HC Deb 01 April 1912 vol 36 cc869-70

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he is aware that the whole operation of the Education Acts Amendment Bill depends upon the decision of the Government with regard to the financial Clauses of that measure; whether he can now indicate what is the decision of the Government upon these points; or whether he will fix an early date when that decision shall be intimated to the House; and (2) whether he is aware that the Education Acts Amendment Bill, now remitted to Standing Committee A, embodies provisions not dissimilar from those previously contained in Government measures; and whether, under these circumstances, he will consent to treat the Bill in question as of sufficient importance to warrant an official report of the proceedings in Standing Committee A (whilst the Education Acts Amendment Bill is under discussion) being published and circulated to those Members of this House who, not being members of Standing Committee A, may nevertheless desire to have the fullest information before discussing the Report and Third Reading stages of the said Bill in this House?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)

I am requested by the Prime Minister to reply to these questions. During the progress of the Bill in Grand Committee the Government reserve to themselves a free hand in regard to the finance of a measure for which they are not responsible, It is quite impossible for the Government to saw what their attitude will be until they see in what shape the Bill leaves the Committee. Any additional expenditure caused by the operation of the Bill could be met either by an increase of the Exchequer contribution or, as the hon. Member is aware, the Bill could be recommitted after the passing of a Finance Resolution in Committee of Ways and Means. The Prime Minister asks me to say that he does not think there is sufficient reason for publishing and circulating an official report of the proceedings of this Committee.


Am I to understand from the answer that the Government is not going to take up this Bill, when it emerges from Committe, as a Government Bill, and, if so, would it not then be a question whether a Bill, so controversial as this is, ought to be remitted to a Standing Commitee at all?


I explained on the Second Reading of the Bill that until the Bill came down from Grand Committee the Government were not prepared to indicate what their attitude may be.