. But what did the dinner hour amount to? To the working Members of the House, who really attended closely to the business, it really meant an extra half hour, to obtain which t hey were to meet an hour earlier. To such Members the dinner hour was a mockery, a delusion, and a snare, and would be no re ief whatever. Those who desired to be present all the time the House was sitting would be no better able to go out to dinner and get back again at nine o'clock than they were at present. The working Members would have to take advantage of the "cheap dinner" provided in the House, which, naturally, anybody from Birmingham despised. The proposed dinner hour was an indulgence only if taken in conjunction with the provision that the House should not be counted between nine and ten o'clock. That provision was a clear indication that the Government would not expect their supporters back before ten o'clock. A. large body of Members never seriously attempted to follow the business of the House, but to those who really did their duty the present hours were more than sufficient, and this proposed change was a very serious one for them. When Grand Committees and Private Bill Committees were sitting, the strain already was too great; with this additional strain spread over the whole session it would be intolerable, and the result would be that the number of those who did not attempt to follow the business of the House would be largely increased. From one point of view he could understand the desire of Ministers to make this alteration, because the larger the body of Members who took no interest in the proceedings, the easier the work of the Ministers. All that was necessary was for the Whips to say as the Members 646 came in which way they should vote, and, of course, the business went through more rapidly, and the Ministers were less troubled. But that was not an object in pursuit of which the Rules of the House ought to be altered. It was not sufficient justification of such a change simply to say it was brought in with the view of making the House more attractive to Members of a particular type. For these reasons he strongly opposed the proposal of the Government, and begged to move.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
To leave out the word 'Two,' and insert the word 'Three.'"—(Mr. Dillion.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'Two' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
(7.20). MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that while, as the House knew, he was not in the least enamoured of these proposed new Rules, and considered their general effect would be most mischievous, he felt bound to say that he should be entirely in favour of the particular proposal before the House, if it were unconnected with anything else. The House met at too late an hour, and he thought the time had arrived when they should go back in some degree, to the better customs of their ancestors, who used to meet at half past seven in the morning. He did not propose they should meet so early as that, but it certainly would be a considerable advantage to meet at two o'clock instead of at three. He understood the right hon. Gentleman to indicate an intention, which, however, was not given effect to in the Rule, enabling the House to rise at twelve or one o'clock. If that had been carried out, it, to his mind, would have been an additional reason for meeting somewhat earlier. But there were all sorts of business which might come in, and prevent Members going home even at one o'clock, One tenth of the last session was spent in sitting after midnight, and that was a circumstance to be taken into account, when considering a proposal to meet earlier in the day. Would the Government give any assurance that they would not take after twelve o'clock, for instance, the Budget, a Report of Committee of Ways and Means, Bills originating in Committee of Ways and Means, or measures in pursuance of Standing 647 Orders? It was possible to take all these matters after midnight, and Members might be kept in the House all night. In any case, he was certainly a strong advocate of meeting at two o'clock. The only argument he had heard urged against the proposal was that it would be inconvenient for certain gentlemen engaged in other avocations to attend at the earlier hour. But, after all, they were not asked to meet very early. There was probably not a business in the world that commenced so late as two o'clock, and it was not creditable that those who professed to give themselves to the important business of the State and the Empire, should treat that business with less respect and go to it at a less early hour than was the case with their own private business concerns. He observed, that the proposal to meet at two o'clock was coupled—inseparably coupled, as he thought—with the proposal to interrupt the proceedings of the House between eight and nine o'clock. That really meant from 7.15 to ten o'clock, because between nine and ten o'clock Members were not to be allowed to call attention to the fact of there not being quorum present and therefore many Members would not trouble to return until the later hour, while those who had no questions on the paper would leave the House at 7.15. Consequently, for the major part of the House, it practically meant an interruption of business, not for one hour, but for three hours.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member says these proposals are inseparably connected, but I do not think he can at present discuss the subject of a subsequent Amendment. The question before the House is that "Three" be substituted for "Two."
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said it was somewhat difficult to discuss the one point without having the other in mind, but, of course, in deference to the ruling of the Speaker, he would confine himself to the two o'clock portion of the proposal. The hon. Member for East Mayo had an objection to the Rule the exact effect of which, however, he did not quite gather.
§ MR. DILLON
said he objected to the proposal because it added an hour 648 to the day, without making any concession or giving any compensating advantage.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that was a line of argument he was going to take, but he could not at present pursue it to the full extent. His view was that if they had compensation of any sort, it would be an enormous advantage to begin the sitting an hour earlier. But it had to be remembered that three o'clock instead of four o'clock was agreed to on conditions, although those conditions had never been observed, and, if there was to be a further raising of the hour, that also should be on conditions. The right hon. Gentleman ought not to think unreasonable those who, while agreeing with him in thinking two o'clock a better hour for meeting than three o'clock, yet coupled with that a desire for greater security than they at present had, that they should not continually be called upon to discuss, after twelve or one o'clock, Government business, from which they could not get away. With that proviso, he was strongly in favour of commencing business an hour earlier than was at present the case.
§ *(7.30.) SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that, as had been pointed out by the hon. Member at East Mayo, and the hon. Member for King's Lynn, it was impossible for them to vote upon the proposition as if it stood by itself. He agreed with the hon. Member for King's Lynn in the desire to see the House meet an hour earlier, but this matter in their minds and in their votes was inseparably connected with the other question which had been mentioned. As a point of order no doubt the ruling was right that the matters were not connected, but they must be connected in their minds. The case of the business man was bound up in what was going to happen to the questions. If they knew that the Government were going to give way with respect to questions that would affect the votes of business men and lawyers upon this point of two o'clock or three o'clock. He did not know whether he should be in order in asking that question, but he thought that 649 they ought to know something of the intentions of the Government on this matter. If the Government were going to make a concession upon this question of questions, he thought they would do well to announce it now, for that would facilitate their proceedings. He knew it was not in order to discuss it now, but, nevertheless, it was in all their minds.
§ (7.33.) MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
As has been pointed out by the last speaker, it is extremely difficult to discuss this question by itself because it is bound up not only with the question of the time at which Questions are to be taken, but also with the evening sitting.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I did not intend by my ruling that the other question could not be referred to, but the hon. Member who was addressing the House when I gave my ruling was proceeding to argue upon the question of the desirability of a long dinner hour, and I ruled that that was not in order.
§ MR. BRYCE
Perhaps it is more convenient that those who entertain objections to two fixed periods which will tend to waste time, should reserve their criticisms for another Amendment. It would be an advantage to have an additional hour, but I think it will be felt that we shall not really gain that additional hour as an effective hour for the purpose of business, because there are in this House many hon. Members, and there will continue to be many hon. Members, who cannot give their whole time to the business of the House. Ours is one of the few Chambers where Members are not paid, and if these business men and lawyers are obliged to come down as early as two o'clock or half past two, it will be impossible for many of them to continue as Members of the House. What will happen will be that hon. Members who are so pressed by work will not come down at that hour, but will continue to come at the usual hour that business men and professional, and members of that class can come down. They will come about four o'clock. We know that many hon. Members are seldom seen 650 here before four o'clock, and many of those who come at four are amongst the most useful Members. This Rule will certainly detract from the interest in that part of the debate which takes place between two and half-past four if many of our most useful Members are absent. I think under this proposal the first hour will tend to become what the hours between eight and half-past nine are now, that is one of the dullest portions of the debate, when those hon. Members who are contented with small audiences are tempted to make their speeches. Supposing an important division is ready to be taken shortly after the House has met? Neither Party will be anxious unless they feel themselves in superior numbers to take a division, and they will endeavour to wait until four or half-past four until hon. Members come in larger numbers, and therefore time may be lost by one side or the other wanting to put off a division because their men have not come up. At present Question time brings a large number of hon. Members down to the House, and therefore they are present for the business which follows Questions. If Questions are not put at the beginning of the business, then the attendance will be slack for the first hour or first hour and a half. I am sure that those who have had experience in those things in this House will agree with me that much time is lost in this way, for it is not really so much the length of the speeches that wastes the time, but it is the motive which one side or the other has in keeping a division back to suit their own convenience. I am afraid that this slack attendance will not only make the debate uninteresting, but it will cause the loss of profitable time by the postponement of divisions. If some of our most valuable hon. Members leave the House in consequence of this change, it will be a very great loss to us. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury said that one of the objects of these changes was to make the House more attractive, and surely one of the ways to do this is to make the sittings convenient to this class of men, for if lawyers find that they are not able to take their proper share in the business, there will be less and less willingness to come into the House. While wishing to look at this matter quite dispassionately, and with no other object 651 except to get the most out of the time of the House, I am inclined to the conclusion that we shall gain very little in time by these Rules, and we shall certainly lose by the absence of hon. Gentlemen who are at present a valuable element in the House.
§ (7.39.) MR. CHAPLIN
I entirely agree with what fell from the hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, who has stated exactly what was in my own mind, namely, that this question does not stand and cannot stand by any means alone. It is, in fact, one of the most important of all the Rules which have been submitted to the consideration of the House, because there are so many other important questions involved, including some of the greatest difficulties which we feel hang altogether upon the passing of this particular proposal. I put down this Amendment not so much because I had any particular objection to the hour of meeting, but in order to raise the whole question, and to ascertain as far as possible what concessions with regard to other questions the Government would be prepared to make. Nearly all the most controversial questions depend upon this particular Rule. There is the question of the men of business, the difficulties of Committees, and the still greater difficulty that under the Rules as they are now proposed not one single question, however important, can be put at the commencement of business even by the Leader of the Opposition. There is also the difficulty as to the moving of adjournments, and it is the latter question to which I frankly own that, in the interests of the rights and liberties of the House of Commons, I attach the most importance. It is obvious that if an Amendment such as I have put on the Paper were to be carried, all those difficulties to which attention has so frequently been called would disappear. As to meeting at two o'clock, I have no special objection, but I do think that on many grounds it would be extremely inconvenient. It would be inconvenient to men of business, and I think it would be extremely inconvenient to hon. Gentlemen on Committees upstairs; and it would be rather unfair, because 652 many of them are in the habit of taking a very useful and active part in the debates of this House. What I really want is to endeavour to elicit from His Majesty's Government some information as to what course they propose to take with regard to these other questions to which I have referred. It may be that those questions are not strictly within the limits of this particular Amendment, but I cannot imagine that there is anything which would prevent the Government from telling us whether they do or do not intend to make any concessions whatever with regard to the particular Questions to which I have referred. Unless we can hear something front the Government upon these points, like the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, I feel that we shall be placed in an entirely false position and be driven to vote against something which we do not want to oppose in the hope of getting rid of these difficulties which we feel upon another question. I do ask my right hon. friend whether he is not able to tell the House of Commons something with regard to the intentions of the Government as to questions in which it is perfectly certain that a number of hon. Members upon both sides of the House are deeply interested.
