§ (4.47.) THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I rise by leave of the House to explain as well as I am able the proposals which the Government intend to lay on the table of the House for the amending our rules. It is not the first time by many that those who have occupied my place have had to rise to ask the leave of the House to pursue a similar course. Indeed, since 1832 I believe there have been no less than eighteen committees on Parliamentary procedure, and a very great variety of changes have been introduced since that epoc making date into the rules under which we conduct our business. There are those who think that this entails criticism and commentary on the House of Commons itself and the methods by which we pursue our business. I do not take that view. I think that, in the first place, for an assembly like the present, in an age as changing as the 1351 present, itself to remain unchanged would show that we are not fitted to adapt ourselves to the necessities of the country; and in the second place, I think that the frequency with which these changes have been made is an indication of the caution with which they have been made,. There is no single instance, so far as my memory goes, in which the House has taken the step of adapting any Standing Order in simplification and improvement of its rules, where it has had reason to regret the course it has pursued. In the proposals I have to make I hope it will be seen that this caution has animated the Government in framing their scheme.
The changes are not inconsiderable. I do not desire to minimise them. I think on the contrary that they are schemes important. Nevertheless I think if they receive the candid consideration of the House, and I do not doubt they will, it will be recognised that we have proceeded in the steps traced out for us by our predecessors, and have not attempted any violent revolution which we may see subsequently cause to regret. If it be asked why these constant changes are required in the rules let it be remembered that we always work on a substractum of rules of very ancient date, and which were originally framed to meet a condition of things long passed away. I am not going back to the old history of this House, in which its most important proceedings consisted in a contest with the Crown. I am talking of a period long after Parliamentary supremacy was established, and even then the conditions prevailing in the House was, and consequently the rules laid down were so utterly different from the conditions now prevailing and the rules now laid down that an easy explanation may be given of the many changes which we have carried out. In the middle of the eighteenth century, and indeed to a very much later period, the difficulty was not to check the flow of oratory but to induce it to flow at all. The makers of the rules exhausted their ingenuity in finding opportunities for Gentlemen to speak, and offering them temptations to air their opinions or to deal with the case of their constituents. If anybody will read the Parliamentary history of the eighteenth century, he will see that many as were the opportunities given by this procedure, and anxious as 1352 those gentlemen who framed these rules were to encourage debate, debate was by no means always encouraged. There is a very interesting passage in the recently published journal of Henry Fox, which I daresay most of those who are interested in the political history of the country have already seen, and from which it appears that towards the end of the Seven Years War, when the House was voting for warlike purposes sums beyond anything ever voted before, Henry Fox complained of the extreme difficulty of getting a quorum to vote the money. There was no question of opposing the vote, or of criticising it, the difficulty was, to get Members to attend here in order to have the requisite number actually to vote the money.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That is cheered by my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War, and I am not surprised that he should consider that that would be a very agreable state of things so far as he is concerned, if it could be repeated at the present time. But those days have long gone by, and gone by also is the time when no less than eighteen separate questions had to be put from the chair with respect to every Bill, irrespective of proceedings in Committee, and irrespective of any proceedings in a Preliminary Committee, supposing the Bill was of a national character, which had to be debated before such Committee. Well, eighteen separate questions put from the Chair with regard to a Bill would fill any modern leader of the House with absolute dismay, and the surprise I feel is not that we have had to adapt our rules, but that it was found possible for 658 gentlemen, however well disposed, to carry on under such conditions as these the business of the country.
Let me just ask the House—and this will conclude my preliminary statement—to compare, in three features, the years 1800 and 1901. In 1800 the House sat on portions of 72 days. Unfortunately the records of Hansard do not enable us to tell how long the sittings were. In 1901 the House sat 115 days, and these sittings, as hon. Gentlemen know to their cost, were in many cases 1353 extremely prolonged. In 1800 Supply took one day; in 1901 it took 26 days. In 1800 not a single Question was put during the whole course of Parliament. In 1901, including Supplementary Questions, it has been calculated for me that 7,180 Questions were asked. These 7,180 Questions occupied 119 hours; in other words, they occupied close upon 15 eight-hour Parliamentary days, or three weeks of Government time. Finally, though this is of less importance, the Address in 1800, and for very many years after that, down to my own memory, was voted in one day. Last year it could only be voted in nine. The truth is that, with the changing circumstances of the House, in itself revolutionary, our rules, which were originally framed as it were to promote a fertilising and irrigating flow of eloquence, are now, it appears, required to dam up its vast and destructive floods, and keep them within reasonable limits.
In attempting to describe the contribution which the Government hope to make to the reform of our procedure, I shall not follow the order in which the new rules and the Amendments of the old rules will appear upon the Paper, which I trust will be in the Vote Office in the course of an hour. It will be more convenient if I begin with the more miscellaneous and in some respects less important proposals, reserving to the last the general scheme with regard to business to which I know a great deal of interest and attention has been devoted.
The first of our proposals changes the rule relating to divisions. It is evidently impossible that the time occupied in divisions can be very seriously limited; I, at any rate, have not discovered any method by which that could be attained. The House must be allowed to express its opinion, and that expression necessarily occupies a considerable amount of time. But do not let us suppose that the evil is a small one. Last year there were 482 divisions, at the rate of five divisions an hour, which I think is a good average, that would amount to 12 days, so that we were 12 eight-hour days walking through the lobbies of this House to record our opinions on the various proposals put forward. I do not pretend that I could diminish that amount 1354 very seriously by anything I can suggest, but it is a great evil, and I think that Members who frivolously and unnecessarily challenge divisions ought to feel that they really are wasting the time of the House in a manner which in its cumulative effect is really serious.
