§ Resolution reported, "That it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys provided by Parliament, of the salaries and remuneration of officers and servants appointed under any Act of the present Session to provide for the establishment of Labour Exchanges and for other purposes incidental thereto and of any expenses incurred by the Board of Trade in pursuance of such Act."
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."1170
I rise to object. I wish to appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade not to press this Resolution to-night. In Committee on the Resolution some of us were able to put forward our views with regard to the extraordinary expense that we feel may be incurred in connection with this matter, and we pressed the President of the Board of Trade, who was present on that occasion, to make some statement with regard to the moneys to be expended. Now, after discussing the Finance Bill till half-past one, we are asked suddenly to go into this matter again without our being able to visit the library and refresh our memories as to what was said by the President of the Board of Trade on the former occasion. The whole arrangement appears to me to be somewhat surprising, because, for anything we know, other Bills and Motions which stand on the Order Paper might have been taken just as well as this particular Resolution. It cannot be expected that, after giving close attention to the Finance Bill, we should be prepared, practically at a moment's notice, to discuss with the attention it deserves any business which the Patronage Secretary may choose to select to be taken at this hour of the night. I therefore move, is an Amendment, to add after the Resolution "not exceeding the sum of £210,000 in any one year."
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Emmott)
That cannot be moved. I put the Question "That the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Mr. CLAUDE HAY
I appeal to the hon. Gentleman who represents the Board of Trade, not to take this very important matter at this time of the night. The House has been sitting in Committee since early yesterday afternoon discussing the Finance Bill, and for the Government to ask us now to go into a question involving ultimately £2,000,000 of expenditure and the interests of large numbers of the working classes is, I venture to say, not only trifling with the House of Commons, but with the interests of the wage-earners, whose welfare is supposed to be bound up with this Resolution. The Secretary to the Board of Trade shows by the fact that he has not risen in response to the remarks of my hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Craig), that he thinks this stage of the Resolution is nothing more than a formality. In that view I beg to differ from him. I do not think it is fair to expect any Member of this House to discuss this 1171 matter now and do his duty to his constituents. It is all very well for hon. Members below the Gangway to act as though in connection with anything concerning the working classes that comes before this House, their interests are best protected by interrupting speakers who believe that such matters should be discussed by proper daylight and working hours. Therefore I earnestly hope that the hon. Gentlemen will see fit to listen to the appeal which has been made from these benches, and defer this matter until a time when it can be fully discussed.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. H. J. Tennant)
I am sorry I cannot see my way to accede to the appeal, because I should naturally wish to meet the wishes of hon. Gentlemen in every possible way. We did not press the matter yesterday and I do think we ought to be allowed to proceed now. The hon. Gentleman says we are trifling with the interests of the working classes in this matter. Just the reverse is, of course, really the case. If the hon. Gentleman really knew the facts of the case, he would realise that it is important we should have this stage, which is really only formal, taken now.