§ (7.45.) MR. JOSEPH A. PEASE
called attention to the omission of the following words at page 3 of the Blue Paper which were inserted some days ago—Immediately after the interruption of business at an afternoon sitting Questions shall be taken, and no other business shall be taken after Questions.These words had apparently been omitted on account of some alteration the Government proposed to make in connection with this Rule. He thought that before proceeding to consider the question now before the House they should have some explanation from the Government.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman has asked me why these words which are on page 3 of the Blue Paper have been omitted. It was because they were unnecessary, and because, if introduced there, the whole subject of Questions would be raised before we had 653 reached the Rule about Questions. I think that would be very inconven ent. I assure the House that I recognise the great interest and anxiety felt in all parts of the House as to the way in which questions should be dealt with. I do not in the least wish to minimise it, nor do I wish to say that we are unalterably attached to the plan we have laid down in the Blue Paper in number 7. It appears to me to be quite impossible to state and improper that the Government should ask what alterations will be made until we have had an opportunity of hearing the matter debated. In the second place, if modifications prove to be necessary—I am by no means sure that they are—we cannot say what they will be until we hear what the Members of the House have to say. I acknowledge the friendly language of the appeal of my right hon. friend, but I think it is entirely premature. How can the Government lay down any final and unalterable scheme in regard to Rules not now before us until we have heard what the House has to say upon those Rules? No one by voting for the proposal that the House should meet at two o'clock commits himself to the proposal as to the hour at which Questions should he taken. I do not think the Government ought to be pressed for any further statement now. I am quite sure that when the subject of Questions comes up there will be a great deal said on both sides of the House well worth listening to. All I can say is that the Government will listen. I hope that with this general explanation of the policy of the Government we may be allowed to decide whether or not the House should meet at two o'clock.
§ (7.50.) MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
said he was afraid that what the right hon. Gentleman called a general explanation of the policy of the Government left the House in greater doubt than before as to what the intentions of the Government were. The right hon. Gentleman had declined to give any indication whatever about questions because he considered it more convenient to leave that over until the Rule dealing with questions came on. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman was following the most convenient course on the one which was most likely 654 to promote the rapid and smooth passing of the Rules. In his opinion the consideration of Questions dominated to a large extent the question which was now before the House. It was impossible to separate them. They were asked to meet at two instead of three o'clock. There were very many Members who were opposed to the extra hour's work, but who would be inclined to agree to the proposal if they had some assurance that the extra hour would be given up to the asking of questions at the commencement of the sitting. He did not know what was in the mind of the Leader of the House. The right hon. Gentleman said he would listen to the arguments about Questions, but if he had any real intention whatever of making a concession on the subject of questions he ought to make up his mind what he was going to do and announce it an once. He was taking a course which was prolonging unnecessarily the proceedings on other matters. It was possible if they knew now what the right hon. Gentleman intended to do in the nature of compromise, and that a considerable portion of the hour would be given to Questions, this discussion would end at once. But the final determination of the Government was to be put off, for he did not know how many days, while in the meantime they would be discussing other subjects the decision of which largely turned upon the consideration of Questions. While he agreed with the speech of the hon. Member for King's Lynn in favour of the earlier meeting of the House he could not vote for him, his objection being that they were adding an hour to the working hours of the House. He looked at this question from the point of view of one who would be condemned to be here from the me ting of the House at two until the rising at one. These hours were oppressive and too long, and no adequate consideration had been given to induce Members to agree to the additional hour. He was rather sorry that the hon. Member for Kilkenny did not move the Amendment he had on the Paper, proposing that they should met at ten. It was a little extreme, but it would have raised the broad question as to whether this Parliament was to remain almost the only legislative chamber in the world which did not meet at a 655 reasonable hour for the transaction of business. It was absurd to take into consideration business men who spent the early part of the day in their offices and the law courts. The question should be considered apart altogether from the convenience of particular people in the House. His opinion was that they should meet at eleven and have a short adjournment for luncheon and then adjourn for the night at the dinner hour.
(7.58.) MR. JAMES LOWTHER
said they ought to have some idea of the reason which had induced the right hon. Gentleman to omit the words which were on the Blue Paper. The Leader of the House had talked about the Rule which stopped opposed business at midnight, but one of the great difficulties which hon. Members had to contend with was that they never knew when their business would terminate. The Motion suspending the twelve o'clock Rule had been put down with dangerous regularity, and one of the evils they had to complain of for some time was that they had no assurance when the business would terminate. His right hon. friend undertook to relieve them in a great measure from this difficulty, but, at the same time, he saw nothing in the Rules to prevent him from sweeping all the arrangements to the wind and keeping the House sitting until an unearthly hour in the morning. If the right hon. Gentleman could give an assurance that opposed business would always, and under all conditions, terminate at twelve o'clock it might certainly induce the House more readily to meet at two in the afternoon.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
What I said was that there was no alteration. That surely is perfectly clear, and perfectly Parliamentary.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER
said that when his right hon. friend mentioned this subject before, he said he thought it would be inconvenient to discuss this branch of the subject.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER
said that when his right hon. friend put down certain words on the Blue Paper it was pointed out that some of those words did not appear on the White Paper, and it was supposed that his right hon. friend contemplated some alteration. When his right hon. friend rose to correct his remarks he certainly did leave the impression that his mind had already been made up; but he thought his right hon. friend was quite prepared to give full weight to all the arguments which could be used against this proposal. He would point out that until they knew at what hour their labours were to cease, it would be impossible for the House to come to a decision on the question now before it.
§ (8.5.) MR. COGHILL (Stoke-upon-Trent)
said he was sure they were all willing to come down to the House at two o'clock if they were certain they would get away soon. There was a distinct understanding in 1897, when they were asked to meet at three o'clock instead of four, that they would get away midnight, except in very exceptional circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman, in the very able speech he made in introducing the new Rules, told the House that his main object was to secure certainty in the conduct of business; but he had not yet told them at what hour they were going to get to bed. There was a certainty that if the House sat after twelve o'clock there would be recurring scenes.
§ MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)
said that those who were anxious to terminate the proceedings at an earlier hour must be prepared to meet an hour earlier. There was no doubt that meeting at two o'clock would put not only members of Private Bill Committees but the Counsel engaged in them, in a very awkward position. If it could be assured that sufficient time would be given to the private business and Questions 657 after two o'clock, and that the services of Members in Government debate were not required until after three o'clock, that would ease off the opposition to the Rule.
§ (8 10.) MR. CREAN (Cork, S.E.)
said it was necessary to give the House some liberty in dealing with these new Rules; but it seemed to be the intention of the Government to make them more rigid to suit their Party purposes. Every Rule which had been adopted was under the forced pressure of the Government. The Government Whips had actually committed a technical assault on their supporters to prevent them exercising their independent judgment on matters of great importance. That was worse than so-called offences for which Irish Members had been imprisoned in Ireland. He contended that the Leader of the House was not taking steps to frame Rules of procedure which would be loyally obeyed with the sanction of the whole House. No regulation had ever been passed hitherto which was so adverse to the instincts of this House. He had sat for eleven years in Parliament, and during that time he had never seen anything that called for the sweeping alterations in the Rules of procedure which were now being made.
§ MR. CREAN
said he believed that dining was in the thought of the right hon. Gentleman and his supporters all the time. There was a saying that Englishmen lived to dine, but that Irishmen ate to live. He thought that hon. Members should apply themselves to practical work, and not try to convenience either the diners or the idlers. Irish Members would attend at nine o'clock in the morning if necessary, but the hours of their labour should not be added to. The interval for dinner would not in any way convenience the Irish Members; they would have to remain on the Benches from the Meeting of the House until one o'clock next morning, and therefore, the Rules ought not to be made more drastic for them than they were. If they were given more facilities for the transaction of Irish business, the Irish Members would be 658 satisfied to sit after twelve o'clock; but the determination to limit the time to be given to questions was not a satisfactory way of transacting the business of Parliament. The Government had already too much time, and if they wanted money they took away the time of private Members without even offering an excuse. It was more or less the fault of hon. Members themselves. If the supporters of the Government stood solid they would be able to make their views felt. It might be said that hon. Members on that side were unreasonable, and that if a concession were granted it would be made the ground for demanding another; but that could not be the case with reference to hon. Members opposite. The iteration was a most drastic one.
§ MR. CREAN
said that the majority o the speeches which had been delivered were in favour of the Amendment, and against the proposed alteration. Why then should not Members be allowed to register their views without any interference. If the Government Whips called on their staunch supporters, many of whom had not heard the arguments, to vote for the alteration, reason and sense would be voted down. He hoped, however, that the Amendment would be supported, and that more hours would not be added to their labours while the universal world was trying to reduce the hours of labour. [8.20.]
§ (8.55.) MR. JORDAN (Fermanagh, S.)
said he agreed with what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet had said upon this question. He could not see how they could discuss the hour at which they should meet unless they knew the hour at which they were going to cease the business of the House. There was great difficulty in discussing the one question without the other.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hour of ceasing the business cannot be discussed in detail now, although the hon. Member may refer to it. The question of what hour the House shall rise is a matter which may be dealt with on other Amendments.
