§ Mr. SIMON—Licensing Consolidation.—Bill to consolidate the Law relating to justices' licences for the sale by retail of in toxicating liquor—presented and read the first time. (To be read a second time upon Tuesday, 15th March.)
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Gulland.]
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
This Motion shows that the statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at an early period of the afternoon's proceedings was quite unfounded. The statement was to the effect that we have no time for the House to deal with the Income Tax Resolutions. This Motion, made at this hour of the evening, shows that there is more than enough time to carry them, to regularise the collection of Income Tax, to prevent inconvenience to the public, and to do away with the mischief which must arise from the delay in getting in the Income Tax. It shows that that excuse is put forward solely as a party manoeuvre. It is a discreditable incident of party life, and the truth is that revenue is being sacrificed, not through lack of time, but merely in order that the mechanism of the rat-trap may work.
§ The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. McKenna)
I think the words "party manoeuvre," if applicable at all, can only be properly applied to the speech of the Noble Lord, who, although not recently a Member of this House, was in former years perfectly well acquainted with the usual practice of the House, and nobody knows better than the Noble Lord that if contentious business is placed on the Paper—[Lord HUGH CECIL: "The Income Tax Resolutions would not be contentious."] The Noble Lord is not the Leader of the Opposition. I repeat that nobody knows better than he does that when contentious business is placed on the Paper every opportunity is taken to delay the business which precedes it. I very well remember the Noble Lord himself occupying days of Parliamentary time in order to prevent the House reaching business which was lower down on the Order Paper. If, after that experience, the Noble Lord wishes it to go forth to the world that because they have no contentious business on the Paper, and because the Committee has been able to get through the financial work on the Paper fairly expeditiously, the same result 817 would have happened if such a contentious measure as the Budget had also been placed on the Order Paper, I must say I do not think that either the Members of this House or the public outside are to be caught by the Noble Lord's chaff.
§ Mr. H. W. FORSTER
I have no right to speak as Leader of the party to which the Noble Lord belongs, but I think the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House would have spoken with greater justification if the Government had made any effort to pass the Resolutions dealing with Income Tax, instead of postponing them to a day in the dim and distant future. The right hon. Gentleman says the Noble Lord knows perfectly well that if contentious business were put down the Supplementary Estimates would not have been allowed to go through so quickly. Perhaps the Government will try; perhaps the Government will give this wicked Opposition an opportunity of showing whether it is really so public-spirited as it claims to be; perhaps the Government will put down the Income Tax Resolutions for Thursday next, and try their luck.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Adjourned at a Quarter before Eight o'clock.