The proposals I have to make on this subject are threefold. I propose to abolish the power of dividing upon the Question now put by the Chairman, that he report these Resolutions to the House. It is admittedly a subject which ought not to be divided upon, and though I believe there was an attempt to debate it last year, I cannot think that anybody regards it as an essential or important part of our procedure. I propose that that privilege, if privilege it be, should be withdrawn in the future. My second proposal is that when a Bill is being discussed on the Second Reading, or the Third Reading, if a time Amendment is proposed—that is to say, if an Amendment that the Bill be read this day six months or this day three months is rejected on a division, no second division can be claimed. Let the House mark that if it be a reasonable Amendment, on which a man might be reasonably supposed to be able to vote one way while he would not vote for the Second Reading of the Bill, I do not propose to forbid this, though I am not sure that I am right even in that; I am not sure that I am not too moderate. But at all events as regards a time Amendment—that a Bill be read this day, say three or six months, everybody agrees that when the House have given their decision it is merely a waste of time to ask them to repeat it. The third proposal I have to make may possibly be the most important of those I have to make with regard to divisions. The House is aware there was a standing order passed by the late Mr. Smith according to which if divisions were frivolously claimed, the Speaker might call upon those who challenged them to stand up in their places. [An HON. MEMBER, "Those who agreed."] Yes, those who agreed were asked to stand up in their places. That was well designed, the intention was good, but it was rendered utterly nugatory by the fact that the clerk had to go and take down the names of each person who did so stand up. The 1355 process took long, and in most cases led to more confusion than if a division had been taken in the ordinary way. Our suggestion is that we should restore this proposal to its original shape and remove the conditions which both rendered it nugatory and inoperative. I am reading the words of the Standing Order under which Mr. Speaker or the Chairman may, after the lapse of two minutes, take a vote of the House, or Committee, by calling on the Members who challenged the division to rise in their places; and that their names shall be taken down in the House and printed in the list of divisions. I propose to omit these last words. On that subject I may tell the House, that I am laying a Blue-book on the Table which contains the results of the investigations which I have been making in regard to the practice of Foreign Assemblies in respect to divisions; and I hope that it will be in the hands of Members in a few days.
I pass to the second group of reforms to be proposed, which have for their intention the lightening of the existing stages of our Bills. The first of these, I have to suggest to the House, is one which will be more in favour of private Members than of the Government. At present if a private Member, or indeed if any gentleman, whether he be a Minister of the Crown or not, desires to move a Bill to a Grand Committee, he has to do it by a Motion after the Second Reading is passed. We propose that it shall be in his power to give notice, before the Second Reading, of his intention to do so, and that that shall be discussed along with the Second Reading. And after the Second Reading is carried, if it be carried, then the Motion that the Bill should go to the Standing Committee or any form of Committee, shall be put without further debate.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes, put separately, but no further debate is to be taken. In that rule we have included a provision which, I think, gives a very necessary elasticity to our proceedings. At present it is possible to send a Bill, first to a Select Committee and then to a Grand 1356 Committee. I cannot imagine why the fact that a Bill has been sent to a Select Committee is a sufficient reason for its being again considered by the House in its collective capacity. If it is a reason for anything at all, it is a reason for adopting the opposite practice; and we propose to give absolute liberty to send a Bill to the Grand Committee, after it has gone to a Select Committee, a Hybrid Committee, or a Joint Committee of the two Houses.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes. As I understand the hon. Gentleman's question it is that supposing a division on the seading takes place and there is an interruption of business, would it be possible to have a division afterwards on the Motion to send the Bill to a Grand or Select Committee. Yes, Sir, it would. The proposal I have to make refers to Resolutions in Committee on Money Bills, which as the House knows, cannot be read a first time in the ordinary way, but have to be brought in in Committee of the whole House. I have personally a leaning towards assimilating the practice in this case to the practice followed in the case of all other Bills. Our present procedure dates from an early period, and is a rather antiquated and rusty method—but we do not propose to go the length. We propose to leave the Committee stage of these Money Resolutions exactly as it is, but we propose that the Report stage should not be debated, although it may be divided upon. We propose to diminish, by one stage, these preliminary stages on Money Bills. Then we make an alteration in regard to the First Reading of ordinary Bills. We do not propose to interfere with either of the two methods by which Bills may be at present introduced—namely, what is known, conveniently but improperly, as introduction under the "Ten Minute Rule;" and the older procedure under which there was an unlimited debate on the First Reading. We do not propose to alter either of these, because there are circumstances in which these proceedings are proper. For instance, there are many Govern- 1357 ment Bills on which a brief explanation is very desirable; and there are many other Government Bills on which it is proper that the Minister in charge should make an extended statement in regard to their contents. And the Minister can hardly be permitted to make that extended statement without allowing debate after what he has said; so that if an answer be required, it should go forth to the country at the same time as the speech. We leave, therefore, the existing procedure in the same state as it is; but in our opinion with regard to the great mass of Bills the House of Lords procedure is far the best, under which no leave to introduce is required at all, but every Member has a right to have a Bill printed and read a first time, as a matter of course.
