HC Deb 05 November 1909 vol 12 cc2155-79

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith) moved: "That this House at its rising this day, do adjourn until Tuesday, 23rd November."


I hope that the House will forgive me for intervening for a few minutes for the purpose of making an earnest appeal to the Prime Minister as to whether he does not think he can somewhat revise the present programme for the use of the remaining time to be available when the House reassembles. What I want specially to appeal to the Prime Minister on is whether he will consider even now the possibility of giving to the House an opportunity of considering the reports of the Public Accounts Committee. I understand, in view of the possibility that we are on the eve of a crisis, that it is the paramount and sole authority on national finance, and I would ask the Prime Minister to give the House an opportunity of showing not only that it is competent, but that it is anxious to deal with the expenditure of the vast sum of money which this House deals with every year. I cannot help remembering that the way in which the Estimates are rushed through this House prevents any intelligent consideration of them. And as in this House something like £50,000,000 of public money was voted this current year without the examination of a single item by the House, I am sure that the Prime Minister must recognise that if there be yet one opportunity possible for us to examine the national expenditure that opportunity should not be denied us. I respectfully throw out the suggestion to the Prime Minister that in order to provide this opportunity surely the Scottish Temperance Bill might very well stand over I think we have had enough temperance legislation discussion in this Parliament. If with all the restrictive legislation which Scotland to-day enjoys she cannot be made sober, then I think we had better leave the process to the laws of natural evolution for, at any rate, this Session. I do hope that the Prime Minister will give us this opportunity. Some of us on our side, rightly or wrongly, have not been enthusiastic about some of the Budget proposals, but we have been extremely loyal to the Government. We have convinced ourselves that it was our duty to vote for the Budget by a process of reasoning which, perhaps, would not stand a strict examination according to the principles of logic. But we have been desirous of not embarassing the Government. We voted loyally for the Budget. One opportunity is yet left to this Parliament of revising the expenditure of the enormous sums which have been voted on the report of the Public Accounts Committee. I do ask the Prime Minister, and I do not use the phrase offensively, to let us drop tub thumping for a moment and come to business.

  1. UNEMPLOYMENT. 9,692 words
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