HC Deb 27 May 1908 vol 189 cc1118-20
MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON) Durham, Barnard Castle)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on behalf of the Prime Minister, a question of which he had given private notice—namely, whether, in view of the fact that the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone had on the Order Paper a Motion that would prevent the hon. Member for East Leeds carrying out the suggestion of Mr. Speaker of raising the question of the Royal visit to Russia on the Motion for the Whitsuntide Adjournment, he would agree to take the Foreign Office Vote on Thursday week.


The Government, of course, very much regret that a notice of that kind should be placed on the Order Paper, and, unless the noble Lord sees his way to withdraw it, my hon. friend may depend upon it that some opportunity will be found enabling the matter to be discussed, probably to-morrow week. It may be that the Foreign Office Vote will be put down just for a short time to enable a discussion to be raised.

LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

I do not know whether the House will allow me to say a few words [MINISTERIAL and LABOUR Cries of "No" and "Withdraw."] I am entirely in the hands of the House. If the House will allow me, what I wish to say is that I have no desire to stand in the way of the hon. Member's raising a discussion on this question. It is a question of great importance, no doubt, and, though I do not take the same view as the hon. Member, eminently fitted for discussion in this House. I only put the notice on the Paper—I say it quite frankly—in order to call attention to the continued neglect of the Government to provide against the abuse of this rule, and I venture to hope that the Government will now see how very inconvenient it is that this rule should be continuously departed from.


asked the Speaker whether, seeing that it was only within the last three years that this rule had been extended so as to apply to Motions for adjournment over Easter and Whitsuntide, it would not be within his jurisdiction and discretion, yielding to the sense of the House, to confine its application to those Motions to which it was first applied.


Whatever the practice may have been originally, I take it that during the last few years the "blocking" Motion has been made effective upon Motions for adjournment over the holidays. I must refer the hon. Member to the Report of the Committee which sat on the subject last year.


I would remind the noble Lord that the Government have placed on the Order Paper a Motion dealing with this question, and that it has been blocked from his own side of the House.


And you have never given the House the slightest opportunity of discussing it.


The late Prime Minister indicated that it was a Motion he was quite prepared to place on the Paper if it were adopted unanimously by the House. His Government understood that there was a unanimous feeling on both sides of the House, and I should have thought that this "blocking" Motion might have been withdrawn. Then this kind of experience would not have been repeated.


I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will consult with the Prime Minister as to the desirability of putting this Motion down on some date as first order, on the understanding that, unless it is adopted within a short period of time, the debate would be adjourned.


I will convey that suggestion to the Prime Minister.