Now I come to the fourth element in this group of our changes, and it is the most drastic and important of all. It relates to the report stage of ordinary Bills. There is one important omission which I have made, and which the House will perhaps allow me to correct. The House will remember that we do not allow debate on the Report of the Resolution of the Money Bill Committee. That is so in a general way, but we especially except the Budget and Supply. Then I come to the Report stage of ordinary Bills; and here, I say, our proposals are more drastic than those I have so far made. I cannot get any full or satisfactory history of the Report stages in this House, but there can be no reason to doubt that the Report stages existed and exists in order to give the House an opportunity of surveying the work of its Committees—whether a Committee upstairs, as it used to be in old times, or a Committee of the whole House as at present. And if anyone wants proof of that, he will find that no Report stage is required if the Committee has done nothing. When a Committee passes a Bill without Amendment there is no Report stage; the Committee has done no work, and it is not necessary to survey it. I do not think that the system is a good one at present. We oscillate between two extremes, both of which were objectionable. If an Amendment has been introduced in Committee, the Report stage is often used as an opportunity for the repetition of the Amendments which had been rejected in Committee, 1358 That is a modern practice, an inconvenient practice, and involves a great waste of public time. But if, on the other hand, no Amendment is introduced, then the House, on the Report stage, can do nothing, and thus, as the House knows, there is a great temptation to the Government to try to get a Bill through Committee without any change at all being made in it. Nobody denies that as long as one part of the House abuses the rules in one direction there will be an attempt to stretch them in another; I do not think that is a temptation that ought to be placed in the way of any Government, or of any private Member. It is perfectly certain that no Government ever will consent to leave the Report stage, in every particular as it stands, and only remove this single anomaly. I venture to say that our proposal, which is to greatly limit what the House will do on the Report stage is the best which the House will adopt. What we propose is that the House on the Report stage shall only be allowed to deal with changes made in Committee, except that the Member in charge of the Bill may introduce Amendments. This last is a necessary provision, because, as the House well knows, pledges are constantly given to the great convenience of every body concerned, that such or such an Amendment, will be introduced on Report by the Member in charge of the Bill; and it is clear that this is a very necessary elasticity in the stringency of the rule. Everything consequential on what has been done in Committee is open, as at present, to full discussion.
§ MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
Does this apply to Bills sent to a Standing Committee upstairs?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am obliged to my right hon. friend. We do limit it to the Bills which have undergone the ordeal of the Committee of the whole House. It is in order to avoid the whole House having to go twice over the discussion of the details of the same Bill that we ask for this rule.
There are two other proposals in this group of our suggestions. One is the revival of an old plan of my own, to allow a Member in charge of a Bill, after debate, to drop certain portions of the Bill, instead of having to go through every 1359 amendment. The second proposal is one to facilitate the passage of Consolidation Bills. Consolidation Bills are really most important, although not a very glorious part of our present labour; and we have placed upon the table of the House a plan by which we think the House will be enabled to deal with this most necessary class of legal reform.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes, I can do so; but I did not, because I was so afraid of trespassing on the patience of the House. But as my hon. friend is anxious to hear what is the general outline, it is that there should be a Committee appointed by the House to consider those Bills; and if anyone suggests that they are not Consolidation Bills, but that they carry out some change in the law, they should be referred back to the Committee which would consider the point, and if the Bills contain no change they will not be open to discussion in Committee or on Report stage; but if they do contain a change in the law, discussion in Committee or on Report stage shall be confined to that change. I think that ought to be a not unworkable plan.
Now I come to two proposals which cannot be classed under either of the two heads with which I have so far been dealing, two detached proposals. One relates to the difficulty in which this House has found itself in the past, and may again find itself in the future, if the Chairman of Committees is prevented by indisposition from attending to his duties. That produces, or may produce, two different kinds of evil. In the first place, inasmuch as a substitute is not endowed with his full powers, business is constantly delayed during the tenure of office of the temporary chairman, to the inconvenience, I think, of all parties in the House. Then there is a second evil, which, I am glad to say, has never happened, but which very easily might happen. It is, if Mr. Speaker and the Chairman of Committees shall be both indisposed at the same time; in that case this House would lose all power of carrying on public business at all—it could not sit. The only man who can take Mr. Speaker's place at 1360 the present time is the Chairman; the Deputy Chairman cannot take it; and we have proposed several plans by which in the event of the Chairman being ill, or in the extreme case of both the Chairman and Mr. Speaker being ill, the House shall not be actually deprived of all power of carrying on its functions.
Then there is one other proposal of a miscellaneous class, and that relates to questions of privilege. Everybody who has sat through the last two or three Parliaments must have had brought home to them the extreme inconvenience of a question of privilege being suddenly, without notice, started on the House immediately after Questions, and a very important decision being taken by the House without any power of looking into precedents and of considering in cold blood the circumstances of the case. The result of that has been, not only, as I think, a considerable waste of public time, but also some decisions of which this House has, in my opinion, no very great reason to be proud. Now, we appoint a Committee on Privileges at the beginning of every session; it is the very first thing we do; we do it before the King's Speech has begun; but we never name, it never goes further, it is a purely formal proceeding which, I think, happens at the same time as that hardy annual of my right hon. friend connected with the interference of Peers at elections. We think that Committee ought to be appointed; and we propose that, whenever any question of privilege not relating to a controversy between the two Houses—which are questions of a rather different character—is raised, it should on the Motion of a Minister of the Crown be referred, without further debate, to this Committee for report. I cannot help thinking that that would add much to the dignity of the House when placed in the very difficult circumstances in which we occasionally find ourselves.