§ MR. JORDAN
resuming said that if they did not get any answer to the question as to when the business of the house would cease, he could not see what compensation the House or the country was going to get by meeting earlier, and also continuing to transact their business as late as usual. If they got some equivalent he should have little objection to the change, but he objected being brought down to the House an hour earlier unless they were able to get away earlier. If this change was proposed for clearing off arrears of work, there would be no objection to the alteration, but so far as he could see it, was not for this purpose at all but more to increase the time for additional relaxation of certain hon. Members rather than to perform any legislative work for the country. He had no objection whatever to two o'clock sittings, if the House rose an hour earlier and they were able to get away at eleven o'clock. There was an Amendment on the Paper to make the hour of rising eleven o'clock, and he intended to vote for it. His objection was not to the early sitting but to the fact that the hour was not early enough. He would prefer to commence business at ten, eleven, or twelve in the morning, if they were able to get compensation for it, by getting away at seven, eight, or nine o'clock in the evening, when they would be able to get to bed at the proper time of the night for human beings to rest. To Irish Members of Parliament this was a question a vital importance. They came a long way and they were sent from Ireland to do the special business for which they were elected. It made no difference how early they met, and he had no objection whatever to meeting at two o'clock. He had no axe to grind in the House of Commons or in the City of London, and a great many of his colleagues were similarly circumstanced.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I must remind the hon. Member that these matters are not relevant to the question as to whether three o'clock should be substituted for two o'clock.
§ MR. JORDAN
said it was not fair for hon. Gentlemen living in London to arrange matters simply to accommodate themselves, and then compel other hon. 660 Members to accept what suited the convenience only of hon. Members opposite. It would be a great boon to be able to get home about two hours earlier, and he did not think they were demanding too much in asking the Government to consider this question. He thought the question of the Questions should be reconsidered, and they ought to begin the real business of the country at three o'clock. He supported the view that unless they got some compensation for the extra hour which was asked for, they should still continue to meet at three o'clock.
§ (9.9.) MR. THOMAS O'DONNELL (Kerry, W)
said the hon. Member for King's Lynn had spoken of the advantage early sittings would be to the House, and he had also intimated his intention of voting in favour of this Amendment. The Irish Members were also in favour of earlier sittings, but not until they knew whether they were going to get some compensation in return. They all listened to the statement of the First Lord of the Treasury, hoping that he would have set their minds at rest, and have made them feel that while meeting earlier they would be able to get home sooner, but the right hon. Gentleman did not satisfy them either upon that point, or upon the subject of Questions. Earlier sittings, beginning at two and ending at twelve o'clock, or some other uncertain hour of the morning, pressed very severely on the Irish Members, who were sent to the House to perform a definite duty. The Trish Members were always in attendance when the House met, and they remained until the House rose They did not belong to the privileged section referred to by the Colonial Secretary, who would leave the House at 7.15, and return at ten o'clock. Irish Members were compelled to remain and take cheap dinners in the House. For these reasons they objected to this two o'clock Rule, because they considered they would be adding another hour to their day's work. In the session of 1900, the House sat for 949 hours, and 41 of those were after twelve o'clock at night. In 1901 the House sat 1,072 hours, and the number of hours which they sat after twelve o'clock rose to 95, or more than double. In granting this concession to the Ministry they wire entitled to ask whether the Government would be inclined to lessen that 95 hours which last year they had to sit after twelve 661 O'clock, or whether the Government would be inclined to increase it. That demand had been made from both sides of the House, and it had been made in the friendliest manner possible. They were told that the question at issue was whether or not it would be better for the proper discharge of public business that the House should meet at two o'clock instead of three o'clock, and upon that issue the House was to divide on this Amendment. If they could get a guarantee that instead of the House rising at twelve it would in future rise at eleven, he did not think they would Live any objection whatever to the Amendment. They had not got any such guarantee and as long as ministers refused to satisfy them on this point they ought to refuse to accept the proposal of the Government. This was not merely a question of meeting earlier but it was also a question as to whether they were going to get some compensation by rising earlier.
§ MR. THOMAS O'DONNELL
said he would bow to Mr. Speaker's ruling, and urged his friends to oppose the proposal of the Government.
§ (9.15.) MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
said he had taken some interest in the proposal now before the House, and he candidly confessed that he could see no case for it. If the House were left to its own free will on these Amendments the majorities would not be as they had been. He remembered well when it was proposed to meet at three instead of four o'clock. Objections came from all sides and it was only by a compromise that the change was adopted. Mr. Smith only succeeded in passing the Rule by offering as a quid pro quo that they should get away at twelve o'clock. That agreement had been more honoured in the breach than in the observance, it was true; but now that a still earlier hour of meeting was proposed they were 662 offered no quid pro quo whatever. The hon. Member for East Somerset had referred to the inconvenience which, it was said, would occur in connection with Private Bills, if the House met at two o'clock. He quite agreed that they should not be dictated to in this matter by th epromoters of Private Bills or by lawyers who earned large fees for appearing in the cases. But they must remember that a great deal of public interest centred round Private Bill legislation, the localities having to pay enormous expenses for witnesses and counsel. They should take into consideration the localities which had to "pay the piper," and if the House met at two o'clock that kind of business would be dislocated with the result, he believed, that the expenses to localities would be greater. That was certainly an aspect which should not be lost sight of. When they considered what the Government had already done in practically reducing thenumberof working days to three it was natural that they must increase the working hours of those days. In view of the mental labours they had to undergo, he thought if there were any labourers in the country who should clamour for an eight-hours day they were the Members of this legislative assembly. If the Government showed a little more tact in the conduct of business they would get through their work much more rapidly, and, he believed, they would find, too, that an eight-hours working day was sufficient. The present sittings of the House were prolonged enough, and, apart from what could be said on behalf of hon. Members, they should not overtax the occupa is of the Chair and the officials of the House.
§ MR. BULL (Hammersmith)
said he was a new member of the House. Before be entered Parliament he heard a great deal about the waste of time that went on, and he understood that all parties were agreed that some alteration should be made with the view of the business of the country being carried on in a more businesslike way. He was, therefore, very greatly surprised to find that a great deal of opposition had been shown to the new Rules on both sides of the House. He was surprised that instead of the Government proposals being 663 received with favour, there seemed to be an almost unanimous opinion that the Rules should remain as they were. As one who had had experience of public business on the London County Council, he thought that an immense amount of time was wasted at present. The other evening he had seen a Member whose time was so unoccupied that he was knitting a pair of stockings in the smoking-room. He thought that was a curious occupation for a Member of that House. He supported the Rule, because he believed it would have a good effect.
§ MR. W. O'MALLEY (Galway, Connemara)
said the proposal of the Government to call the House to sit an hour earlier than at present, would not tend to bring business men and lawyers down to the House. He would support the Amendment which would allow the Rules to remain as they were.
§ (9.30.) MR. DUKE (Plymouth)
said he did not feel himself at liberty to allow this question to go to a division, without saying something on a matter which had been discussed by many Members from the point of view of its personal consequences to a class of members of whom he was one. In approaching this question from the point of view of a member of the Bar, one felt that one must tread very lightly in this House; but in the Second Reading debate of the new Rules, the views of the members of the Bar were a good deal canvassed. It was assumed that members of the Bar had a wicked interest in the Rules of the House being adjusted to suit their pecuniary profit and their personal concerns. He entirely repudiated that suggestion. A member of the Bar who was a Member of this House, owed it to the House and to his constituents that he should render the services asked of him, or surrender his position. For himself, if the Rules of the House madeit impossible for him to render service in the House, he would cheerfully resign the trust reposed in him. He was not conscious of any pecuniary interest in being present there, except the pecuniary interest which represented a pecuniary loss. An observation had come from the other side of the House, and had been echoed on his own 664 side, that members of the Bar entered Parliament for the purpose of gaining a seat on the Bench, or a County Court Judgeship, and that their services might be very well dispensed with. For himself, he believed members of the Bar came there with a desire to render some public service, which they were capable of doing from their special training; and the constituencies who had sent them there were perhaps the best judges of their fitness for service in the House.
When he came to the question of the House meeting at two o'clock, a change which did require a sacrifice, he desired to know what business men who were willing to make that sacrifice were going to get in exchange, and whether what the House was going to get in return for what was expected from Members who came there to discharge their Parliamentary duty at the expense of their ordinary business career, was adequate to that sacrifice. He had spoken to some members of his own profession, and asked what they were going to do about the Two o'Clock Rule, and the answer was that they could not stay in the House. That was a self-respecting answer; and he believed it was the inevitable answer not only of many Members of the Bar in active practice, but of many business men in the City of London. He believed that the whole country recognised, and that Members of all classes recognised, that this was a serious question for the House, whether hon. Members, professional or business men, were able to come there and take their due part in the deliberations of the House. He did not mean, to come merely to take part in divisions. When he came to the House that day, he had a strong conviction against the expediency of transferring the Wednesday half holiday to Friday; but he had been convinced by the speech of the Leader of the House that there were good reasons of public policy for taking the half holiday on Friday instead of Wednesday. Interested as he was in the question now raised, he had discussed it not only with lawyers in practice, but with business men in the City, directors and the like, who told him that they could not come to the House at two o'clock, and that it was impossible that they should take any interest in the House until after four o'clock. He was satisfied that the Leader of the House desired that this should be an efficient House—[Mr. BALFOUR: Hear, hear!]—and that hon. 665 Members should come there at a time when public affairs were being decided, not by vote, but to take part in debate or listen when opinion was being moulded. Again he asked, what were they going to get in exchange for the sacrifices demanded of them? For himself he valued his seat in the House so much that he would make any sacrifice, consistent with propriety and nearer duty, to retain it; but there were those who could not make the needful sacrifices. What was the return for the required sacrifice? The suggestion which had been made on all sides up to the present time was, that it was to be a return of increased ease and leisure to the more fortunate Members of the community. He hoped for very different results. So far as he was concerned, he knew that his constituents regarded a reform of the procedure of the House as one of the most vital public questions of the day.
