§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR formally moved, "That the Committee of Ways and Means lie not interrupted this evening under the Standing Order (Sittings of the House), and may be entered upon at any hour though opposed."
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said that the second part of the Motion brought it within the ordinary Rules of the House and enabled it to be debated. He was aware that the time at the disposal of the Government was short, and that very necessary things required to be done. He did not, therefore, propose to argue against the Resolution. But he did desire to remind the House that the privilege which it had enjoyed for centuries of moving Amendments to the Motion that the Speaker leave the chair on going into Committee of Ways and Means had been withdrawn this year. He rose now merely to assert the right of the House to debate a Motion of this kind.
§ MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)
agreed that when the House for the first time entered on a Motion of this kind since the remodelling of the Standing Order's, it was desirable that the occasion should not pass without remark. He regretted that the Prime Minister had not vouchsafed to the House some reason for making the Motion. The right hon. Gentleman was getting too much into the habit of making these Motions as if they were a matter of course, and he trusted that in future when the exigencies of the public service rendered such a Motion necessary, a few words of explanation would be given them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am extremely flattered by the anxiety of the hon. Member to hear my oratory—I should have thought it is displayed sufficiently often to the House. The reason I did not explain the Motion is that it does not require explanation. We cannot finish our financial business for the year unless we introduce the Consolidated Fund Bill on Monday, and we cannot do that unless we get through the Ways and Means Committee Stage to-night, otherwise we shall have to interfere with the private Members' privileges on Friday.
Ordered, That the Committee of Ways and Means be not interrupted this evening under the Standing Order (Sittings of the House), and may be entered upon at any hour though opposed.—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)