Then I come to two proposals connected with order in the House. The first of these is for strengthening the hands of the House and of Mr. Speaker, who is responsible for order in the House to us, by increasing the penalties under Standing Order 21. It will be remembered that there are two Standing Orders at present which deal with disorderly con- 1361 duct. One is Standing Order 27, under which Mr. Speaker acts on his own authority and without calling for the formal intervention of the House; the other is Standing Order 21, in which Mr. Speaker names the disorderly Member and the House thereupon by vote proceeds to pronounce upon him, proceeds to endorse the action of Mr. Speaker. We do not propose to touch the first of these rules at all; Rule 27 we mean to leave as it is. But we think that Rule 21 should be strengthened, and also made more reasonable and systematic in its provisions. We propose that the penalty for the first offence, instead of being a week, should be 20 days, for the second offence 40 days, and for the third 80 days; and we also think that a Member who has been guilty of gross disorderly conduct should not be permitted to take his ordinary place among us until he has communicated to Mr. Speaker his regret for the action which he had taken, a regret which I am sure, which I hope, he always feels. It is only necessary for me further to say upon this subject that these 20 days in our rule, unlike the existing rule, are 20 days on which the House sits; they run, that is to say, irrespective of holidays, irrespective of adjournments, and irrespective of prorogations. I am sure everybody will feel that there is neither sense nor justice in imposing a heavy penalty upon some gentleman who is guilty of disorderly conduct at the beginning of the session, and inflicting no penalty, on the same gentleman perhaps, if he errs from the paths of virtue on the last day but one of the session. I feel confident the House will accept this view, and I think this is the proper time to deal with it. We are now, I am glad to think, living in an atmosphere of calm; it is an anticyclone, and that is the time to legislate with regard to these, I am glad to think, rare cases. It is a great pity to be driven, as we were driven last session, to legislate immediately and in the heat of the moment upon some matter which the House could not possibly ignore. Let us make our code now adequate to any necessities that are likely to arise, and in our attempts to do so I hope we shall receive assistance from every quarter of the House.
There is one other point connected 1362 with order to which I must call the attention of the House. We think that circumstances may arise, conceivably under which it would be desirable in the interests of order that Mr. Speaker should suspend the sitting for such time as he thinks necessary. I well remember, and I daresay most of the members now present will remember, that very painful scenes took place during the debates on the Home Rule Bill in 1893, with the Chairman of Committees in the chair. On the eve of a division Mr. Speaker Peel was sent for and came in, and proceeded to ask Mr. Gladstone, who was then leading the House, and myself, who was in the position of Leader of the Opposition, to give him an account of what had occurred. Well, from that moment the thing passed off smoothly and quietly, and with dignity; but I can well imagine that, if such a scene, or anything like it, should occur again, Mr. Speaker might think it extremely desirable to have some opportunity of finding out, not in the theatre of heated debate around him what had really occurred. And there is another reason which makes me anxious to pass this rule; it is that there is, as the House is aware, a period now—and that period will be further augmented as I shall point out—during which no opposed business is allowed to be taken. After 12 at night, for instance; during that period no division can be taken, and it is quite possible that the Members left in the House might be in no sense representative of the House. I am quite sure that as long as Members in this House are in any way representative the Chair would of course be respected, but every Member of that Front Bench might quite rightly be away when opposed business is at an end. I certainly do not always stay, and the great bulk of private Members do not think it necessary to stay. It is very unlikely that any difficulty should arise at that time, but if it did the House would hardly be in a position to deal with it; and it is proper to give power to Mr. Speaker, if there is any disorder, to suspend the sitting.
Now I come to the last, perhaps the most interesting, and certainly the most complicated part of the task which I have set myself—the task I mean of describing our proposals for the general rearrangement of business. Now there are two objects which we have in view, the first my be described, roughly, as the 1363 object of increasing the convenience of Parliamentary life. It is not the most important of the two objects; but it is an important one; and for my own part I have never been able to understand why of all his Majesty's subjects a Member of Parliament should be the one who never knows when he is to dine or when he is to sleep. That convenience depends partly on the method in which we arrange our day, and partly on the method in which we arrange our week. The second general object we have in view is what I may call the certainty of public business. At present we are pursued by two kinds of uncertainty, the uncertainty on a given day whether the work put down on the Order-book is the work we shall have to do. The second kind of uncertainty is in not being able to look ahead. This is a matter which chiefly concerns private Members, who ask themselves, "Can we put down such and such a Resolution, or such and such a Bill, without finding ourselves at the last moment deprived by the Government of the opportunity of taking it?" I feel this very strongly. As regards the arrangement of business, we hope to lay down such a general plan as should relieve us from the necessity of constantly coming to the House and asking the House to give us further facilities for business.
