§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I beg to move, "That the Committee stage, Report stage, and the Third Reading of the Military Service Bill shall, unless previously disposed of, be proceeded with and brought to a conclusion at the times and in the manner hereinafter mentioned:
§ (1) Committee Stage.
§ Three allotted days shall be given to the Committee stage of the Bill, and the proceedings on each of those days shall be as shown in the second column of the table annexed to this paragraph, and those proceedings shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at the time shown in the third column of that table, and on the conclusion of the Committee stage the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without Question put.
|Allotted Day.||Proceedings to be brought to a conclusion if not previously disposed of.||Time for Proceedings to be brought to a conclusion.|
|Remaining Clauses and Schedules, and any other matter necessary to bring the Committee stage to a conclusion||11|
§ (2) Report Stage and Third Reading.
§ The Report Stage and the Third Reading shall be proceeded with and brought to a conclusion on the fourth allotted day, and the proceedings on that day shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at 11 p.m.
§ After this Order comes into operation any day shall be considered an allotted day for the purposes of this Order on which the Bill is put down as the first Order of the Day and then proceeded with:
§ Provided that 5 p.m. shall be substituted for 11 p.m. as respects any allotted day which is a Friday, and the third allotted day shall not be a Friday.
§ For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion on an allotted day and have not previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall, at the time appointed under this Order for the conclusion of those proceedings, put forthwith the Question on any Amendment or Motion already proposed from the Chair, and shall next proceed successively to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments, new Clauses, or new Schedules moved by the Government of which notice has been given, but on no other Amendments, new Clauses, or new 1710 Schedules, and on any Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded, and in the case of Government Amendments or of Government new Clauses or new Schedules, he shall put only the Question that the Amendment be made or that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill, as the case may be.
§ The Chair shall have power to select the Amendments to be proposed on any allotted day, and Standing Order No. 26 shall apply as if a Motion had been carried under paragraph 3 of that Standing Order empowering the Chair to select the Amendments with respect to each Motion, Clause, or Schedule under debate on that day.
§ When the Order of the Day is read for the House to resolve itself into Committee on the Bill, Mr. Speaker shall leave the Chair without putting any Question, notwithstanding that notice of an Instruction has been given.
§ Any Private Business which is set down for consideration at 8.15 p.m. and any Motion for Adjournment under Standing Order No. 10 on an allotted day shall, on that day, instead of being taken as provided by the Standing Orders, be taken after the conclusion of the proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order on that day, and any Private Business or Motion for Adjournment so taken may be proceeded with, though opposed, notwithstanding any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House.
§ On any day on which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order proceedings for that purpose shall not be interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House.
§ On any day on which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order no dilatory Motion on the Bill, nor Motion to recommit the Bill, nor Motion that the Chairman do report Progress or do leave the Chair, shall be received unless moved by the Government, and the Question on such Motion shall be put forthwith without any Debate.
§ Nothing in this Order shall—
- (a)prevent any proceedings which under this Order are to be concluded on any particular day or at any particular time being proceeded with on any other day or at any other time, or necessitate any particular day or part of a particular day being given to any such proceedings if the proceedings to be concluded have been otherwise disposed of; or
- (b)prevent any other business being proceeded with on any particular day, or part of a particular day, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House, after any proceedings to be concluded under this Order on that particular day, or part of a particular day, have been disposed of.
§ This is the first time I have had, in my Parliamentary experience, to move a Resolution of this kind, but I have had a great deal of practical experience in making speeches in opposition to such Resolutions. I am afraid, however, that that practice will not be of any material assistance in making this proposal.1711
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
My hon. Friend says it will be useful to him. But my speeches on those occasions have consisted largely—almost exclusively—of extracts from speeches of those moving such Resolutions, and they were very effective extracts; that is the only satisfaction I got from them. It is the case, as stated by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) that this is the first time a Resolution of this kind has been moved since the outbreak of War. That means that we are face to face now with a more acute form of Parliamentary controversy than fortunately has hitherto existed. I need not say that when the Government came to their decision to bring in this Bill we recognised, although we deeply regretted it, that that would be one of the effects of the decision. We had to balance the advantages and disadvantages and we thought it our duty to the country to take the course we have adopted. That is our justification also for the fact, which we all regret, I think, that this form of controversy has again become necessary. I do not think any Member of this House, assuming that the Bill is necessary—and the Government think it is—will doubt that this Resolution also is necessary. We have proof that it is. We have had the experience of two days' Debate in which hon. Members below the Gangway have made it quite plain that they intend to use every form of Parliamentary opposition to prevent us carrying the Bill. One of the hon. Members, indeed, told us, in so many words, on Monday, that he will obstruct the Bill, Clause by Clause and line by line, and, knowing what we do of the powers of the party below the Gangway, we recognise that without a Resolution of this kind it would be simply impossible to get the Bill in the time which the Government think necessary. That is our justification for a Resolution of this kind.
