HC Deb 01 May 1902 vol 107 cc455-8
MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in the event of the Rules of Procedure being passed at this day's sitting, making Friday this week a private Members' day, he will move the necessary Motions for devoting that Friday to Supply.


I beg at the same time to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, having regard to the importance of discussing the Rules of Procedure at a reasonable hour, he will, rather than lengthen the sitting after twelve o'clock, continue the discussion of the Rules on Friday, instead of engaging the House on the Second Reading of the Bill regulating the Sale of Ice Creams in Scotland, which has precedence on that day.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that Question, may I ask whether, if the block of Rules which the right hon. Gentleman has expressed his desire to see passed this week is not concluded at twelve o'clock tonight, he will allow them to be continued tomorrow in order that they may be brought to a conclusion by the dinner hour on that day? Perhaps, by the permission of the House, I may venture to say that I have every confidence that, if the arrangement which I suggest is made, that block of Rules, including the proposed Resolution transferring notices from Tuesday to Wednesday and Wednesday to Friday, may be, and will be, disposed of by the dinner hour tomorrow.


If I understand the right hon. Gentleman, he proposes one of those contracts which are always kept in this House, and which, I think, would be for the convenience of the House in the shape in which he proposes it. It is that the block of Rules which I have always said ought to be passed in the course of this week should be finished by dinner time tomorrow. If that be the understanding, I shall be glad, as far as I am concerned, to agree to it.

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

Perhaps I may be allowed to say one word. I am afraid my position in reference to this matter has been somewhat misunderstood. The other night I was unable, on behalf of my hon. friends around me, to give the pledge asked for that the block of Rules should be finished at this sitting. But I think the suggestion of the right hon. Member for South Aberdeen is a reasonable one, and, if the Government will abstain from moving the suspension of the Twelve o'clock Rule tonight, there will be no difficulty in finishing this block of Rules at an early hour tomorrow afternoon. As far as my hon friends are concerned, we should certainly, on the condition I have named, agree to the suggestion from the Front Opposition Bench.


Has the Leader of the House had any consultation on this question with independent Members on his own side who have taken so deep an interest in the new Rules?


May I ask, supposing the arrangement were carried into effect, what business the right hon. Gentleman proposes to take after dinner tomorrow?


I should imagine, Sir, that the House would feel that it had done its duty for the day, and would not be very much disposed to enter on other business. As regards the Question of the right hon. Baronet, it is true that I have not consulted the one or two hon. Gentlemen on this side who have taken a particular interest in these discussions; but I cannot believe that they would set themselves against an arrangement which was evidently agreeable to the great bulk of the House on both sides.


Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman will not move the suspension of the Twelve o'clock Rule?


In the cir cumstances I do not propose to move the suspension Rule.

MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

There is down for tomorrow a Motion in which I take a deep interest, shared by a great number of hon. Members on my own side of the House. It is to be taken at the commencement of private business tomorrow afternoon, and I have given an undertaking to proceed with it, if possible, tomorrow. Since the announcement just made, I have had, of course, no opportunity of consulting my friends, and I am in a position of some difficulty, because I understand that when the new Rules have been passed I shall no longer be in a position to bring this on, as I am under the old Rule. I am very reluctant indeed to stand in the way of the House, in regard to the proposed arrangement for tomorrow, by moving, as I undoubtedly have the right to do, this Motion at the commencement of private business; but if the right hon. Gentleman will give me the smallest assurance that I shall on another occasion have an opportunity of proceeding with this question, then without hesitation I will agree to the course proposed.


As I understand it the matter referred to by my right hon. friend is one affecting private business. It does not relate to any particular Bill, but only to the general Rule under which private business is done. I take it that if it is in order at the beginning of the afternoon sitting, it will be in order at nine o'clock under the new Rules, and therefore I do not think my right hon. friend's chance of having a debate on it is in any way injured.


If that is so, I shall not stand in the way of the proposed arrangement for a moment.


Are we to understand that only the block of Rules is to be completed to-morrow?


Yes, but of course we must make the necessary Motion for the transfer of Friday's business.