He was not at liberty to refer to the matter as to what was to be done with regard to Questions. If he knew that the old form of the constitutional proceedings of the House was to be preserved to the extent that this House was to keep its hand on Governments— not only this Government, but Governments on both sides, that would go far to satisfy him. If the most wholesome discipline of Questions were taken as the first business of the House, the grand inquest of the nation, he should feel much better content to make the sacrifices which attendance at the House in the early afternoon would require, but at present they had no information on that topic. He wanted to know, before he voted on this question of yielding additional hours, what he was doing by that vote—whether he was giving up one of the rights which he regarded as essential in the maintenance of a constitutional control over the Government; whether he was, in the first place, giving up that control, and in the second place, supplying additional opportunities of ease to hon. Gentlemen who had had very little consideration for the feeling of business men in this House, but whom he would be only glad to see taking the part in the affairs of the House which he believed every one who was sent to the 666 House ought to take to the fullest measure of his ability. He did not wish to say any more upon the matter, but it was one which came home to business men in the House, because they knew the sacrifices involved; it came home to him because he could not see at the moment the effect of these sacrifices, for which he should vote if he was bidden to do so by his Leader. [Opposition cries of "Oh, oh."] Yes, because he deferred to the judgment of his leaders in this House. He felt a certain sense of responsibility in this matter, which was better justified by protesting on the floor of the House, in the presence of his leaders, than by voting against them. Loyalty required that course.["Oh!"] Well, he thought that loyalty was still the same whether it won or lost the game—True as the dial to the sun,Although it he not shone upon.And for his part, if his right hon. friend came to the conclusion that the public interest required that these sacrifices should be made, and that the Members to whom he had referred should be coaxed to attend this House from two till seven by a promise of unlimited indulgence after seven, then, reluctant as he might be, dissatisfied as he might be, he would support those conclusions which he knew had not been lightly arrived at. And, although he might not conciliate the approval of hon. Gentlemen opposite, he would know that those who had sent him here had the confidence which he ought to have in his leaders, and would ratify his action. But before he voted on this matter, which, as he understood it effected a revolution in the House, effected a complete change from henceforward, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to give some satisfaction to the House, as soon as he was able. first of all as to the "Questions," and then as to whether the practical suspension of the proceedings of the House from seven o'clock to ten, which cut out from the time of the House three hours in exchange for the additional hour at the beginning, was also of the essence of these proceedings, and was a matter involving the confidence and loyalty of supporters of the Government upon the proposal before the House.
§ (9.52.) MR. LAWSON WALTON (Leeds, S.)
said the hon. Member for Plymouth had addressed to the House a powerful and lucid argument against the Amendment which was proposed, but he had addressed that argument to the House with chains upon his wrists. His intelligence, his convictions, and his arguments were all against the proposal, but the hon. Gentleman had informed them that, although his intelligence and argument were against the Motion, so closely was he bound with Party fetters that his vote would be recorded in its favour. He sympathised with the hon. and learned Gentleman. As a member of the same profession, he shared his anxiety that, before the House insisted on a change which would vitally affect those belonging to the profession of the law, as well as the large body of business men who were engaged in serving the country in this Assembly, the true result of this alteration of their procedure should be present to their minds. It was not a question whether business men should make large personal sacrifices in order to serve their constituents in Parliament that could be no problem for the consideration of the legal members of this Assembly. Every sacrifice demanded by the duty imposed on them by this House was a sacred obligation. The question they had to discuss was, whether the sacrifice which was demanded was justified by the reasons which had been placed before them in order to support the proposition which they were invited to support. That depended largely on the whole scope of the proposal, its motives, and the grounds on which it was supported. They were told they were to meet at two, in order that the most serious business of the day should be taken at 2.30. Questions which, curiously enough, were looked upon as a matter of subsidiary importance, and Motions for the adjournment of the House on questions of grave and urgent public importance, were to be postponed to some more casual and convenient period in the course of the evening. The result was that instead of the most important and urgent 1, business of the day being taken at 4.30 as at present, it would be taken at 2.30. The result of such a change would be that many persons engaged in professions 668 or business, who found it impossible to attend the House before four, would be called upon to surrender their professional engagements in order that things might be made pleasanter for men of leisure, who had no such professional calling, who desired to spend an hour with their friends or in their home during the dinner hour.
He would venture to submit a few reasons for coming to the conclusion that the argument in its favour did not justify the change. He made no apology for alluding to his own profession, for the relation between the administration and the framing of laws had been historic and traditional. In the first place, such a change would banish from the House Members having personal affairs which engaged their attention until four or five o'clock in the afternoon; they would banish, or tend to banish, from the House Members of the legal profession, whose intimate relationship between the practice of the law and the framing of the law was historic and traditional. They had already banished from the executive Government of the nation men engaged in the legal profession. Time was when the law officers of the Crown were engaged in daily practice in the Courts of this country. Alterations in the Rules had put an end to that, and now it was sought to banish lawyers from the deliberations of the House in framing the laws which they would be called upon to administer, and in connection with the administration of which they would be engaged in the Courts of Justice until four. This was a matter of serious importance. Some of the more sanguine members of the profession said they would manage to accommodate their engagements to the exigencies of the new situation. It might be that the other House, in its judicial capacity, would be in session until four o'clock; the Privy Council might be sitting until that hour. It might be that every Court would remain in session until that hour, and those who were practising before those tribunals would find it impossible to reconcile their engagements in the Courts to the duties they owed to their constituents. He had been told by his friends that nobody would 669 expect Members of the legal profession to come to the House until it was convenient, that Members could easily pair till four or five o'clock, that the Government would not mind, and that constituents would be none the wiser in regard to their absence; but that was a counsel of indifference, which, if instilled widely among a section of the House, would lead to neglect of Parliamentary duty and an indifference to Parliamentary engagements which would not be salutary or according to the Parliamentary traditions of this country. The hon. Member for Stretford had said he would find no difficulty in being present if the House met at two o'clock. The hon. and learned Member for Stretford was one of those supporters of the Government whose sacrifice for Party knew no limit. He was prepared to kiss the rod which chastened him. Those who were in the House during the discussion of the Home Rule Bill would remember that in the early hours of the afternoon most critical conflicts took place, from which it was impossible to be absent. Members were drawn from the Law Courts by importunate Whips. The Government of that day had not the opulent majority which the present Government was fortunate enough to command, and what would happen now if the House sat at two o'clock when at 2.30 important questions were under discussion, might be left to the imagination of those hon. Members who had some experience of the struggles they passed through then. They would lose the Law Officers of the Crown, and the ex-Law Officers, who were expected to keep the Law Officers in order. The Attorney-General was engaged at the Courts of Justice during the day, spreading the revenue net with the view of securing prizes for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Solicitor General was occupied prose-outing criminals at the Old Bailey. Those Courts sat until four o'clock Then how did they expect them to be here? That was a matter of some importance, because even in his short experience the position of Law Officers of the Crown had materially altered. In former days the Law Officers were not expected to conduct through a Committee of this House or a Grand 670 Committee a great measure of the Government. Nowadays no measure of first class importance was conducted, either in the House or in Grand Committee, without the active co-Operation of the Law Officers of the Crown.
It might be said that he had exaggerated the importance of this question as it affected the legal profession. The First Lord of the Treasury attached little importance to the value of lawyers in the discussions of the House, and the presence of lawyers in the large and important offices in the Government was smaller than in any Government that had preceded it for the last half century. In every democratic country in the world members of the legal profession had occupied a very high position in connection with the administration of public business. In the United States, France, and our colonies, lawyers had proved themselves to be men skilled in affairs as well as in their own profession, and competent to conduct the affairs of State. That fact should not be without its influence on the consideration of the question when the House was imposing burdens on members of the Bar who were also members of the House. The hon. Member for King's Lynn said that lawyers who came to this House brought their fagged brains to the consideration of the questions which presented themselves for discussion. That was true to a certain extent. But let the House remember the value which earlier Parliaments attached to the services of lawyers—the services of men like Mansfield, Erskine, Brougham, Hominy, Follet, Lyndhurst, Cairns, and Sel-borne. These lawyers were brilliant Parliamentarians, and at the some time ornaments in our Courts of Law. If the Government, by their proposal, tended to make difficult the presence of members of the legal profession in the House, they would largely affect disadvantageously the constitution of its membership. Some consideration for the hours which were fixed for the administration of law ought to influence the Assembly which had the framing of the laws these men were called upon to administer. It was true that lawyers would still form a part of the House. It would keep the academic lawyer, the 671 professorial lawyer, the man whose knowledge smelt of the lamp. It would also keep the lawyer who had retired from practice, or from whom the practice of his profession had retired. There were very few instances on record of lawyers voluntarily relinquishing large practices. That of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, who executed that act of self-abnegation, was one of the few instances in one's own generation. The legal guidance the House would receive, would be not from men in active contact with professional interests or practising in the Courts of Law, but from men who, while they sought to guide the opinion of the house in regard to the views held by the legal profession, would, in point of fact, mislead the House by indicating views not largely held by those engaged in the Courts of Law. The hon. Member opposite had said they would not shut out lawyers. He quite agreed. They would not shut out the lawyers at present in the House. Those already there would make any sacrifices the occasion might require; they were prepared to submit themselves, as was every other section of the House, to the opinion of the House as a whole, and he believed the House would act fairly. He was satisfied that the House would not sacrifice the material interests of one section of its Members from mere considerations of ease and convenience. He did not believe that the material interests of either his own profession or any other would be sacrificed in order to allow a convenient dinner hour to those fortunate Members who followed no calling whatever. He was satisfied that lawyers would remain in the House, because, as was once said in this Assembly—Show me the path of ambition, and I will show you the path men will follow,and to the House from every calling, every rank, and every section of society, men would come to the service of their country in the highest vocation that any man could be invited to adopt. But the question the House had to consider was whether it was right or fair to cast upon them a serious material burden, unless the objects in view so far facilitated the discharge of public business that the sacrifice could be properly demanded.