At present, by our standing orders, the Government have Mondays and Thursdays, and nothing else. No Government can, or for years has, conducted the public business entrusted to it on that very limited asset. It must come for more time; and the result is that the arrangements of private Members as regards their Motions and Bills are thoroughly upset. I have felt acutely not only having to appeal to the House for these further facilities, but that I am constantly made the butt of charges of so arranging my demands for time as to interfere with these Motions or private Bills. Those who hate a Bill urge me take the day for which that Bill is set down, while those who love a Bill wish me not to interrupt the ordinary course of public buusiness by having an exception made in its favour. That is an intolerable position, and I for one am perfectly sick of such debates. I know all the speeches that are made upon them. I am bored with them all, including my own. There is my hon. friend behind me (Mr. Gibson Bowles,) who always comes down and denounces the Govern- 1364 ment for their tyrannical seizure of private Members' time. Then he is followed by the hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Irish Party, who always makes an eloquent speech, in which he explains that, after all, it is not entirely the fault of the Government, but of the system; and, before you know where you are, you find yourself listening to an eloquent peroration about Home Rule! And then there is the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, of whom I make no complaint—because when I was in his place I did exactly the same, and when I am in his place again, unless my rules are adopted, I shall do exactly the same again—we all know that he grudgingly admits that the Government must have time, that after all the necessity is very disagreeable, and that if a little dexterity, a little more tact, a little more amiability on the part of the Leader of the House had been displayed, the painful necessity would never have arisen. Cannot we try to arrange our general programme more in accordance with what experience has shown to be necessary, not for this Government or that Government, but for all Governments; and then having laid it down, interfere with it as little as we possibly can? I need not say that the principle we have laid down is one incomparably less favourable to private Members than the existing one under the standing orders; but the existing one is never, and has never been, adhered to; and I do not think when I state what our proposals are that private Members will have much reason to complain.
Now, let me briefly give a diary of a Parliamentary day and a journal of a Parliamentary week under our new rules. We propose that every day, except the day of morning sitting, when private Members' Bills are taken shall consist of two sittings, and in addition to the obvious advantages of two sittings there is one which I feel bound to insist upon very strongly and which I do not think will occur to all members. At present it is hardly possible to do justice to those small Bills which are not matters of controversy between the two sides the House, which are not opposed, by on which, perhaps, one or two gentle- 1365 men have a legitimate desire to comment. They want some difficulties smoothed away, some statement of opinion they want to make, and therefore they naturally say, "We do not want much time, but some time you must give us." It is almost impossible under the present system to find that time; because, if you putdown the Bill at the beginning of public business on a Government night, it is talked on at great length, not by gentlemen who have any objection to the particular Bill but by gentlemen who have a great objection to the Bill immediately following. On the other hand, if you try to stop a controversial Bill, a Bill about which there is general excitement, say at 10 or 10.30, in order to bring on the small and uncontroversial Bill, the difficulties in your way are almost insuperable, and I do not think that any having experience of Government will deny it. Therefore, an evening sitting, which would not necessarily be a continuation of the afternoon sitting, but at which some entirely separate business may be taken, will be an enormous convenience, and the existence of this double set of rails will greatly facilitate useful legislation. In Supply, it will be an immense advantage. We propose, of course, that the day given to Supply shall consist of both an afternoon and an evening sitting; but it by no means follows that the first Vote to be taken at the evening sitting shall be a continuation of the Vote taken at the morning sitting; there will be an opportunity for discussing those smaller Votes which now very often are left wholly undiscussed, and vanish in the ruck at the end of the session.
Having thus described some of the advantages of the double sitting, let me give a time-table. The House under our plan will meet at 2 o'clock. Private business will be taken, as now, immediately after prayers; but we have arranged that non-controversial shall have precedence over controversial private business. At 25 minutes past 2 private business, if not concluded, will stand over till the evening sitting; so that, so far as private business is concerned, the scandal under which we have constantly suffered of 1366 having the whole of our public debate upset and brought into confusion by some controversy on a private Bill, will be rendered impossible. At 2.25 any member who desires to ask an urgent Question about the business of the House will be at liberty to do so, and, of course, the Leader of the House will be in his place to answer it. I do not imagine that these Questions, restricted as they are to questions of business—"What are you going to take next Monday, or what is to be the Supply on such and such a day?"—will take more time than five minutes; and, therefore, we may count that under this new system public business will begin at 2.30. Beginning at 2.30 it will go on without interruption until 7.15, when opposed business at the morning sitting comes to an end; and if there is not a division before 7.15, there can be no division after that hour, and therefore any member who desires to leave the House at 7.15 will be able to do so without any fear of missing a division. At 7.15 Questions come on, and may go on, if there are enough of them, till 8 o'clock. No other business is to be taken at the afternoon sitting after questions. Questions will be the last business at the morning sitting. The House will resume at nine o'clock; and, if there be private business carried over and put down for that day, that private business will come on. After that, public business will go on till 12 o'clock, and we do not interfere with the operation of the rule between 12 and 1. That is my first rough sketch of a Parliamentary day, which I shall have to fill in by further detail of what we mean to do about questions and a further account of what we mean to do about adjournments of the House.
In the meanwhile, let me leave my diary, and come to my journal. In each week before Easter there will be one whole day—under our plan, Thursday—given to Supply. By a whole day I mean an afternoon and an evening sitting. The other three afternoon sittings would be taken throughout the whole session for Government business. Before Easter the Government would, in addition, ask for one evening sitting. [An HON. MEMBER: In each week?] One evening sitting in the 1367 week, which would be Monday. After Easter the Government would ask for two evening sittings in each week, leaving one for private Members. After Whitsuntide they would take the time of the House, with the exception of two Wednesdays, which have for a long time now been devoted to Private Bills. In passing, let me say that an hon. friend of mine below the gangway has made a suggestion of what I think an extremely good change in procedure. At present the rule is that the two Wednesdays after the Whitsuntide holidays are taken for Private Bills. The result of the time being so taken immediately after Whitsuntide is that there is a great deal of anxiety to know when the Whitsuntide holidays are to end, and those controversies about the Government's taking Wednesdays, which are so intolerable, come on every year. I propose that the two Wednesdays that are given to private Members should be the third and fourth after Whitsunday. That must be beyond the limit of the Whitsuntide holidays. Therefore there can be no quarrel about it. The whole thing would work automatically, and there cannot be favouritism or the suspicion of favouritism.
