§ Mr. REMNANT
May I appeal to the hon. Gentleman who represents the Government on this occasion not to stop the passage of the next Bill on the Order Paper, the Police (Weekly Rest-Day) (Scotland) Bill, which cannot in any case take up the time of the House for more than a very few moments. The Bill has already been before the House for over two years. It is in no sense a party measure or a controversial measure. It is agreed on both sides not to be treated as a party measure at all. It is a Bill which is thoroughly understood by every Member of the House, and I ask him not to move the Adjournment until it has been given a Second Reading. The Committee stage is a sufficient guarantee that any possible objection which can be brought forward will be threshed out. I should like to direct the attention of the House to the fact that at the time I brought in the Bill dealing with England and Wales, Scotland was included, but by arrangement with the then Home Secretary it was agreed that Scotland should be left out, and that a Bill dealing with Scotland should be brought forward and sent up to the Scottish Committee, which was considered to be better able to deal with it than a Committee which was dealing with the Bill for England and Wales. The arrangement made by the Home Secretary two years ago is being frustrated by the action the Government has taken all the way through in opposing the Second Reading of this Bill, and not allowing it to go to Committee upstairs. If there were any 813 real objection to the Bill I could understand the Government's action. The only objection I have heard of—I have asked a great many Members on both sides of the House what they think about it, and I should not have brought it forward but by arrangement with the Scottish Members—is that in Scotland, as in England, there are vast tracts of country where it would be extremely difficult to double the force. Those who put forward that objection cannot have read the Bill, because it was well known that it would be extremely inconvenient, if not quite unreasonable, to double the force. The Bill says that any Order in Council which is made shall contain such modifications as may be necessary to provide for the case of small police stations in rural districts, or for such special circumstances affecting the district or the police authority. The only objection raised by some Members of the House in a half-hearted way is fully met by the Bill. There can be no question that all Members on both sides admit that one rest-day in seven—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
The hon. Member is not entitled to discuss the Bill on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.
§ Mr. REMNANT
I beg your pardon, Sir. I was only urging that in furtherance of my contention that the Government should not stop the Bill in cases like this, where there is no real objection on either side, where a Bill has been before the House for two years, and where a Bill is brought forward by an English Member under an arrangement made by the Home Secretary. We have the whole evening before us. The hon. Member who represents the Government has several times blocked the Bill. He shakes his head, but he is still objecting on the part of the Government. He must therefore accept responsibility for the Government objecting to a Bill which does a simple act of justice to the force. He cannot shirk that responsibility by nodding his head. I ask the hon. Gentleman, does the Government still intend to prevent this Bill getting a Second Reading and going up to Committee? I do not propose to take up the time of the House by perpetually bringing it forward if that is their settled policy. I hope the Government will give facilities for the Bill. The hon. Gentleman is a Scottish Member, and should have sympathy with the large and deserving force in Scotland. I hope he will give us some encouragement 814 for believing that the Government will help the Bill forward and allow it to go to the Scottish Committee where it can be threshed out. I would not make this appeal unless I felt satisfied that I had practically the unanimous support of hon. Members on both sides in regard to it. I have never treated this as being in any sense a party matter. I have never made the smallest party capital out of it, and hon. Members on both sides of the House have generously and honestly kept to that understanding. That being so, it is a very strong measure for the Government to stop it on an evening when we have plenty of time to spare. We have already got through three Bills in a very short space of time, and we could get through this one in five minutes. If the Government would allow the Motion for Adjournment to stand over for a few minutes I believe the House would generously allow the Bill to go to Committee. I therefore make a strong appeal to the hon. Gentleman, as representing the Governmnt, to grant us this privilege to-night.
§ Mr. GULLAND
I am sorry I am not in a position to assume any responsibility for last Session or for this Session in regard to this Bill. There was an understanding in the House that if we got the Second Reading of the Herring Fishery (Branding) Bill that no other Orders would be taken.
§ Mr. GULLAND
That understanding, I am sorry to say, cannot now be departed from. This is the first night the hon. Member has brought the Bill forward.
§ Mr. GULLAND
I have sent to the Vote Office for a copy, but it cannot be obtained there, and I assume, therefore, that it has not yet been printed. The Secretary for Scotland has had no notice of its coming on, therefore I am sorry to take up the position that I do not see anything else that we can do except to suggest that the House should now adjourn.
§ Mr. KING
Government time, indeed! What a poor argument, I should like to say subterfuge, it is to talk like that. Time does not belong to the Government; it belongs to the House. The Government has just taken away private Members' time, and now, when it might give a quarter of an hour to private Members to pass a private Member's Bill, demanded by all sides of the House, the hon. Gentleman sticks to the bare letter of his promise and ignores the spirit of it, and will not let the Bill go through. I appeal to him, as a personal friend and as a friend of the Government, to withdraw this Motion and allow the Order to go through.
§ Mr. MORTON
We are not in much of a position to discuss the Bill. I do not know that it is even printed.
§ Mr. MORTON
I take the hon. Gentleman's word for that, but I have had a Bill before this House for fifteen years. I object to these bargains between the two Front Benches against the private Member. I fully recognise the complaint made that an evening like this ought not to be wasted. If they had told us on Saturday that we should get away at nine o'clock we might have made arrangements—the music halls would have been open ready for us—but, seeing that the private Member has so many of his privileges taken away from him when we have a spare evening like this, we might properly and quietly discuss a Bill of the nature mentioned, which is not a party Bill. To my mind it is a shocking scandal that the Government should carry on business in this way. 816 There is no chance at all for private Members and their Bills if, when an opportunity like this occurs, the Government take care to make a bargain to shut us out.
§ Mr. REMNANT
The Bill has been printed for over two years. I could not hand it in before the Bill was allowed to be introduced, but it was handed in directly I went away from the Chamber to the Clerk's Office. I have a copy in my hand, and the order was given on Friday last. Why it has not been sent out it is not for me to say. At all events, I am not responsible for it. The Government cannot get away on the ground that the Bill is not in print.
§ Colonel GREIG
I cannot associate myself with the remarks of the hon. Member (Mr. Morton), because I am certain if the Scotch Members had the slightest anticipation that this Bill would be brought forward they would probably have attended in much larger numbers. I can only say what happened in my own case. We never anticipated that we should get as far as this. We anticipated, from the course the Opposition has been taking, that they would have discussed the Motion till eleven o'clock. As it was I have been here with one or two Scotch Members. I believe I have read the Bill on a former occasion, but it has absolutely passed from my mind. We had not the slightest anticipation of its coming on, and we have not had a copy of the Bill, and, therefore, I think it would not be fair to the Scotch Members for this Bill to be taken.
§ Adjourned at Half after Eight o'clock.