HC Deb 16 May 1905 vol 146 cc498-500

I wish to ask a Question as to the order of business. The first order of the day—the appointment of the Committee on the Telephone Agreement—was announced last night, and considerable objection was taken to it. I hope it may be postponed. Will the right hon. Gentleman at the same time indicate the general arrangements for next week?


As to the Telephone Agreement Committee I shall be glad to meet the wishes of the right hon. Gentleman as far as possible, although time is rather of the essence of the matter. There is a general wish on both sides that the Committee shall report, and that before the end of the session the Government shall be in a position to find a day for the discussion of the Report. I shall be prepared to postpone the Motion for the appointment of the Committee until Monday next, and I hope that the debate will not assume undue proportions, but that the House will assist the Government to carry through the appointment of the Committee, which has been nominated in Reference to the general wish of the House. To-morrow Committee on the Agricultural Rates Bill will be resumed. On Thursday Votes 10 and 12 of the Navy Estimates will be put down first, and the remaining Votes afterwards, except Vote 8, which it is usual to leave till later in the season. On Monday the appointment of the Telephone Committee will come first, and then the Committee on the Budget Bill.

MR. ARTHUR STANLEY (Lancashire, Ormskirk)

Can the Local Government Board Vote be taken at an early date, in order that questions relating to the driving of motors may be discussed.


May I also ask whether, when that Vote is taken, the First Lord will see that the whole time is not monopolised by the discussion on motors, in order that there may be some discussion of the Order relating to the feeding of school children.


Perhaps in the arrangement of Supply next week the Government will take into account the fact that Irish Supply has not been discussed at all this session. I hope the First Lord will in this matter consult the convenience of the Irish Members.

MR. THEODORE TAYLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)

Has the right hon. Gentleman any information as to the rumoured seizure of a port in China by Germany?


I confess that this mixture of Questions is rather perplexing. As to the Local Government Board Vote, I think there are reasons for believing that the House would like a discussion at an early period, and, though I cannot give a pledge, I suggest that it may be convenient to allot Thursday week for this Vote. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil asks whether the whole day is to be monopolised by the discussion of motors, and whether room cannot be found for a discussion—not the first discussion, though a discussion of a very important point—dealing with the feeding of school children. It does not rest with me to decide as to the order of topics on a Vote. The only control the Government have over the order of topics is that of moving the closure when they think a topic has been sufficiently discussed, but that is not a very satisfactory way of dealing with the order of business. Another hon. Member asks me a Question in regard to a rumour of some German action in China. I have heard the rumour, but I neither have nor can give any information on that subject. In reply to the Question of the hon. Member for Waterford, I have to ask him to communicate with my right hon. friend near me through the usual channels.


I hope the right hon. Gentleman will bear this in mind before definitely fixing the Supply next week, as there are several matters connected with the government of Ireland which we are most anxious to discuss.

MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)

I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether he will help the people who are endeavouring, during the summer months, to make some provision to deal with the unemployed during the winter? Will he press forward his Bill? That is the most important Question addressed to him to-day.


Notice must be given of it.