I return to the journal the week:—Monday—afternoon sitting, Government; evening sitting, Government. Before Easter:—Tuesday—afternoon, Government; evening, private Members. Wednesday—afternoon, Government; evening, private Members. Thursday—afternoon and evening, Supply. Friday—private Members' Bills as at present on Wednesday.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes. It will be exactly the same as Wednesday; Wednesday is transferred, as it were, bodily to Friday. I believe that the Government ought to be content with that amount of time through the session, and that these private Members' nights—two before Easter and one between Easter 1368 and Whitsuntide—can be left with reasonable security from session to session and from year to year. I also feel that the alteration or the interchange between Wednesday and Friday will be a very great boon to a large class of Members who have business out of London. There will be private Members' Motions on the evening sittings that are left—Motions and Bills, but Motions will have precedence, to put it that way.
I promised that I would tell the House what course we intended to pursue with regard to adjournments. Our object is certainly—that Members shall know with absolute certainty that on such and such a day business begins at half-past 2; but if you leave the present rule about adjournments unaltered, that certainty vanishes like smoke. We have therefore made this alteration, and only this alteration, in the adjournment rule. Members may ask for an adjournment and obtain leave to move the adjournment exactly as they do now and at the same time as they do now, at half-past 2, just before public business; but if they obtain leave to move the adjournment they will have to do it at the evening sitting, at the beginning of public business. I think that has many advantages. It leaves the afternoon sitting absolutely untouched, and it enables some notice to be given to the House, and, it may be, even to the Minister concerned, of what is coming on. After all, a more irrational procedure than the present, which allows a complicated discussion to be started, in which the fate of the Government may be involved, without any notice whatever, either to the Minister concerned or to the House, is quite illogical.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
How will the right hon. Gentleman meet the question of adjournment on a question in consequence of an answer received?
§ MR. A, J. BALFOUR
I am afraid the hon. Member would have to move the adjournment next day or at the earliest opportunity. But Mr. Speaker could give a ruling upon that. Under he existing rule you may move the adjournment on a Monday for a thing 1369 that has happened on a Saturday. I suppose if there was no earlier opportunity it would be moved next day.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington N.)
Are only forty Members still required to give an hon. Member leave to move?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
There is no alteration proposed there. I may say that, in my opinion, the forty Member rule has been abused, but you cannot ask Mr. Speaker to count more than forty; he never has counted more than forty. [Laughter.] Perhaps I should say he has never been asked by our rules to count beyond forty. You would have to have a division; and that I think would not be convenient.
Then I should say a word about "counts" of the House at the evening sitting. It will be remembered that controversial private Bill business comes on at 9 o'clock. It will be hard on promoters if it is in the power of any hon. Member to call attention to the fact that forty Members are not present; and the plan we have suggested is that no "count" shall be allowed before ten o'clock, but if before ten o'clock there be a division in which less than forty Members are present, the House will at once proceed to the next business on the Paper, and that division will not be regarded as a decision of the House. I think that will be found a better rule than the Wednesday rule; it will be less wasteful of private time, and it will be more convenient for those concerned with private business.
Now I come to Questions. I think every one must admit with regard to Questions two or three propositions which I will venture to lay before the House. In the first place, that the number of Questions has for many years been excessive. In the second place, that a very large number of those Questions are not improper Questions to put, but they are really more of a parochial than of an Imperial character. They concern the interests of small localities rather than the general interests of the country at large. But while I lay down those two propositions, hostile to our present proposal, I would lay down a third, which is that we ought to be very careful how we curtail the liberty of putting Ques- 1370 tions. That liberty may be abused; in my judgment it has often been abused; but I think that the liberty itself is a very important one. It may sometimes have the effect of keeping an erring Government in order; in any case, it is quite right if an important local interest is touched that the truth should be elicited by a Question put to the responsible Minister, is possible. While eliciting information is a most legitimate object, I do not regard with any great favour on general grounds, though I rather like them myself, those Questions which are intended to be merely the foundation of the cross-examination of a Minister. They are lively and agreeable, especially if you think you have a good case, but I do not think it is a proper use to which to put the time of the House.
How do we propose to deal with the subject? Questions will begin at 7.15 and, as far as the afternoon sitting is concerned, they end at eight o'clock. We propose that only those Questions shall be asked orally and answered orally which the hon. Members asking them star on the Paper; hon. Members will have the right to star their questions, the other Questions will be answered on the Votes of the House. I venture to point out to hon. Members that that is really an advantage from their point of view over the existing system. At present there is no authoritative record of answers at all. The answers are sent up very often by the Ministers to the newspapers or a copy of them is given to Members. Any hon. Member who does not star his Question will have that authoritative answer printed and circulated with the Votes, and it will remain there on permanent record. Only one supplementary Question should be asked with regard to any Question of which notice has been given, and that supplementary Question should be asked for the purpose of obtaining a necessary explanation, and asked only by the original questioner—the Member, in other words, who has put his Question on the Paper. We are sanguine enough to believe that, if this system be adopted, the time which elapses between 7.15 and 8 o'clock will be as a rule ample sufficient to deal with the Questions which have to be orally answered. Questions 1371 which are not answered before 8 o'clock, and which are starred, will stand over and be answered at 12 o'clock, at the interruption of business.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
May I ask a question, which I am sure will interest the House? In these circumstances, will the Questions addressed to the First Lord of the Treasury always be last on the list?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Most Questions addressed to me, at least the most important, relate to the business of the House, and these will always be asked at the beginning of the afternoon sitting.
