§ MR. LOUGH
I beg to ask the Postmaster—General when he expects tie Report from the Committee to which the Telephone Purchase Agreement was referred to be presented; 596 what day the Government have fixed, in accordance with his promise, for its discussion; and whether the agreement can become operative without the approval of Parliament.
§ MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)
I beg also to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he can now fix a day for the discussion of the Report of the Select Committee on the Telephone Agreement between the Potmaster—General and the National Telephone Company.
§ THE POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Lord STANLEY, Lancashire, Westhoughton)
I cannot say exactly when the Report will be received, but I am given to understand that it may be expected very shortly. The agreement could become operative without the approval of Parliament, but there is no intention whatever to go back from the pledge I have given that the matter shall be considered in the House and by the House. My right hon. friend the First Lord of the Treasury authorises me to say that he will undertake, before the end of the session, that time shall be given for such a discussion.
§ LORD STANLEY
No, Sir, it cannot be postponed. There was no question of a day. The promise made was that an opportunity should be given for discussion, and that will be given.
§ LORD STANLEY
I will ask my right hon. friend to bring it on as early 597 as is consistent with the demands of other business.
§ MR. JOHN ELLIS
asked the First Lord of the Treasury whether an opportunity for the consideration of the Report would be given at some sitting before midnight.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
said he could not promise that the Report should not be taken after twelve o'clock; but he was most desirous of taking it at a, more convenient hour if the state of business allowed him to do so.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
If it is brought on after midnight, I shall oppose it by all the means in my power.