§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
There is upon the Paper an Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield and myself, raising a question which, rightly or wrongly, we think important. It is to the following effect:—But humbly regrets that His Majesty's Government do not propose to take any steps for preventing the growing debasement of the accustomed standard of purity in public life.Rumours have reached me that it is not unlikely that to-morrow evening the Government will move the Closure on the Address. I do not know whether you will feel it right to grant it or not, but, supposing you do, I should like to know whether, in your judgment, it is likely that that Amendment will be reached? I should also like to ask this further question: Whether the order in which Amendments are taken to the Address is not a matter solely and entirely within the discretion of the Chair, with which Members of the House have no power to deal at all? I only ask for this reason—I need not say not with the least desire of challenging or criticising or in any way questioning any decision which you may have given, but because, having put down an Amendment of so controversial a character, I should not like it to be thought—and my hon. Friend agrees with me in this—that we have put a Motion on the Paper and are reluctant in any way that the House should have an opportunity of discussing it.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think there is no question that the Noble Lord put the Motion down bonâ fide, and is anxious to have an opportunity of debating it. But it seems to me of a rather indefinite and vague character. I may be wrong, but I think it refers to a matter very fully discussed last Session, and would probably only revive old controversies, and there are many other matters in these Amendments which are deserving of more immediate attention than that in the Motion of the Noble Lord. It is perfectly true that the invidious duty is cast upon me of making the selection, and I have to use the best judgment I can as to which are pressing and more urgent matters, and those in which the House is most interested.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
Will you indicate whether there will be an opportunity of raising this question, in which so deep and 973 painful an interest is taken outside this House?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There is an opportunity by means of the Tuesday and Wednesday ballots, and there is also an opportunity open in Committee of Supply.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I think, as Mr. Speaker has indicated, hon. Members should take advantage of the opportunity which they have in the ballot.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Does not the hon. Gentleman think the opportunity afforded by the ballot at the fag end of the Sitting is wholly inadequate for so important a matter?