HC Deb 05 November 1909 vol 12 cc2179-241

On a point of Order, Sir. I wish to ask your ruling in reference to the notice which appears on the Paper in the name of the Prime Minister to the effect that the Lords Amendments to the Irish Land Bill should be put as a whole. Under the precedent of 1906 on the Education Bill, I think we are entitled to an assurance from the Chair that the course of procedure which is now being followed by the Government as regards the precedent which they set then for the first time is not going in any way to abridge the rights of Members. If you remember in September, 1906, as you will see from the Parliamentary Debates, the first Motion made by the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Chief Secretary, but was then the Minister for Education, was, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered," and that Motion was carried, and the Lords Amendments were then read a second time. Then the next day the Government made a similar Motion to that before the House, that the Lords Amendments be considered en bloc, and then this House, the Lords Amendments having been read a second time, proceeded to make exceptions to that Motion, excepting particular Amendments in which they were interested. What I want to ask you, Sir, is this. Whatever be the reason for a different course being adopted by the Government in putting down first the Motion before the House, and then putting down afterwards "That the. Lords Amendments be now considered," are the rights of Members in any way abridged by the course which the Government have taken, and will any precedent be established of a different kind, substance, and nature from the precedent of 1906, which then was one entirely new to the procedure of this House?


The hon. Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) is quite correct, not only in the history which he has given of this matter but also in his statement that this is a novel form of procedure. The precedent which he quotes of 1906 was itself a novel form of procedure. There, as he pointed out, the first question that was taken was, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered." That was disposed of on the first day, and on the second day a Motion similar to that which is now standing on the Paper, which, for shortness, I will call the guillotine Motion, was introduced. On this occasion the guillotine Motion comes first, and, when that has been disposed of, I shall have to put the question, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered." Of course, whenever we introduce any novel procedure into this House, it is my duty to examine and see if the privileges of Members are thereby infringed, and, if that is so, I think it is my duty to make the best protest that I can against such infringement. I have, from that point of view, considered this matter, and I do not see that Members' liberties are affected substantially, or even in any degree. The two Motions will equally have to be debated, and may be amended. It is true that on this occasion what I call the guillotine Motion is put first and the other Motion second, but they are both open to be discussed, they are both open to Amendment, and, therefore, the liberties of private Members in regard to these two Motions are still preserved. The only difference is the difference in time.


Thank you, Sir.

  1. LORDS AMENDMENTS. 27,093 words, 2 divisions