The question was much wider than at first sight appeared. It affected the relations between the poorer and the richer Members 672 of the House. The advantages possessed by wealth in connection with the service of the people in Parliament were enormous. All Members knew how advantageous it was to have command of a long purse in seeking a seat; they knew how advantageous it was to have command of financial resources in keeping a seat; the poorer Members knew how much they had to fight against in maintaining their hold on public confidence when pitted, against those fortunate people whose opulence relieved them of the necessity of engaging in any professional or other pursuit than that of serving the people in the House of Commons. This proposal would add to the advantages of wealth, and increase the disadvantages which attended the poorer Members of the House. There were many Members, not only in his own profession, but also in others, who were able to serve their constituents in the House only by engaging in some calling. Why should the difficulties of their position be increased? There was one alternative, viz., payment of Members. Was that an alternative the House desired? It was impossible to resist the logic of the speech of the hon. Member behind him, who had declared they ought to meet at eleven o'clock in the morning to be a purely business chamber, to devote those hours during which their faculties were most awake to the discharge of the business of the country. That argument had induced every other assembly in, the world to adopt hours of meeting arranged on that principle, but with the concomitant that, if they called upon members of the community to serve the community by devoting the whole of their day to that service, their maintenance must be provided for while they were so engaged. If those who served the people were not to be allowed to maintain themselves while engaged in that service, then the argument that out of public funds must their maintenance be provided was irresistible. Was the House prepared to accept the alternative? It was an alternative from which, he believed, the House shrank, and from which he shrank. It was because he shrank from that alternative that he asked the House not to destroy one of the means by which it was possible for a man to serve his country in the House of Commons, and, at the same 673 time, honourably to maintain himself while rendering that service. They must be told, "Oh, well, you must get over it as best von can; you must accommodate your engagements in the best way you are able." He supposed they would try, but, unless the call was an imperative call, unless the sacrifice was urgently demanded, not by the convenience of the more fortunate Members of the House, but by the necessities of public business, it was a sacrifice which was not justified, and for which no sufficient reason had been urged by those who supported the proposal. For these reasons he asked the House to vote against the Amendment.
§ (10.24.) MR. RENSHAW (Renfrewshire, W.)
said the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth had claimed to express the views not only of Members of the legal profession, but also of business men, But the House should remember that there were business men and business men. There were business men in the House who had business in the City of London, but there were a still larger number who had no business at all in the City of London. The men who had their business in London made a smaller sacrifice in meeting at the hour proposed than any other class of business men in the House of Commons, and they had not in this respect a first claim for consideration. The hon. and learned Member for South Leeds had endeavoured to show that meeting at two instead of at three o'clock would affect some Members of the legal profession. He had not himself noticed, however, that the Members of the profession were often in their places at the beginning of public business now. To the class of Members who did an enormous amount of useful work on the Grand Committees and the Private Bills Committees this change of hours and the rest between seven and nine o'clock would be an inestimable boon. Such Members not infrequently came down to the House at eleven o'clock, sat on a Committee until three or four o'clock, and then remained in the House until after midnight. Such a strain was almost intolerable. An eight-hours day was sometimes spoken about, but these Members worked thirteen hours a day, and that during the hottest and most sultry period of the session. In the name of those who bad had to dis- 674 charge the duty of sitting on Committees —in which he had not been associated with many members of the legal profession —he claimed that this alteration would be of inestimable use and benefit. The hon. Member for Plymouth had asked in whose interest the change was to be made, and had suggested it was merely to meet the convenience of those who wanted more ease and leisure. He did not believe it for a moment. The Leader of the House made it perfectly clear in his opening statement, when introducing the proposals, that he believed it would be an enormous convenience to all sections of the House, and especially to those engaged in professions or otherwise, if they knew every day, and particularly in the afternoon, what the precise business was the House would take up. To know definitely that at half-past two, or whatever time was fixed, the House would proceed to the important public business of the day, would enable Members to make their arrangements for the day on a much more businesslike foundation and with greater certainty than was possible at present. Frequently Members gave up important engagements in order to attend the House at a certain hour, only to find on their arrival that some totally different, irrelevant, and uninteresting subject was being discussed instead of the important business they had expected. For his part, he heartily supported the proposal, believing it would conduce to the comfort and convenience of Members, and would make it possible for them to discharge their duties in a more business-like manner, and with more satisfaction to their constituents and greater benefit to the State.
§ (10.29.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said that while, on the one hand, he thought this proposal a step in the right direction, on the other hand, he thought it would not lead ultimately to the efficiency of what he might call the efficient Members of the House. He did not quite share the point of view of the hon. and learned Members who had made such powerful and interesting appeals on behalf of their profession. It was most important to have a certain number of legal gentlemen as Members of the House, but it was too much to ask that the convenience of the 675 House, its efficiency, and its service to the country, should be sacrificed to meet the needs of one particular profession. Nor could he agree with the contention that the proposed change would exclude from the House a large number of important business men. His experience of this class of men was that they generally worked one hour a day. He was inclined to lay down as an axiom that any man who worked more than one hour per day was not a great business man, because genius consisted in working very little yourself and getting other people to work for you. The hon. Gentle-man who had just spoken talked about the inconvenience of coming down to the House at a certain hour, and hon. Members who supported that view were apparently under the impression that the only business men in the House were those who were doing business in the City of London. The majority of hon. Members of this House were business men from the provinces whose convenience was just as important as those at work in London. He was in favour of the House meeting at an earlier hour, and he thought they should meet at twelve o'clock. At present, in his opinion, the one businesslike sitting of the week was the Wednesday sitting. On Wednesdays they had four or five hours discussion, the closure, and a division; with the result that they had short and relevant speeches, and everybody went away about 5.30 satisfied that the subject had been fairly discussed, and hon. Members went in pursuit of those pleasures which London afforded more especially to country Members. He could not agree with some of the statements which had been made as to the danger of having professional politicians in the House, and he did not know any phrase which had been more ridiculously abused. What was the First Lord of the Treasury but a professional politician? He was not an admirer of the Colonial Secretary, but in this respect his career was worthy of respect, admiration, and imitation, because when he did resolve to devote himself to politics he put business aside and gave the whole of his time to his country. That was what they must come to. What was Bismarck but a professional politician, and what was Count von Bulow? Nothing could be more absurd 676 than the cry that this nation was best served by the men who gave nothing but the dregs of their lives to politics. If the Government had proposed twelve o'clock, with as hort interval for lunch and a sitting ending at seven o'clock, he would have been heartily with them, and he would have done everything he could to support them. The present proposal was that they should begin at two o'clock, go on till eight, and resume at nine o'clock. No doubt they were all ready to say they were willing to die for their country, but he believed many of them would stop at home after 7.15 and would not turn up again. If those Rules were simply to enable the idle Members to be more idle, then they were bad ones, but if they were calculated to make the efficient Members more efficient workers, then they were good Ru es.
He thought the First Lord was treating, not only his political opponents, but some of his political friends rather badly by not stating what the Government intended to do with regard to the most important subject of Questions. He was sure that a large number of hon. Members would be influenced considerably in the view they would take of the Rules by the consideration whether they could, as an hon. and learned Member had said, secure the fundamental right of keeping the Government under the vigilant eye of the representatives of the people. At 7.15 they knew what would happen. The idle Members would then leave and not one of them would return until ten o'clock. By a proceeding of almost superhuman ingenuity and perversity the First Lord had so arranged the evening sitting as to make it imperative that the working Members should be here and almost compulsory that the idle Members should stop away. From nine to eleven o'clock they could not have a count or a division. A count might bring a certain number of hon. Members to the floor of the House, but the absence of a division would ensure the absence of a large number from 7.15 to ten, and any hon. Member who did not take an active interest in the business might stop away; and in his opinion those who stayed away till ten o'clock would be likely to stay away for the remainder of the evening. This new Rule was a premium on idleness 677 for the benefit of the idle Members. What would happen? The serious worker would come down to the House and take his share in the work while the idle, ornamental, social Member who did not want to come down would stay away. Parliamentary life had been described as "Loafing tempered by divisions." The serious and efficient Member must conic down to the House at night and what was the result? He came to the House an hour earlier and stayed just as late as usual. The hour of closing would remain practically the same. Therefore, they would have an hour added at the beginning of the sitting which would not be taken off at the end. That was not adding to the efficiency of the method of conducting business. They were to meet at two and rise practically at one o'clock in the morning, with the result that a large number of hon. Members would come to Grand Committees at eleven or twelve in the morning, and stay at the House until one o'clock on the following morning. Did they think hon. Members would continue to do that for any lengthened period? Any man who lived at a distance from the House would continue to dine in the House just as much as in the past and the net result of the proposal of the Government would be that they would add one hour to the labours of the active and useful Members of the House during each Parliamentary day and give three hours more idleness to the idle Members.
The charge made against the right hon. Gentleman of having thought too much of the convenience of hon. Members was an argument which he thought had been pushed too far. Political life was a hard thing under the best circumstances, but it was made unnecessarily hard when men had to stop nine or ten hours in an atmosphere which he might fairly describe as rather trying and tiring. What would happen under the new Rules They would stop at the House from two o'clock until one in the morning. He did not object to working hard for his political opinions, and he did not think any man could be doing better than giving his time to the service of his country. What happened now? Ministers of the Crown representing nearly all the great Departments, except the Foreign 678 Office, had to give attendance in this House. He remembered when the present Chief Secretary for Ireland was Under Secretary for War. They all knew with what conspicuous ability he was able to defend even the indefensible during his period of office. The right hon. Gentleman was in the House nearly every night of the week attending to the work of his Department, and he was scarcely ever allowed to leave till half-past twelve. After such labour as that he could not have the energy and spirit requisite to go down next day to the War Office to conduct the business arising in connection with the great war. The leading political disease of this country was that the Government was conducted by tired Parliamentarians who brought to the day's work the fatigues of the long nights spent in the House of Commons. Would these Rules remedy that? They would aggravate it. He warned the Leader of the House that instead of increasing the efficiency of the class to which he belonged—in some respects the most important class in this assembly—he was doing his best to make them less effective by adding to the hours of the workers and to the leisure of the idlers.
§ (10.50.) AIR. ELLIOT (Durham)
said that what they had to consider was whether it would be for the business advantage of the House of Commons that they should sit at two instead of three o'clock. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division spoke of the desirableness of the House being constituted of professional politicians. He agreed with him so far. It was most desirable that a large number of Members who had devoted themselves to the business of the country should be considered professional politicians. He entirely disagreed with the hon. Member in thinking that it was desirable that the bulk of the House of Commons should be composed of those who had no other business or interest than politics. It was extremely desirable that there should be men following different professions and business in the House. The House ought not to be a collection of experts, however skilled. The proposal of the Government had been criticised as 679 though they constituted a revolutionary programme. He held that they were distinguished for their moderation. The alterations were very slight and he should have been prepared to welcome them if they had gone further. Some hon. Members objected the House sitting earlier, and others to the House sitting later. There was an indisposition also to put a check on the sacred privilege of examining and cross-examining Ministers, and to check obstruction. But these discussions were almost thrown away if Members did not admit that there was necessity for some remedy and that the business arrangements of the House were not what they ought to be. He was sure that the great bulk of Members felt that strongly. The proposal that they should meet at two o'clock was an extremely valuable and modest one, and he hoped the Leader of the House would not allow it to be whittled away.
