HC Deb 03 December 1908 vol 197 cc1707-9
MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)

I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make in regard to the course of business in the immediate future?


First of all, with regard to the business of to-day, I have a very important statement to make to the House, which is that the Government do not intend to proceed to-day with the Committee stage of the Education Bill. I need not give any special reasons for that, except to say that as we are now approaching, or should approach in accordance with the allocation of time, under the Closure Order, the consideration of Clause 3, which is the clause dealing with contracting-out, we feel that in the existing conditions, and until some settlement has been, as I hope it may be, arrived at, it might be a waste of Parliamentary time, and perhaps I may add that it might lead to the interposition of unnecessary difficulties in the way of approaching a settlement, if we were now, at this moment, to take up the discussion of that particular part of the Bill. I shall therefore propose, when the Order comes on, to postpone it until to-morrow. To-day we shall take the Poisons and Pharmacy Bill—which is the sixth of the Orders of the day—the White Phosphorous Matches Prohibition Bill, and other Bills which stand later on the Paper. Tomorrow and Saturday we shall go on with the consideration of the Education Bill in Committee and also on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday I propose to move the suspension of the eleven o'clock rule for the remainder of the session and to make a statement in regard to public business. That will be followed by a Motion to allocate the time for the Report stage of the Education Bill, and after that the first Order will be the Report stage of the Port of London Bill.


asked when it was intended to take the Second Reading stage of the Irish Land Bill.


I cannot at present fix a date, but I hope to be able to take it before the session ends.


asked whether it was possible for them to go on with any other business on an allotted day for the Education Bill. There was certain business to be disposed of, and that being withdrawn, he should like Mr. Speaker's ruling as to whether that withdrawal came under the case of disposal of the business contemplated by the last two clauses of the Guillotine Order.


The business might be postponed, but that does not mean that it is disposed of. If the first Order is not proceeded with it does not count as an allotted day, and in that case the House can go through the Orders of the day.


Is this not an allotted day since the Education Bill is put down as the first Order?

MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)

asked whether, by the terms of the Closure Resolution, an allotted day was not defined to be a day upon which this Bill was put down as the first Order.


If the hon. Member will look at the Closure Resolution he will see that it says: "Nothing in this Order shall prevent any business which under this Order is to be concluded on allotted days, being proceeded with on any other days."

MR. VIVIAN (Birkenhead)

May I ask whether, in allotting time for future business, the right hon. Gentleman, the Prime Minister will bear in mind the almost universal desire of this House to see the Housing Bill passed this session?


I will bear that in mind.


asked if it was not highly probable that the Education Bill would be dropped.

[No Answer was returned.]