Now I come to the form of the Resolution. As it appears on the Paper there are to be three days for the Committee stage. I wish that that were possible. The Resolution follows precedent in being in this form. The Bill is to be dealt with in Committee, after this Resolution has been disposed of to-day, to-morrow (Friday), and on Monday, and the remaining stages are to be taken on Tuesday. That is the proposal of the Government.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
If anyone wants a Saturday sitting, I am willing to give it. As a matter of fact, the Government have sought to divide the time to be allocated to this Bill in the way that seems to them best, but obviously there are different points of view, and, although the method of allocation may be a question on which hon. Members may differ, the important point is that we should get the Bill in the time fixed in the Resolution. The time is to be divided in this way: To-day, after this Resolution has been disposed of, we shall take Clause 1, and the guillotine will fall at 11 o'clock; to-morrow's sitting we propose to give to the Irish Clause, No. 2, Clause 3, as pointed out in the speeches yesterday, is a very important Clause indeed; it gives to the Government in their own hands very drastic powers, and that Clause, we propose, shall be decided at 6 o'clock on Monday. It gives the Government, as I say, very drastic powers—
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to continue—but it is not, I should have thought, a subject for which there was a great deal of room for discussion. It is a question of principle, with which the House either agrees or does not agree. Clause 4, which deals with another very important matter, the regulation of the tribunals, is to be taken at 9.30, and the rest of the Bill at 11 o'clock on Monday. I do not say for a moment that in peace-time such a Resolution would be reasonable. I doubt whether any Resolution equally drastic has ever been submitted to the House of Commons, although when I recall some of the previous guillotine Resolutions, and some of my own speeches upon them, I think it might be an arguable question whether this is more drastic than some of those. But it is very drastic. My right hon. Friend the Member for East Fife (Mr. Asquith), on the opening day, urged the Government to give more time. We had intended, and the Prime Minister has announced the intention, to get this Bill through this House this week. In meeting the views of my right hon. Friend the Member for East Fife, we felt that we would, if it were possible, do something to show to the whole House that on a matter of this kind we were desirous of being reasonable as far as our duty would allow us to be so. I saw, and so did the 1713 Prime Minister my right hon. Friend. He is not able to be here to-day, but he has just told me—
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
— but he has authorised me to say—and I think it is another proof of his public spirit that he has authorised me to say—that in his view, without judging as to the way in which the time is allocated, and on the assumption—I wish the House clearly to under stand this, and they have heard his speeches—which we must make that the Bill is itself necessary, then the time which we have given to it does not seem to him unreasonable. That is our view.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The late Prime Minister. I say that this time is very drastic. I do not suggest for a moment that it gives adequate time under peace conditions for the consideration of all these subjects, but even allowing that, on the merits of the subjects now to be discussed, I do say this, that if the House voted with the knowledge that the Bill is to become law, with the desire that it should become law, with the desire to discuss only. things vital and most important—and, of course, under this Resolution the Chairman has the right to select the Amendments that shall be considered—even in that case I say a businesslike debate would enable an adequate discussion of these matters to take place in time of war. That is the only claim we make in that respect. But these are not peace conditions. We recommend this Resolution to the House, and we justify it, on the ground that in the opinion of the Government it is necessary that the Bill should be passed without delay. I know it will be said—it has been said already—that a day, or perhaps two days, cannot matter. If you start in that spirit you are not realising the actual facts of the situation and are not dealing with them as they exist to-day. I do ask hon. Members of this House, even those who are most opposed to our policy, to try to put themselves in the position of what has happened to this nation, to leave out of account questions of what we are accustomed to in ordinary practice in the House of Commons, to consider the attitude of the men who are in the trenches for us—who were referred to in a speech that affected me by an hon. Friend behind me—to picture to themselves what the feeling of the country is in a matter of 1714 this kind. I can say this, so far as I can judge, that the best indication of the view taken by the country of the action, for instance, of the hon. Member who is interrupting, is that the people who them selves know what is happening, who have their sons and brothers fighting in this War—
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
