HC Deb 17 August 1916 vol 85 cc2232-6

As from two o'clock in the morning, Dublin mean time, on Sunday the first day of October, nineteen hundred and sixteen, the time for general purposes in Ireland shall be the same as the time for general purposes in Great Britain both during the periods when the Summer Time Act, 1916, is in force and at all other times, and accordingly the enactments mentioned in the Schedule to this Act shall, as from the same date, be repealed to the extent specified in the third column to that Schedule.


I beg to move to postpone the consideration of the Clause.

We are met under very peculiar circumstances. It is five minutes to twelve o'clock. This Bill has not been accepted on its merits by the Irish Party, it has only been accepted as part of a bargain to pass the Bill connected with the Dublin Corporation. There is no reason whatever why the House should not meet tomorrow, Friday, and there is Saturday as well. I can see no reason in pushing this forward now. If the Bill had been to confer an advantage upon Ireland I am quite sure there would not have been this keen anxiety. I have never seen any anxiety on the part of the present Government to deal with any Irish matter which the Irish people really desired. This is a Bill which the Nationalists admit they have accepted as a bargain for other legislation. Therefore I strongly objected to the Second Reading, and now to the Committee stage being taken, and I suppose we shall be told that it is desirable that the Government should also have the Third Reading. The Irish public should have an opportunity of considering a Bill like this. It is especially one that the working people should be allowed to consider. The position is unreasonable, and I therefore beg to move that you, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.


I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will not press his Motion. We, the Members of this House who represent English constituencies, recognise that so far as we are concerned, it is only not five minutes to twelve, but five minutes to eleven. Therefore, whilst we may grumble in the morning, I do not think we should grumble in the evening. I would like to say that, though I eannot agree with the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, I have had letters from Ireland complaining with regard to this Bill.


That is not relevant to this Motion.


I quite agree, Mr. Maclean, but one of the reasons given for the Motion is that the people of Ireland have not had the opportunity of discussing this question they ought to have had, and therefore, with the object of getting more time, the hon. and learned Member wishes the House to meet again to-morrow and on Saturday, if necessary. I hope he will withdraw his Motion, however, because I think when the question is understood the people of Ireland will not object at all to the Bill. I would, therefore, appeal to the hon. and learned Gentleman not to hinder the passage of the Bill.


I only rise to ask the Government whether they are going to take any more measures to-night.




I am always in sympathy with a Motion to report Progress at this hour of the evening. Almost every day for the last fortnight we have had a Resolution suspending the Eleven o'clock Rule. It would have been much braver of the Government to have suspended the Eleven o'clock Rule right through. I do not think legislation is ever good at this hour, 'and I do not think the Government ought to ask the House to sit as late as they have done recently. It is not a question as to the fate of this Bill, but simply, I understand, that we ought not to rush these things when the people of Ireland, everyone of whom is affected by this Bill, are entirely ignorant of what is going on. The prospect of the Bill passing before the Adjournment would be in no way jeopardised if this Motion were accepted. All that the Government would have to do would be to put it down on Monday, and I do not think, from what I can gather as to the feeling of the House, an hour would be required for Committee and Third Reading. The other House could sit on Tuesday, pass the Bill through all stages, and get the Royal Assent on Wednesday. The Government have had a very good day. The Home Secretary will get his Bill, and everybody will be satisfied. I suggest that the Government should not look round for difficulties, and occasionally they might defer to an opinion expressed even by a private Member of the House.


I should not urge the House to take this stage in addition to the other stages if the Bill were of a complicated nature, or one requiring minute examination in Committee, but we have to remember there is the other House, and while this Bill has been before us and printed for some considerable time the other House has not yet had cognisance of it, and as Parliament is going to adjourn on Wednesday next the other House might complain that this House has not treated them fairly in sending them a Bill which is in their hands only a day before the Adjournment.


You have done this often.


Not when it can be avoided, and we know the other House complains at the end of the Session that Bills come before them in very large numbers at the last moment. Where that can be avoided I would suggest that this House should not take the course proposed with the consequences I have mentioned. So far as I can gather, the general sense of the House is to proceed with the Committee stage of this very simple measure, and therefore I ask the House not to accept the Motion.

Question put, and negatived.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without Amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That the Bill be now read the third time."

12.0 M.


As this Bill is passing as the result of an arrangement, I shall object to the Third Reading being now taken.


I hope the Government will not give way to the mere bullying of one hon. Member. It is the unanimous desire of the House—with the single exception of the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. Healy) that this Bill should receive a Third Reading, and under the circumstances I hope the Government will not give way.


This matter has been under consideration for some time and I am grateful to the Government for pressing the Bill on.


I have had a number of letters from Ireland asking me to oppose this Bill. Personally I do not see why it should be opposed, and that is a matter for the representatives of Ireland. There is, however, no doubt that in the minds of some working men there is a suspicion in regard to the working of the Bill. I think the time in Ireland ought to be the same as in this country for business purposes and everything else, and I believe it would be beneficial. I am not going to oppose the Bill in any shape or form and I think the House ought to agree to the Third "Reading without any further discussion.

The remaining Orders were read and postponed.

It being after half-past Eleven of the clock on Thursday evening, 17th August, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at Five Minutes after Twelve o'clock till Monday next, 21st August.