HC Deb 28 March 1917 vol 92 cc461-2

Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer tell us what business the Government proposes to take before the rising at Easter, on what date it proposes to rise, and for how long?


The two measures which, as I intimated yesterday, we wish to get before the Adjournment are the Bill for the prolongation of the life of Parliament and the Military Service Bill, of which I gave notice yesterday. If, as I hope, we get the Second Beading of the Military Service Bill to-morrow, the House may perhaps be ready to pass the Bill for the extension of the life of Parliament through all its stages on Friday, and in addition to take the subsequent stages of the Military Service Bill. That is not perhaps so unreasonable as the statement of it sounds. On the last occasion on which the Bill for the extension of the life of Parliament was carried through this House—and this Bill is in exactly the same terms—though there were three different stages, the total amount of time consumed was about three hours; and as regards the Military Service Bill, it is a one Clause Bill, though I dare say there will be a good deal to be said about it, but it will be more a question of Second Reading than of Committee stage Debate. In any case, if that is found possible, it will also be possible on Monday to move the Adjournment of the House, to take effect on the following day—after the Commission has reported from another place. If we cannot get through all these stages in time to do that, I hope it may be possible, at all events, to adopt that course on Tuesday, and the House will then adjourn for a fortnight.


Will the Second Reading of the Military Service Bill be the first Order to-morrow?


Yes, it will be the first Order, and in order that the House may know exactly what it is, I have made arrangements under which, I hope, the Bill will be in the Vote Office in an hour or an hour and a half.


Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to take the Courts (Emergency Powers) Bill before Easter?


That is not a Bill on account of which we should delay the Adjournment.


Is it intended to take the Courts (Emergency Powers) Bill before rising?


If there is time, but I do not anticipate that there will be.


As the question in regard to the exchange of prisoners was not able to be discussed yesterday, as was suggested the day before, may I ask whether the Government can give half a day, now or after the Recess, for that matter? There is a very large volume of opinion on the subject.


It would be possible to discuss it on the Adjournment, but probably some better opportunity will come after the Adjournment.