§ (10.55.) SIR HARRY BULLARD (Norwich)
said that as a business man he held that they should do their business in this House in business hours, and two o'clock was a very adequate and proper hour at which to meet. It was all very well for the Member for South Leeds to plead almost in forma pauperis that Members of the legal profession would not be able to get to Parliament at two o'clock. If they wanted the services of the hon. and learned Member tomorrow he would not take less than fifty guineas, and he must say the hon. Member was worth it. He also should like to find a job in the morning if he could. In
§ the morning he attended one or two boards of directors, but he forbade them from meeting in the afternoon. He was once put on a Committee which considered an Irish Bill. He paid great attention to it. The Bill, it was said cost —5 per minute. The Committee met at eleven and it sat nine or ten times. The twelve o'clock Rule being suspended, the House sat sometimes till he was obliged to go home with the milk. He did not feel particularly fresh when he came down to the Committee at eleven o'clock. He hoped some scheme would be devised by which this would be altered. He supported the proposal to meet at two o'clock. If they sat at twelve o'clock he should be very glad to come and do his duty.
§ MR. JOSEPH WALTON (Yorkshire,. W.R., Barnsley)
said he was prepared to attend the sittings at whatever time might be necessary. He desired to know, however, whether, in the event of the House agreeing to meet at two o'clock, the First Lord of the Treasury would consent to Questions being taken at 2.25 and Government business commencing at three. He also suggested that, in that event, the House should adjourn from 7.30 until nine for dinner.
§ (10.58) Question put
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 256; Noes, 109. (Division List No. 39.)683
|Acland-Hood,Capt. Sir Alex.F.||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bignold, Arthur||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Allen,CharlesP.(Glouc.,Stroud||Bigwood, James||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bill, Charles||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chamberlain,J. Austen (Worc'r|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bond, Edward||Chapman, Edward|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Charrington, Spencer|
|Bagot,Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bousfield, William Robert||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Bowles,T. Gibson (King's Lynn||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Balfour,Rt.Hon.A.J. (Manch'r||Broadhurst, Henry||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Balfour,Rt.Hon. G.W.(Leeds)||Bull, William James||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.)||Bullard, Sir Harry||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Carlile, William Walter||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Beach,Rt. Hn.SirMichaelHicks||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Cremer, William Randal||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Purvis, Robert|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Kennaway,Rt. Hn.Sir John H.||Pym, C. Guy|
|Cross,Herb. Shepherd (Bolton.||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Randles, John S.|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Keswick, William||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Knowles, Lees||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Labouchere, Henry||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Dewar,T.R. (T'rH'mlets,S.Geo||Lambert, George||Renwick, George|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lambton, Hn. Frederick Wm.||Ridley, Hn. Chas. (Stalybridge|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)||Ritchie, Rt.Hn.Chas. Thomson|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawson, John Grant||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Doxford,Sir William Theodore||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Leese, Sir JosephF (Accrington||Russell, T. W.|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rutherford, John|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Leveson-Gower, Fred'rick N.S.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Elliott, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Sandys, Lieut. -Col. Thos.Myles|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Long, Col.Charles W. (Evesham||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. SirJ. (M'nc'r||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lough, Thomas||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln|
|Finch, George H.||Lowe, Francis William||Seely,Maj. J.E.B.(Isleof Wight|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James(Kent)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Lucas,Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lucas,Reginald J.(Portsmouth||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Shaw-Stewart, M.H. (Renfrew|
|Flower, Ernest||Macartney, Rt. Hon. W. G. E.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Forster, Henry William||Macdona John Cumming||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Foster,Sir Michael(Lond. Univ.||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.|
|Foster,PhilipS. (Warwick,S.W||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Smith,H.C.(North'mb.Tynsid.|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Maconochie, A. W.||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||M'Calmont,Col.H.L.B.(Cambs||Spear, John Ward|
|Galloway, William Johnson||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim E.||Stanley, Hn.Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Gardner, Ernest||M'Crae, George||Stanley,Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Gladstone,Rt. Hn. Herbt. John||M'Killop, James(Stirlingshire)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Majendie, James A. H.||Stewart,Sir Mark J. M'T'ggart|
|Gordon, Hn. J.E. (Elgin & Nairn||Markham, Arthur Basil||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Gordon, Maj. Evans- (T.Hmlts||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Gore,Hn G. R. C.Ormsby-(Salop||Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfries.),||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Line.)||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Talbot,Rt Hn.J.G. (Oxf'dUniv.|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Thomas, Alfred(Glamorgan,E.|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Green, Wilford D (Wednesb'ry||Mitchell, William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Greene,SirE. W. (B'ry S'Ed'nds||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott(Hants.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Gretton, John||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Groves, James Grimble||Morgan, David J (W'lthamst'w||Warde, Colonel C.E.|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Morgan,Hn.Fred.(Monm'thsh.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Morrell, George Herbert||Wason,John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Hambro, Charles Erie||Morrison, James Archibald||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'd'nde'ry||Morton,Arthur H.A. (Deptford||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts|
|Hardy,Laurence (Kent,Ashf'rd||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Muntz, Philip A.||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray,RtHn.A.Gr'ham(Bute||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Myers, William Henry||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Heath,James (Staffords.N.W.)||Nicholson, William Graham||Wilson, A.Stanley (York,E.R.|
|Henderson, Alexander||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Parkes Ebenezer||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Pease,HerbertPike(Darlington||Wodehouse,Rt. Hn E. R. (Bath|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Hope,J.F. (Sheffield,Brightside||Pemberton, John S. G.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hoult, Joseph||Percy, Earl||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Plummer, Walter R.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Pretyman, Ernest George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Price, Robert John||Sir William Walrond and|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Abraham, William (Cork,N.E.||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Gordon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Donnell,T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Ambrosh, Robert||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Kelly,James Roscommon, N|
|Asher, Alexander||Hammond, John||O'Malley, William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Mara, James|
|Asquith,Rt Hon. Herb. Henry||Hayne,Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.||Holland, William Henry||O'Shee, James John|
|Blake, Edward||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Pease, J.A. (Saffron Waldon)|
|Roland, John||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Rea, Russell|
|Brigg, John||Joicey, Sir James||Reddy, M|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jones, David Brynmor(Swansea||Redmond,John E. (Waterford|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jordan, Jeremiah||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Caldwell, James||Joyce, Michael||Roche, John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Samuel, S.M. (Whitechapel)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Kennedy. Patrick James||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Kitson, Sir James||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Layand-Barratt, Francis||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lundon, W.||Spencer, Rt Hon. C.R. (N. Hants|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Crean, Eugene||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Govern, T.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Hugh Patrick A.||Thompson,Dr.E.C (Monaghn N|
|Delany, William||M'Kenna, Reginald||Tomkinson, James|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North||Walton, John Lawson(.Leeds S|
|Dillon, John||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Murphy, John||Whitley, J.H. (Halifax.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan,Col.John P. (Galway, N.||Wilson, John (Durham Mid.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Sir Thomas Esmonde and|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, N||Capt. Donelan.|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, P.J. Tipperary, N.|
§ MR. JOSEPH N. PEASE
said he had been asked by his hon. friend the Member for East Northamptonshire to move the Amendment standing in his name.
§ MR. SPEAKER
It is extremely difficult to know precisely the order of the Amendments, because their position is misdescribed on the Paper, but it seems to me that the hon. Member for Leicester has precedence.
§ (11.18.) MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
said he wished to leave out all the words after "clock," which were "for an afternoon sitting, and at nine of the clock for an evening sitting." He would not pursue the subject 684 at any great length, because he had argued against it on the Second Reading debate. His object was to prevent the adjournment of the House at a quarter past seven for the purpose of meeting again at nine o'clock. He considered that that would not conduce to the transaction of the business of the House, and that it would be a waste of time. It would be cutting the sitting into two pieces, which would have to be stitched together again at great trouble at nine o'clock. Hon. Members who had had experience of morning sittings during the last twenty years knew perfectly well the difficulty of making a House at nine o'clock. He appealed to the Government to consider the reasonableness of his proposal. If the House met at two o'clock and had no interval, it could adjourn not later than 11 o'clock at night. That would not reduce the number of working hours, but it would do more to conduce to the health and welfare of Members than an adjournment from a 685 quarter past seven to nine o'clock could possibly do. He could not imagine anything more wasteful of Parliamentary time than the system of adjourning for dinner. Every hon. Member could dine adequately and well without the adjournment. Hon. Members now found no difficulty in dining under the present system. The speaker went out for half an hour, and when he returned business went on in the ordinary way; but if the House were to be formally adjourned they would have to make a House again at nine o'clock and recommence Parliamentary work in the same way as at two o'clock. He could not imagine what could have possessed the Government to have suggested such an alteration. Whatever work had to be done should be done continuously until it was finished, and then hon. Members would be free to go to their homes, and they would have a much better chance of getting a good night's rest. For these reasons he proposed his Amendment, and he hoped the Leader of the House would give some consideration to other hon. Members than those who were concerned in dining out. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would consider the general convenience, health, and welfare of hon. Members. He begged to move.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment—
To leave out the words 'for an Afternoon Sitting, and at Nine of the clock for an Evening Sitting.'"—(Mr. Broadhurst.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ (11.25.) Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not think it will be necessary for me to detain the House by any arguments on this subject. One of the main objects in meeting at two o'clock is in order to give us scope for that very interval which the hon. Member desires to destroy. I defended that course at great length in introducing these proposals. I think the idea of meeting at two o'clock and asking hon. Members and the Speaker and the officers of the House to sit continuously until twelve o'clock—
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It is not part of the Amendment put from the Chair. It may be that the hon. Member had it in his mind, and that the Amendment before the House is a preface to the other.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I grant that; but it is not mentioned in the Amendment. I think the House will certainly be very reluctant to accept an Amendment which, however early it might send the hon. Member to bed, would have the effect of depriving most Members of the House of their dinner.
