§ MR. MALCOLM () Suffolk, Stowmarket
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will consider the advisability of taking steps to abridge the proceedings upon the Education Bill, consequent upon the acceptance of the Closure Resolutions by the House, by limiting (on occasions when closure by compartments is about to operate) the Questions to be put to two, viz., that the Amendments put from the Chair be accepted; and that all Clauses, after Amendment or otherwise, stand part of the Bill.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
In answer to my hon. friend, I have to say no doubt the procedure he suggests would have much to recommend it from the point of view of convenience, but I think the House would probably resent being deprived of the opportunity of expressing their opinion upon the particular questions that come before them. I may say I hope the House will feel that it is not necessary to make any modification in the Rules in this direction; and I do not think it will be necessary if the precedent set at the time of the Home Rule Bill, and the precedent set on the last evening on which there was Closure of this Bill, 30 be followed, as I trust they may be. I remember that, in regard to the Home Rule Bill, the number of divisions that was taken was always considerably less than the actual number of Questions put from the Chair, and it was made more or less a matter of arrangement as to what divisions should be taken, in order that the Opposition—who at that time were the Gentlemen now on this side of the House—might express their objection to particular proposals contained in that measure. I think that is certainly far more convenient than the course that was adopted of dividing against every Motion, whether it was important or unimportant, or whether it embodied a question on which the Opposition agreed with the Government, or whether it dealt with a question on which the Opposition were divided from the Government. I am convinced that the general good sense of the House will be able to solve this question satisfactorily.
§ MR. MALCOLM
Does the right hon. Gentleman see any chance of the precedent of 1893 being copied in 1902?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I hope, after what occurred on the day before yesterday, there will be no difficulty.