I have now only to mention what we propose to do about Supply. In the first place, we mean to make the Supply rule a Standing Order; in the second place, we mean to adopt it in the form to which it was finally brought in August last, with these three alterations. We think it would be convenient to put on the face of the. Standing Order, what has always been the intention, that the Vote on Account shall be a night's business, not more. I will not stop to argue why, but I think it desirable that the Report of the Vote on Account shall not be more than one of two Sittings into which the Parliamentary day is divided. What is more important yet, we propose to make it part of the rule that no opposed business should be taken on a Supply night before 12 o'clock, when Supply is concluded. We have in the past had all sorts of tangles by controversial business coming on unexpectedly: and we have had to put down a Government Bill after Supply in order that, if, by a fortunate accident, the Supply which had been put down should be concluded, some quite unexpected private Member's Bill should not come on. We lay down therefore, that no controversial business shall come on after Supply before 12 o'clock. A third change, which will commend itself to all private Members, is this—we say that each of the allotted days for Supply is always to end at 12 o'clock, whether it be Report or Committee of Supply, and whether the 12 o'clock rule shall be generally suspended or not. There can be no greater absurity than the course which we were driven to last year—namely the necessity of suspending the 1372 12 o'clock rule for general legislation, and then having to spend the time after 12 o'clock on Votes of Supply. We do not think it right that Members should be expected to go through the wearisome task of discussing Report of Supply each week after 12 o'clock. No discussions have been less profitable or have led to less good results, and none have been less satisfactory to those who engaged in them or more thoroughly unpleasant to those who listened to them. Nothing in the new rules will do more to add to the general comfort of Members than the fact that a Supply night is a night which, throughout the session, and irrespective of the chances and changes of the session, or whether Supply is being discussed in Committee or on Report, shall always end at 12 o'clock at night.
If the House will do me the honour to survey the proposals with regard to the new arrangements which I have laid before it, Members will see that they carry out the great objects, as regards the convenience and certainty, which I think are those which ought to animate us in regulating our procedure. If that be so, and if a further examination shows that these changes conduce, as much as I think they will, to the convenience of Members, I am sure hon. Gentlemen will not be so unreasonable as to suppose that they can have their cake and eat it also—that they can enjoy every privilege which they enjoyed under the old system and possess in addition all the advantages of the new system. I do not for a moment pretend that the scheme which I have laid before the House exhausts the possibilities of Parliamentary reform. On the contrary, I myself should like very much to see something done in regard to the King's Speech, with regard to private Bill legislation, and with regard to that aspect of Supply which consists in the discussion not of questions of policy but of details of expenditure. But we have no proposals to make on those points. I think it probable that the House would like to see some of them referred to a Select Committee for consideration; but at all events we have not been able sufficiently to persuade ourselves that we had a good scheme to propose which would justify 1373 us in dealing with these matters on the present occasion.
May I conclude, Sir, by deprecating criticism from two quarters. I hope that nobody will criticise that part of our scheme which his intended to meet the convenience of Members, who does not himself suffer from the inconvenience which Members who attend are now suffering from. I hope, for example, that no man will sneer at our arrangement for a dinner hour unless he can show to the satisfaction of the House that he has dined here at least once a week during his Parliamentary career. I hope, in the second place, that no man will meet us by saying that we are abandoning the old traditions of this House and throwing away safeguards which were once found necessary in our constitution. After all, Charles I. is not knocking at our door now, and our business now is not to fight with the Crown. The dangers that we have to fear are not the dangers which our ancestors had to fear; and the fact that we put our bows and arrows in a museum does not at all show that we are insensible of the real practical necessities of the age. Let us endeavour to face the facts of Parliamentary life as we find them. Let every man sitting on this side of the House contemplate these rules as if he were to-morrow going to sit on the other side of the House. And, per contra, let every Gentleman on the opposite side of the House remember that the time may come when he may sit on this side. [Cries from the Nationalist Benches, "We will never sit there."] I do not know whether my appeal has fallen short of hon. Members below the gangway; but at any rate it has its significance with regard to Gentlemen sitting in all other parts of the House. We do not pretend that this is a complete scheme or a final scheme; and we do not believe in finality in these matters. But we do believe that these reforms will add enormously to the convenience of the House, and shorten some unnecessary opportunities for debate; and that they will yet leave this House what it always has been and ought to be—not merely a machine for passing legislation, but a free arena in which questions interesting to the country may be freely discussed.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
On this Motion I rise to a point of order. My right hon. friend is about to move a Motion which stands in his name, and with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will read it:—
"That the consideration of the Rules of Procedure prososed by the Government whenever set down have precedence on every day except on Wednesday, and that the provisions of Standing Order 56 be extended to Tuesday and Friday." I submit that that Motion sins against the rules of the House, for it contains two distinct, separate and unconnected propositions. The first is that precedence should be given to the rules of procedure, and the second relates to an entirely different subject, and proposes to apply the rule now applying to Supply to two other days. Those are separate and distinct propositions, and I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that they are propositions which should be put separately, and we ought to have the opportunity of voting upon them separately.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
That is so, and the right hon. Gentleman should therefore move the two parts of the Resolution separately. The first part will cease to be operative as soon as the new rules have been disposed of; but the effect of the second part will endure for the whole session.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I shall, Mr. Speaker, of course at once obey your ruling and move the first part of the Resolution relating to the rules of procedure. I do not mean to justify this proposal, because the necessity for such a Motion is obvious. I will take the opportunity to make a suggestion with regard to next week. Hon. Members on both sides are properly anxious that a full opportunity should be given to what was called the Second Reading debate on the new rules. It will be admitted that the Government, if anxious, to meet them, have a right to say that the Second Reading debate shall end next week. Assuming that the debate were to end on the Friday, the day on which that debate could begin must 1375 depend on how many days were to be given to it. If only two days are necessary, the Government will put down the Order for Thursday, but if three days are required the Order must be put down for Tuesday. It will then be possible to start the discussion of the rules one by one on the Monday following.