§ MR. DILLON
said he was astonished at the tone of the Leader of the House in dealing with the Amendment, which was really one of the most important on the Paper. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to be under the impression that no one's convenience was to be consulted except the convenience of gentlemen who desired to go home to dinner, and the convenience of gentlemen who despised cheap dinners. He held that the convenience and health of the majority of hon. Members would be far better consulted by allowing them to go home to bed earlier. That would be better, also, for the convenience of the Government, as they would find out by experience. He believed nothing could be more obstructive than the proposed adjournment for dinner. The plan of interrupting business in the middle of a sitting, of changing the business in the course of the night, of resuming under unfavourable conditions, was as an obstructive arrangement as Parliamentary ingenuity could devise. He believed that the Government would be consulting their own interest better by accepting the Amendment. His hone friends had always said that if the Government would promise to adjourn earlier they would not oppose a two o'clock sitting; but 687 they objected to be forced to sit earlier and not get any advantage later in the night. He did not know if hon. Members had practically considered how the proposals of the Government would work out. The House would resume at nine o'clock. The Government had indicated what they expected, as regarded the attendance of their own supporters, by the proviso that the House could not be counted out until ten o'clock. If the Government intended to bring back their supporters at nine o'clock, they would not have put in that proviso. What would happen between nine o'clock and ten o'clock? On many nights the Government would be afraid to allow a division, and the result would be that they would have two or three Government blockers whose duty it would be to talk against time during that hour. That would be degradation of the House of Commons, and he could not imagine an arrangement more calculated to turn the proceedings of the House into ridicule and to obstruct the conduct of public business. They had witnessed similar incidents last session when even the Leader of the House himself and other Front Bench men had to get up and talk against time in the most amusing manner he had ever heard. He contended, therefore, that in providing an adjournment for dinner the Government were simply attempting to meet the case of those of their supporters who were denounced in The Times newspaper Member, a letter signed by a Unionist Member, in which it was stated that a large section of the Unionist Party were in the habit of coming in at the front door and leaving through secret passages, leaving the Whips under the impression that they had a certain number of supporters in the House when actually they had not. That was the real secret and explanation of the proposal of the Government, and it ought to be made perfectly clear to the House and the country. It was not made in the interests of public business, or of the majority of the House, or for the purposes of giving necessary relaxation. It was made simply and solely for the, purpose of extricating the Whips of the Tory Party from an insuperable difficulty, which, in spite of their immense majority, brought 688 them last session to the verge of disaster. The House of Commons should not be treated as a social club, or as a kind of step ladder for climbing into the drawing-rooms of London. He trusted hon. Members who took a serious interest in the business of the House would resist the proposal, and would make it clear to the House and the country what was the real explanation of the suggestion.
§ (11.35.) SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
The right hon. Gentleman appears to be under the impression that the House, having agreed to meet at two o'clock, has thereby settled the question of the dinner hour. It is, however, an entirely different proposition, although it is quite true that one may be adapted to the other. I am entirely opposed to the interruption of the sitting, and I have heard no answer whatever from the right hon. Gentleman, or from anyone else, to the very significant fact I have stated before, that there is no case of a Government, when it gets command of the whole time of the House, ever having a morning sitting at all. Why is that? When the Government at the end of July or the beginning of August takes the whole time of the House with a view to getting through their business with the greatest speed; they would have morning sittings, for morning sittings were a good way of accomplishing that object. But they did not; on the contrary, the House is kept sitting four days in the week, without morning sittings, in order that the Government might get on with their business. Therefore this proposal is a direct inducement to the waste of time, and it is very easy to see how it arises. Supposing half-a-dozen or a dozen Members of the House desire, out of pure mischief or for any other reason, to obstruct the progress of business, the prospect of a whole session of days going on till twelve o'clock would be more than they could face; but if there is to be an interruption at seven o'clock, and if they are to have a breathing time until ten o'clock, for that is practically what it comes to, they will take fresh heart and do their best to obstruct until a quarter past seven. It is an elementary axiom of Parliamentary tactics that you encourage obstruction 689 by breaking up your business, and that you prevent obstruction by having a solid mass of business before the House.
There is another aspect of the arrangement. The Government under it will have practically three hours of immunity from attack and danger. There will be from a quarter past seven until eight o'clock, from eight o'clock to nine o'clock, when the House will not exist, and from nine o'clock to ten o'clock, when the House cannot be counted. During that period the Government are freed from any danger or attack. I am arguing from the point of view of the interest of Members, but the Government are also sacrificing the interests of public business for the comfort and convenience of some of their supporters. I quite admit that the great majority of hon. Members, so far as their own personal comfort is concerned, like a dinner hour; but that is no reason why we should adopt it, if it is not favourable to the progress of business. All the most experienced men I have consulted are agreed—and it is also the experience of every Government within my memory—in confirming my view that the way to get on with business is to have no dinner hour. [An HON. MEMBER: And no dinner.] The hon. Member is thinking of his dinner; but he does not come here to eat dinners, he comes here to make speeches. The great object is to transact the work of the House, and in my opinion this is not the way to get on with it. It is said that we have an interruption of half an hour now. Yes, but that comes at irregular times, it cannot be counted on, and when we resume, we resume with the same business, and really the constitution of the House is not altered at all. But this is another system altogether. We are to have one kind of business before the interval and another kind of business afterwards, and that, as I said before, is a very patent way of giving opportunities for obstruction, and yet it is put forward in the interests of public business. What is the cause of our spending so much time and taking so much pains over Amendments of this kind except to accelerate public business. I deny altogether that we are called upon to make this change for the mere comfort and convenience of Members; and, 690 as I have said before, in my opinion a dinner hour is the very best way of accomplishing the retardation of business rather than its acceleration.
(11.43) MR. SWIFTMACNEILL
said that nothing that that dinner-gong statesman, the First Lord of the Treasury, had done had so degraded the House of Commons as that proposal. It was not proper to adjourn public business in order to dine conveniently. They came to the House to discuss public business and not to dine. The first mention he had found of the dinner hour question in the Parliamentary records was in the days of Speaker Lenthall. Speaker Lenthall saw a great number of Members crowding out of the House at the dinner hour, and he rebuked them for gratifying their own selfish inclinations, and referred to them as "unworthy to be Members of this great and wise Assembly of Parliament, who would so run forth for their dinners." He had some delicacy in referring to that, as he had the honour to be a most unworthy descendant of Speaker Lenthall, Irish of the Irish though he was. The proposal of the Government would not convenience Members who devoted their time to the work of the House. It would have no effect whatever on the Irish Members, as they would have to stay in the House, and they would probably be asking Questions when other hon. gentlemen were dining. Not since the time when Nero fiddled while Rome was burning had there been such an example of supineness and inducement to material comfort as that now supplied by a gentleman who owed everything to the House of Commons, the debasement of which he was today engaged in securing.
§ (11.46.) MR. M'KENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
admitted that in a limited sense these Rules were popular, and would facilitate important business. That they were popular had been indicated by the speeches delivered during the last fortnight by gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House, and they would certainly facilitate the important business of dining. A direct challenge had been 691 put forward by the Leader of the Opposition. The right hon. Gentleman had declared that what was practically a three hours interruption, must of necessity lead, not to the facilitation, but the obstruction of business. To that statement no answer had been given, for the simple reason that no answer could be given. Let the House, at any rate, be frank in discussing these proposals. It should not be allowed to go forth that these proposals were for the purpose of enabling the Government to introduce legislation for the benefit of the working classes. They were purely and simply for the personal convenience of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. If the business of the House was interrupted from seven to ten o'clock, it would practically mean that they would devote only the hours between 2.30 and seven o'clock to public business, and, as a consequence, the House would be able to do less in the future than it had done in the past. The Rules, so far from facilitating the discharge of public business, would prove to be the most obstructive measure ever introduced into the House to impede the passage of legislation, and he should therefore support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Leicester.
§ (11.49.) MR. CREAN
said that for the one hour they were to meet earlier, the House was to waste three hours between seven and ten o'clock. It would be more than ever difficult to transact business after ten o'clock, because Members who spent three hours in dining, would come back, not to speak with any reason or sense on the subject of discussion, but simply to shout, in very thick voices, "'Vide! 'Vide! 'Vide!" That might be an amusement to hon. 692 Members who indulged in the practice, but it was not amusing to those who attended the House to transact the business of Parliament. The First Lord was very ill-advised in considering the convenience of Members who rendered him no assistance except in the division lobby. If the speeches of such Members on the platform were only as brilliant as those they made in the House, there would be fewer Gentlemen returned to shout "'Vide! 'Vide!" and more to transact the business of the country. The proposal was made in the interest not of the "cheap diners." but of members of West End clubs. It did not, however, add either to the efficiency of Members of Parliament or to the dignity of the House, to give men too much time to fritter away in playing "ping-pong" or dining. To adjourn the House for three hours in the middle of the sitting would tend neither to give more time for the discharge of public business nor to making the working of the Assembly more efficient. The proper way to secure those ends was to make the sessions longer and the sittings continuous. No business man would dream of suspending business for three hours in the middle of his day in order to go and dine. Nationalist Members did not come to the House for the pupose of dining, but to represent their constituents. Those constituents had faith in their representatives, and those representatives would do the work to the best of their ability. But the Government did not believe they had the faith of their followers, and therefore they had to pet and pamper them in every possible way. The Members who ought really to be considered were not the sloths and sluggards, but those who really did the work of the House.
§ (11.59.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 211; Noes 106. (Division List No. 40).