—are listening to the kind of criticism to which the Government is subjected by the hon. Gentleman. In cur view, time is of the essence in this matter. As a matter of fact the military authorities—there is no harm in my saying this—urged the Government to call Parliament together specially in order to pass this Bill.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I do not say that. They urged the Government to call Parliament together specially in order to pass this Bill, which, at all events, shows that they consider it to be urgent. The Government did not take that course, not because we did not feel equally the urgency of the matter, but because we hoped that the same result would be got equally quickly in another way. The proposals were carefully planned and laid before the Government by the Ministry of National Service; they were then submitted to a Committee of Ministers, who met, day by day, going into them in detail; they were afterwards submitted to the Cabinet as a whole, who spent days in doing the same thing. We have, therefore, prepared these plans as carefully, as fully, as we could, and we have prepared them on the basis of what we believe to be the essential interests of the nation at this moment. We have brought them to the House of Commons, asking the House of Commons, on our responsibility, to let us have the powers which we say are necessary. In circumstances of this kind there is no question of precedent at all. It is a question of whether or not it is needed, and if you were to consider precedent the one that I would suggest is not in any of the guillotine Resolutions of my right hon. Friend the Member for East Fife, it is what happened when Sir William Harcourt carried in one day, through all its 1715 stages, the Explosives Bill, which was carried in the House of Lords the same day. I say, whether that was done in a panic or not, the necessity of that time was nothing in comparison with the necessity of to-day, and I say again to the House of Commons—I am not going to detain them, because obviously the amount of time that will be given to Clause 1 depends on the amount of time taken in discussing this Resolution—that we consider that this is vital, that we consider that as a Government we would not be justified in taking the responsibility of office without it, and that, in these circumstances, we come to the House of Commons and ask them to give us what has not been refused so far to any Government during the War—the powers which that Government, on its responsibility, says are necessary for the conduct of the War.
Anyone listening to this Debate, so far, would assume that we were discussing a purely Irish Bill, and I think it is necessary that we should keep clearly in mind that, however much our Irish friends may feel, and rightly feel, in regard to this matter, there are certain English interests that must be considered as well.
And Scottish, of course. I certainly do not agree with any policy of obstruction. I felt keenly on the last Conscription Bill, but, keenly as I felt, I did not feel it wise to obstruct the Bill, and I certainly do not propose to take any part in obstructing this Bill, because anyone, in whatever part of the House he sits, who has boys there, cannot do other than think of the situation. I am certainly not approaching the question either in the spirit of obstruction or with any desire to hamper or injure the country. But equally I feel that the Government are making a profound mistake. They are not taking the right step, and this guillotine Motion cannot be justified from any conceivable standpoint. Now, on every previous Bill, so far as Conscription is concerned, there were long negotiations with the various parties. Whatever may be said in criticism of the right hon. Gentleman the ex-Prime Minister, his object, as he said, through all those negotiations was, as far as possible, to bring about agreement. There is 1716 Clause 3, which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House says is an important Clause. It is so important that every industrial agreement may be torn up under it. There have been dozens of conferences during this War with various sections of Labour, and they have succeeded in obtaining certain agreements. It may be said that no section ought to be consulted, but the common-sense view is to get agreement if you can. The result is that, under the powers of this Clause, every one of these agreements, if the Minister so desires, may be torn up by an Order in Council. In this matter, so far as our party is concerned, everyone is speaking for himself; I make that perfectly clear, lest there should be any misunderstanding, but I am at least going to claim that I speak for a fairly big section of people outside, and I know their point of view. I say deliberately that a guillotine Motion which gives less-than two hours to discuss the whole of the industrial action is something that cannot possibly be justified. It is not obstruction to suggest that at least we should have guarantees, that we should have safeguards. We ought to be able to-put down reasoned Amendments in order to protect the people we represent, and two hours is the amount of time allocated to that particular problem. When we come to the question of age, I do not know what the experience of other Members of the House is, but if they have got a post-bag equal to mine they must know the feeling existing in the country. Let me take two samples that came this morning, out of many others. A woman writes that she has had three sons killed, she has got one other son loft to give, and now the husband is to be taken, and she asks, "What does it matter to me who wins?" In another case there is an only boy killed and the father will be taken. I know the Chancellor of the Exchequer says that you cannot make a profit and loss account. Of course you cannot, but you can make a profit and loss account in this respect, that if you are going to dislocate the trade of the country, if you are going to cripple business, if you are going seriously to imperil finance, and you are not going to get against that something that is worth all this dislocation, then there is a profit and loss account of which we have to take serious notice. All experience shows that men approaching forty years of age cannot be trained for military service. I do 1717 not know if the War Office could give the figures, but if the figures were given of the number of men approaching that age taken into the Army, started to be trained, put in hospital, trained again, and put back in hospital and then kept doing odd jobs, and finally turned out at the country's expense, it would show an enormous waste. We have got to avoid that, and we can only do that by a reasoned Amendment, showing that it cannot be justified—not showing that we are against the Army, not attempting to obstruct with a view of not winning the War, but trying to point out that there isa better way. We cannot do it in two hours.
