HC Deb 04 August 1914 vol 65 cc1937-40

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.


With regard to this Bill I have to observe that during the course of its passage through Committee a clause was added which the Committee had no authority to accept. The Bill as it passed this House does not deal with Ireland or Scotland, and only with England. During the course of its passage through Committee a Clause was inserted not extending this Bill to Ireland, but extending the provisions of the Act of 1906 to Ireland. The Committee, in my judgment, had no right or authority to insert that Clause without receiving an instruction, which instruction was not received. The more proper course to take now would be to recommit this Bill to the Standing Committee, in order that they might strike that Clause out. It appears to me the justice of the case would be met, and the convenience of all parties would be met, if now upon Report that particular Clause were struck out and the Title amended accordingly. If that commends itself to the House, I think it is the course we might take.


In accordance with your ruling, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move the omission of Clause 3 (Application of Act of 1906 to Ireland).


If I have followed your ruling correctly, Mr. Speaker, the effect of taking the proceedings which you have indicated, would be to deprive Ireland of the benefits of the Clauses contained in this Bill. If it is possible to avoid that I ask the House to do so. If by recommitting the Bill or by any other course we could save Ireland's interest in this matter, I ask the House to do so.


In view of the fact that it win at the request of the Nationalist party that Ireland was kept out, I do not think we should now risk the loss of this Bill.


I do not suggest risking the Bill at all.


As this Session is likely to close without any further business in Committee, we do not want to risk the portion of the Bill which was in the original measure. I hope we are going to safeguard English interests. If the Bill is going to be sent back to the Committee, we would prefer to proceed with the Bill as originally introduced.


Another course would be to allow this Bill to pass and apply it only to England as it was originally drafted and passed in Committee. Another Bill has been introduced by one of the Irish representatives which deals with the same subject in another form and in which the interests of Ireland are dealt with. If it is desired by the Irish Nationalist Party and the House that Bill might be regarded as a separate Bill and passed.


I might be allowed to say if that course were adopted it would entirely meet the views of my colleagues and myself. There is nothing in the distinctively Irish Bill which raises any controversial points any more than those which are contained in the English Bill which we tried to extend to Ireland. If the House will adopt the course suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, hon. Members will see that we do not wish to imperil the passage of this Bill. I think it is only fair that we should be indemnified in this matter, and I ask the Government to put the Irish Bill on the paper.


I think, Mr. Speaker, that you mentioned the word Scotland in connection with this Bill. So far as I understand the matter there is nothing in the Bill which applies to Scotland. I want to be quite clear on that point.


I said the Bill did not apply to Scotland.


I do not want in any wise to controvert the policy of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, but I understand that there are many parts of Ireland where some objections to this Bill have been raised, and therefore it must not be taken that the other Bill can be put through as a non-controversial matter. There would be nothing controversial in the sense of anything political, but I understand there are other considerations.


As Chairman of the Committee which debated this Bill, perhaps I may be allowed to say that after some discussion there was a general agreement as to the desirability of this Bill being extended to Ireland. There were some objections raised, but they were met to the satisfaction of those hon. Members who were opposing the measures, and I think I may say with perfect accuracy that these Clauses were regarded as non-contentious. For that reason I hope the right hon. Gentleman will allow this Bill to be extended to Ireland which requires the provisions of this Bill as badly as England.


I am anxious to avoid any misconception arising. If we reject this Clause and another Bill is introduced containing nothing but what is in this Clause would it then be possible for this House to accept it?


The other Bill must contain one or two other clauses in order to facilitate the working of it, although the two Bills may be identical in principle.


With regard to the last point I understand that the ground upon which you, Mr. Speaker, have held the clause in question not to be admissible is that it is outside the scope of this Bill. That being a purely technical reason I understand that there would be no objection to the clause being inserted in the proper place. If this clause is omitted I would consent to star the Irish Bill and give the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir E. Carson) an opportunity of raising a discussion on such points as he may think fit.


I am quite satisfied with that.


I do not want to raise any objection to the passage of this Bill. I understand that the right hon. Gentleman has moved that the clause be omitted and the House will negative this clause. Will it not be against precedent that the same clause should be introduced again in another Bill?


It will not be identically the same and it will not be the same Question that will be put from the Chair.

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.


I beg to move, to omit from the title the words "and to provide for the application of that Act to Ireland."

Question put, and agreed to. Title amended accordingly.

Bill reported, with an Amendment; read the third time, and passed.