§ (6.15.) Motion made and Resolution put "That the consideration of the Rules of Procedure proposed by the Government whenever set down have precedence on every day except on Wednesday."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour)
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 289; Noes, 98. (Division List No. 9.)1379
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Groves, James Grimble|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Guthrie, Walter Murray|
|Aird, Sir John||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hall, Edward Marshall|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Halsey, Thomas Frederick|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Craig Robert Hunter||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord G. (Mid|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cremer, William Randal||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.|
|Asher, Alexander||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Hrbt. Henry||Cross, Herb, Shepherd (Bolton.||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Crossley, Sir Savile||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Dalkeith, Earl of||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Harwood, George|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Denny, Colonel||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Dewar, T. R.(T'rH'mlets, S. Geo||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Dickson, Charles Scott||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. Hicks||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Helder, Augustus|
|Bell, Richard||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Bignold, Arthur||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Henderson, Alexander|
|Bigwood, James||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Hoare, Sir Samuel|
|Bond, Edward||Elliott, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Emmott, Alfred||Horner, Frederick William|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Evans, Sir Francis H. (M'dstone||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Fardell, Sir T. George||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil|
|Brassey, Albert||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Brigg, John||Fenwick, Charles||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (M'nc'r||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Brown, Alexander H (Shropsh)||Finch, George H.||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Fisher, William Hayes||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Bull, William James||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Forster, Henry William||Keswick, William|
|Butcher, John George||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Furness, Sir Christopher||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Caine, William Sproston||Galloway, William Johnson||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Caldwell, James||Garfit, William||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Gibbs, Hn. A.G.H.(City of Lon.||Lawson, John Grant|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbt. John||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Cavendish, R. F (N. Lancs.||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Leigh, Sir Joseph|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Leveson-Gower, Fredck. N.S.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gordon, Maj. Evans- (T. Hmlts||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham|
|Chamberlain Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Grant, Corrie||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Chapman, Edward||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lowe, Francis William|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Greene, Sir E. W. (B'ry S Ed'nds||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Lyttleton, Hon Alfred|
|Macartney, Rt. Hon. W. G. E.||Purvis, Robert||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Pym, C. Guy||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Randles, John S.||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Rankin, Sir James||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs||Ratcliff, R. F.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Rea, Russell||Tennant, Harold John|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Reid, James (Greenock)||Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Remnant, James Farquharson||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Rickett, J. Compton||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Maxwell, W.J.H. (Dumfries-sh||Ridley, Hn. M. W.(Stalybridge)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Mellor, Rt. Hon. John Wm.||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Ure, Alexander|
|Middlemore, John T.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H. (Shef'ld|
|Milvain, Thomas||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Mitchell, William||Round, James||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Welby, Lt.-Cl. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Welby, Sir Charles G.E. (Notts.|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Whiteley, H.(Ashton und. Lyne|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Ed. J.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Morton, Arthur H.A.(Deptford||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wilson, A Stanley (York, E.R.|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Smith, H. C. (N'th'mb. Tyneside||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (H'dersf'd.|
|Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Percy, Earl||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Soares, Ernest J.||Wylie, Alexander|
|Pirie, Duncan V.||Spencer, Rt. H. C. R. (Northants|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Sir William Walrond and Mr Anstruther.|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Ffrench, Peter||Murphy, John|
|Abraham, Wm. (Rhondda)||Field, William||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Newnes, Sir George|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Flynn, James Christopher||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Gilhooly, James||Norton, Captain Cecil William|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hammond, John||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Blake, Edward||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Boland, John||Hobhouse, C.E.H. (Bristol, E.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Boyle, James||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Burt, Thomas||Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Dowd, John|
|Cawley, Frederick||Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Malley, William|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||O'Mara James|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lambert, George||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lewis, John Herbert||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Crean, Eugene||Lloyd-George, David||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Crombie, John William||Lundon, W.||Price, Robert John|
|Cullinan, J;||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Reddy, M.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||M'Cann, James||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Delany, William||M'Govern, T.||Roche, John|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Dillon, John||M'Kenna, Reginald||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shaw Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Edwards, Frank||Mooney, John J.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Murnaghan, George||Sullivan, Donal|
|Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan||Yoxall, James Henry||Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan|
|Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
Question put and agreed to.