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edwd.Algernon||Macartney,RtHn.W.G.Ellison|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Forster, Henry William||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Foster,PhilipS.(WarwickS.W.||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Arnold-Foster, Hugh O.||Galloway, William Johnson||M'Calmont,Col.H.L.B(Cambs)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Gardner, Ernest||M'Calmont,Col. J. (Antrim,E.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gibbs, Hon.Vicary (St. Albans||M 'Killop, James (Stirlingshire|
|Bagot, Capt.Josceline FitzRoy||Godson, Sir Augustus Freder'k||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Gordon,Hn.J.E.(Elgin & Nairn||Martin,Richard Biddulph|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon.A.J. (Mancr||Gordon,Maj.Evans-(TrHamlts||Maxwell,W.J.H.(Dumfriesshr|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Gore,Hn.G.R.C.Ormsby-(Sal'p||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Balfour,Rt.Hon.Ger.W.(Leeds||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Line)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch||Gorst, Rt.Hon.Sir John Eldon||Milner, Rt. Hon.Sir Fredk. G.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Goulding,Edward Alfred||Mitchell, William|
|Beach, Rt.Hon.Sir Michael H.||Graham, Henry Robert||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Montagu,Hon. J. Scott(Hants|
|Bignold, Arthur||Green, Walford D. (Wednsbry)||More, Robt. Jasper(Shropshire|
|Blundell, Col. Henry||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. E'd's||Morgan,David J. (Walth'mstow|
|Bond, Edward||Grenfell, William Henry||Morgan,Hn.Fred.(Monm'thsh.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gretton, John||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Groves, James Grimble||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Bull, William James||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Hambro, Charles Eric||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hamilton, Marq.of (Londndry||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)|
|Carson,Rt. Hon. Sir Edwd. H.||Hardy, Laurence(Kent,Ashfd)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Nicholson, Wm. Graham|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbyshre||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor).||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Pease,HerbertPike(Darlington|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hon.J. (Birm||Heath, James (Statfords N.W.||Peel, Hn.Wm.Robt. Wellesley|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worcr.||Henderson, Alexander||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Chapman, Edward||Hogg, Lindsay||Plummer, Walter R|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hope,J.F (Sheffield, Brightside||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Hoult, Joseph||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Clive, Capt. Percy A.||Howard, John (Kent,Favershm||Pryce-Jones, Lt. -Col. Edward|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hozier, Hon. James HnryCeeil||Purvis, Robert|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Randles, John S.|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Rasch, Major Frederick Carne|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North).||Kenyon-Slaney, Col.W.(Salop)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Keswick, William||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Cross, Herbt. Shepherd(Bolton||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Renwick, George|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Knowles, Lees||Ridley, Hn. M.W.(Stalybridge|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Lambton,Hon.Frederick Wm.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thompson|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Law, Andrew Bonar||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lawrence, Joseph(Monmouth)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Royds, Clement Molyneaux|
|Dewar, T.R.(T. Hamlets St. Geo||Lawson, John Grant||Rutherford, John|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lee, Arthur H.(Hants, Farehm||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Sadler, Col. Saml. Alexander|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Leveson-Gower, FrederickN. S.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Seeley, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Dunning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Seeley, Maj.J.E.B.(Isle of W.)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edwd.||Long, Rt.Hn.Walter(Bristol,S||Shaw-Stewart, M.H.(Renfrew)|
|Fergusson,Rt.Hon.SirJ.(Mane||Lowe, Francis William||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Smith,H.C.(North'mb. Tynesd|
|Finch, George H.||Lucas,Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Spear, John Ward|
|Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)||Walker, Col. Wm. Hall||Wodehouse,Rt. Hn. E.R.(Bath)|
|Stanley, Edward Jas (Somerset||Warde, Colonel C.E.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Wason, John C. (Orkney)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Strutt, Hon.. Charles Hedley||Webb, Col. Wm. George||Wyndham, Rt.Hon.George|
|Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Talbot, Rt. Hn.J.G (Oxfd.Univ||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Thornton, Percy M.||Willox, Sir John Archibald||Sir. Wm. Walrond and|
|Tomlinson, Wm. Ed. Murray||Wilson, A. Stanley(York,E.R||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Valentia, Viscount||Wilson, John Glasgow|
|Ahraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Joicey, Sir James||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Jones, David Brynmor(Swansea||O'Shee, James John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Asher, Alexander||Jordan, Jeremiah||Power (Patrick Joseph)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S)||Joyce, Michael||Price, Robert John|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C.B.||Kearley, Hudson E.||Rea, Russell|
|Blake, Edward||Kennedy, Patrick James||Reddy, M.|
|Boland, John||Kitson, Sir James||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Lambert, George||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Brigg, John||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington||Roche, John|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Caldwell, James||Landon, W.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||MacDonnell. Dr. Mark A.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Cogan, Denis J.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||M`Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Crene, Eugene||M'Crae, George||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Cremer, William Randal||M`Govern, T.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Delany, William||M' Kenna, Reginald||Thompson,Dr E. C.M'n'ghan, N|
|Dillon, John||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Tomlinson, James|
|Donelan, Capt. A.||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Murphy, John||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, George|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Norman, Henry||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, M.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert J.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Woodhouse,SirJ.T. (Hudrfield|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Connor, James(Wicklow, W.)||Young, Samuel|
|Hammond, John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Hayne, Hon. C. Seale-||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Holland, William Henry||O'Kelly, James(Roscommon, N.||Mr. Broadhurst and Mr.|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Malley, William||Lough.|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Mara, James|
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."695
§ (12.12.) Question put according "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment."696
§ The Housing Divided:—Ayes, 212; Noes, 105. (Division List No. 41).699
|Acland-Hood,Capt. Sir A. F.||Banbury, Frederick George||Cavendish,V.C. W. (Derbyshire|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bignold, Arthur||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chamberlain, J. Austen(Worc'r|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bond, Edward||Chapman, Edward|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Charrington, Spencer|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St John||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Balfour,Rt.Hn A. J. (Manch'r.)||Bull, William James||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Bullard, Sir Harry||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Balfour,Rt. Hn Gerald W(Leeds||Carlile, William Walter||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edwd. H.||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Purvis, Robert|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh)||Randles, John S.|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Keswick, William||Rasch, Major Frederic Came|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Rateliff, R. F.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Knowles, Lees||Remnant, James Faninharson|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Lambton, Hon. FrederickWm.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Dewar,T. R. (T'r H'mlets,S.Geo||Law, Andrew Bonar||Renwick, George|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)||Ridley, Hn. M. W.(Stalybridge|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Ritchie,Rt.Hn. Chas.Thomson|
|Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Lawson, John Grant||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rutherford, John|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Leveson-Gower,Frederick N.S.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Fellowes, Hon Ailwyn Edward||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Fergusson,Rt Hn.Sir. J(Manc'r||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Sasscon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Finch, George H.||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lowe, Francis William||Seely,Maj.J.E.B. (Isleof Wight|
|Fitzroy,Hon.Edward Algernon||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lucas, R. J. (Portsmouth)||Shaw-Stewart,M. H. (Renfrew|
|Forster, Henry William||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Smith, A. H. (Hertford, East)|
|Foster,Philip S (Warwick,S.W||Macartney,Rt.Hn. WG. Ellison||Smith,H.C.(Nort'mb.Tyneside|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Macdona, John Cumming||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Spear, John Ward|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St Albans)||Maconochie, A. W.||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hu. Herb. John||M'Arthur. William (Cornwall)||Stanley, Edwd. Jas. (Somerset|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||M'Calmont,Col.H.L.B (Cambs.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gordon,Hn.J.E. (Elgin & Nairn||M'Calmont, Col. J.(Autrim,E.)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Gordon,Maj Evans-(TrH'ml'ts||M'Killop, James (Stirliiigshire)||Start, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Gore,HnG.R.C.Ormsby-(Salop||Majendie, James A. H.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gore, Hn. S F. Ormsby- (Linc.)||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Talbot, Rt. Hn.J.G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Maxwell, WJ.H(Dumfriesshire||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Valentia, Viscount|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Green, Walford D.(Wednesb'ry||Mitchell, William||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Greene,SirE.W (B'rySEdm'nds||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants.)||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Gretton, John||More, R. Jasper (Shropshire)||Welby, Sir CharlesG.E.(Notts.|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Groves, James Grimble||Morgan,Hn.Fred. (Monm'thsh.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Morrell, George Herbert||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Morrison, James Archibald||Wilson, A. Stanley(York,E.R.|
|Hamilton,Marq.of (L'nd'nd'rry||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hardy,Laurence(Kent,Ashfo'd||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wodehouse,Rt.Hn.E.R.(Bath)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Muntz, Philip A.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C.B. Stuart-|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Nicholson, William Graham||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Heath, J. (Staffords, N.W.)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Henderson, Alexander||Parkes, Ebenezer||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Pease,HerbertPike (Darlington||Sir William Walrond and|
|Hope,J.F. (Shetlield,Brightside||Peel,Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Mr. Anstruther|
|Hoult, Joseph||Pemberton. John S. G.|
|Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham)||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Abraham, William (Cork,N.E.||Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Brigg, John||Crean, Eugene|
|Ambrose Robert||Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Cremer, William Randal|
|Asher, Alexander||Burke, E. Haviland-||Cullinan, J.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Caldwell, James||Delany, William|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C.B.||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Dillon, John|
|Blake, Edward||Causton, Richard Knight||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Boland, John||Cogan, Denis J.||Doogan, P. C.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Govern, T.||Roche, John|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Russell, T. W.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Kenna, Reginald||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Gilhooly, James||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Markham, Arthur Basil||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Murphy, John||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Hammond, John||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Holland, William Henry||Norman, Henry||Sullivan, Donal|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary Mid)||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thompson,Dr.E.C.(M'n'gh'n'N|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Tomkinson, James|
|Jones, David Brymnor(Swansea||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Jones,William(Carnarvonshire||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Malley, William||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Mara, James||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Kitson, Sir James||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk, Mid.|
|Lambert, George||O'Shee, lames John||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Woodhouse, Sir T.T.(H'dd'rsf'd|
|Leese,Sir JosephF.(Accrington||Power, Patrick Joseph||Young, Samuel|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||Price, Robert John|
|Lough, Thomas||Rea, Russell||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|London, W.||Reddy, M.||Mr. Broadhurst and Sir|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)||Brampton Gurdon.|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|M'Crae, George||Roberts, john H. (Denbighs.)|
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising;
§ And, it being after midnight, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.