HC Deb 24 July 1916 vol 84 cc1357-8

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Proceedings on Government Business be not interrupted this night under the Standing Order (Sittings of the House), and may be entered upon at any hour though opposed."—[The Prime Minister.]

4.0 P.M.


I would like to know how far the Government propose to go to-day? There are sixteen Orders on the Paper, and I presume that it is not the intention of the Government to take a large proportion of those sixteen Orders. I think that no one on either side of the House will object to the Government having the Vote of Credit, but I do think after what has just taken place that we ought to have an assurance from the Government that they will not go beyond the Vote of Credit. It is evident that there will be a discussion later on which cannot be over before eleven o'clock, and I do not think that it would be at all fair in the circumstances to enter on the other Orders on the Paper on a day like this. The right hon. Gentleman will see that I am making a reasonable request, that if we agree to allow the Vote of Credit to be taken we should not be asked to sit until twelve or one o'clock in the morning disposing of other matters.


Perhaps my right hon. Friend will be able to tell us whether the Government adhere to their announce-on Thursday, that they intend to take the Bill in reference to the Committees on Mesopotamia and the Dardanelles through all its stages to-day, because that has an important bearing on this Resolution? How much business do they propose to take?


Perhaps my right hon. Friend will allow me to call attention to the Amendment to the Vote of Credit which appears on the Paper, and to ask him whether this question will be proposed before the Vote of Credit is taken to which the Amendment is to be moved, or how the matter is to be disposed of, in view of the shortage of time?


I would ask my right hon. Friend whether he would not recon- sider the question, having regard to what has taken place, whether he can get the Vote of Credit to-day at all? It is one of the few occasions open to us of raising a very large number of questions. I do not think, with the interruption from a quarter past eight until eleven o'clock, we could take all the business which is before the House, and I suggest that, if it goes on, the Vote of Credit might be continued to-morrow.


As we have been refused a proper opportunity for full discussion, may I ask if it is necessary that the Motion for the Adjournment must conclude at eleven o'clock, or whether it may not be possible to continue the discussion to-morrow, so that Irish Members shall be fully entitled to avail themselves of the one opportunity they have had for the past twelve months of discussing vital Irish questions?


In reply to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. O'Brien), the Motion for the Adjournment, which comes on at a quarter-past eight, must terminate at eleven o'clock. In reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington (Mr. Lough), I will put the Question, "That I do now leave the Chair," and then he can move the Amendment which stands in his name on the Paper.


In reply to the questions which have been addressed to me, I do not propose to take more than the Vote of Credit in Committee of Ways and Means. With regard to the question of my right hon. Friend (Sir Henry Dalziel), we do not propose to take all the stages of the Bill for the Commissions of Inquiry into the operation in Mesopotamia and the Dardanelles to-day. The Bill will be printed and circulated.

Question put, and agreed to.