§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Proceedings on the Reports of the Committee of Ways and Means, and Committees authorising the expenditure of Public Money other than the Committee of Supply may be entered upon at any hour after midnight, though opposed, and shall not be interrupted under the provisions of the Standing Order Sittings of the House."—(Mr. Secretary Alters Douglas.)
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said it might be thought by some that the position of that Motion under the heading "At the Commencement of Public Business" brought it within the ten minutes rule, but that was not so. This was a proposal for a new Sessional Order, true it was in the same terms as one passed last year; but still it was open to very serious objection. Under the present Rules opposed business stopped at midnight, and the Sittings had to be suspended at I a.m., but to those Rules there were exceptions, including Bills originating in Ways and Means Proceedings in pursuance of Act of Parliament, Proceedings relating to Standing Orders, and those exempted by specific Motion made at the commencement of public business. He thought the exceptions were sufficiently numerous, but this proposed Sessional Order went far beyond them all, for it not only provided that business under consideration at one o'clock might be continued, but that certain business even if not reached by one o'clock might be taken after that hour. He was strongly in favour of adhering to the Twelve o'Clock Rule, and though if good reasons could be shown for it he would not oppose this Motion, 739 he did ask for some explanation which it was made.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
supported the contention of the hon. Member. He reminded the House how the taking of the Supply after twelve o'clock in former years led to great scandals and to the voting of enormous sums of money without discussion, as well as to remarkable scenes in the House. Everybody must agree that it was desirable all financial business should be taken before midnight, and he hoped the hon. Member therefore would press his opposition to a division.
§ SIR A. ACLAND-HOOD (Somersetshire, Wellington)
said that he had put the Motion down in exactly the same terms as those in which it was put down last session. It was to enable certain Bills founded on Resolutions in Committee of Ways and Means to be brought in without undue delay. However, in the absence of the Leader of the House, he would not press the Motion, and would postpone it.
§ SIR A. ACLAND-HOOD
I showed the Motion to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Leeds last night and he raised no objection to its being put down.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. PRETYMAN,) Suffolk, Woodbridge
Then I will move the Adjournment of the debate.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Pretyman.)
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
said the business for which this Order was asked was really far more important than the business usually covered by such a Motion. He hoped that before the Government put the Motion down again they would seriously consider the necessity of taking the Bills named before twelve o'clock. The Resolution would be strongly opposed.
§ * THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. AKERS-DOUGLAS,) Kent, St. Augustine's
promised to consider the point. He repeated that the Motion had been put down with the general concurrence of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. He hoped the debate would be adjourned.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he could see no reason for adjournment. The House was quite ready to come to a decision. It would answer the purpose to withdraw the Motion; otherwise he would press his opposition to a division.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and negatived.