HC Deb 26 March 1907 vol 171 cc1673-5

inquired if it would be possible for the House to meet at noon on Wednesday instead of a quarter before Three o'clock.


asked what business would be taken immediately after the holidays?


said that, if he found it practicable and there was any general desire in that direction, he would propose that the House should meet at noon to-morrow. As it was necessary to secure the approval of the House before 7th April to the Liverpool and Hong-kong mail contracts, a Motion for the purpose would be the first Order of the day to-morrow, to be followed by the Motion for Adjournment. There would be no other Government business. On the reassembling of the House on Monday, 8th April, Supply, the Office of Works Vote, would be proposed for discussion; on Tuesday the Second Reading of the Army Bill, the debate to be continued, if necessary, on Wednesday; on Thursday (11th) the debate on procedure rules would be continued, if necessary.


asked if there would be any business the next day beyond the Motion for Adjournment.


It is necessary to secure approval of the Liverpool and Hong Kong mail contract before 7th April, and therefore that will be the first Order on the Paper. It is not expected to lead to any prolonged discussion.

Mr. HAROLD COX (Preston)

asked the ruling of Mr. Speaker on a question general in character but having special reference to the action of the Patronage Secretary in regard to the Liverpool and Hong-Kong mail contract. A Motion to approve that contract had been on the Paper for several days, and he, wishing to put before the House grave considerations in relation to the subject, had made repeated inquiries of the Whips and of the Clerk as to when the Motion would be taken, but without getting any definite assurance. The Patronage Secretary was aware of his intention, and it was with much surprise he had heard that immediately before the rising of the House on the previous night an attempt had been made to smuggle the Motion through. He would ask what means Members had of ascertaining before the beginning of each day's sitting what business would be taken during the sitting.


said the question had had a long preamble, with which of course he had nothing to do. As to the question itself, he had to say that the fact of the notice appearing on the Order Paper was an intimation to the House that the Government intended to take the Motion if they could, and if any Member was interested, it was his duty to be present when the Motion was called. Of course, it was always open to a Member to ascertain privately the Government's intention.

THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. George Whiteley,) Yorkshire, W.R., Pudsey

said he was not aware that the hon Member had a serious desire to raise a discussion on the contract, though there had been jocular allusions to the subject. The Motion had been put down in the usual way for the end of business and would have been taken in the usual way if it had not been blocked. The hon. Member knew perfectly well it was the intention of the Government to take it whenever they could.


Is it not possible, when the Government intend to take a Bill at a given sitting, for it to be signified in a special manner?


The Motion appeared in the proper place and had no objection been taken it would have gone through in the ordinary way.

In reply to Sir A. Acland-Hood (Somerset, Wellington),


said the salary of the First Commissioner of Works would be reserved as a target for observations at a later period of the session, and would not be voted on the Thursday after the holidays.

Forward to