I want to ask the Government whether there are not more men in the Army today in administrative posts—not fighting units—who could be used than all they are getting under this Bill? That is my view, and I will be able to give figures to show it. You cannot do it under a guillotine Motion of this kind. On Clause 1 today we have not only to discuss the age and its connection with what I have already said; but we have to discuss the question of the boys of eighteen and a half. I do not know what other Members' experience is, but I know my experience of the feeling on this matter, and I at least, with many other Members of this House, want to take some part in a discussion of that kind. Without obviously attempting to debate the merits of the Bill, I say you are not giving enough time. To give a day for Ireland is not enough. Those of us who know the situation in Ireland feel that you are going to take more soldiers that could be used now in order to get a less number in the result. When you come to the industrial position, we want safeguards. We want to put down reasoned Amendments. We want the Government clearly to understand that Labour is not hostile in this War. We are not merely pacifists because we oppose this matter, but we do oppose it because we believe it is the wrong way. I would ask the Government whether they cannot, at least, give two more days to the consideration of this matter. Let us sit on Saturday if need be, and give us another day. Do not let it be said we want to avoid sitting on Saturday, or even on Sunday. After all, the men are fighting on Saturday and Sunday. What I am pleading for is not to have this thing rushed through the House of Commons in a few 1718 hours which may be ruinous to the best interests of the country, and may not, in my judgment, obtain what the Government desire.
§ Mr. HOLT
I beg to move to leave out-the word "Three" ["Three allotted days"], and to insert instead thereof the word "Four."
The right hon. Gentleman told us that his proposals could not be justified in. peace-time, but that this was war-time, and things were different, and I am quite prepared to agree with him. None of us mean to obstruct the Bill—I have not the slightest intention of doing so—but we do want a full discussion. An appeal has been made on behalf of the men serving in the trenches at the front. I think that-is a very right and powerful appeal, but at the same time we ought to consider-that whatever those hardships, those are the hardships which the men brought in under this Bill are to suffer, so that that argument cuts both ways, and we have to-consider the position fairly of those who are to be sent to the front by this Bill. I think the time allowed is really quite inadequate, particularly with reference to one thing. Under this guillotine-Motion it is proposed to terminate the discussion on Clause 1 at eleven o'clock tonight, which is very much less than a day. There is the question of raising the age, and the question of the contingent further raising of the age. There is the question of the doctors, the question of ministers of religion, the question of thirty days' grace, and the question of substituting one Schedule of exceptions, for another Schedule. All these matters are raised on Clause 1, and all are very important matters indeed. The second day is given to Ireland, and on that there is not only the principle whether you shall or shall not apply this measure to Ireland, but there are all the-special conditions for applying it to Ireland, which are all Committee points. It is very improbable that any Irish matter will receive any consideration on Report, because the Irish Clause is the second Clause, and the new Clauses and the very important Clause 1, which affects England, will have to be considered before the Irish Clause is considered on Report. Under those circumstances I move my Amendment to give another day, and I propose to move later on that everything in this time-table should take place one day later than that which is put down by 1719 the Government. That would only in would the postponement of the Bill by one day, which no one can contend is vital for the country. If, however, the Government are willing to sit on Saturday—and I think every Member of this House ought to be willing to sit on Saturday—
§ Mr. HOLT
There need not then be any loss of time whatever. I should like to say this further, because I think that is hardly giving us enough time. Why not sit on Friday until eleven o'clock, which will give us a further six hours of discussion, without delaying the Bill for a moment. By sitting on Saturday from twelve to eleven and on Friday till eleven, you would add seventeen hours for the discussion of this measure. I think that is a proposal which in itself is quite reasonable to ask of the Government, and it is a proposal which I do not think Members of this House who take a great interest in this Bill ought to be unwilling to accept from the point of view of personal convenience.
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
I rise, with the kind permission of the House, to say one or two words on a part of this time-table which affects a Clause, the subject matter of which many Members of this House interested in recruiting have been concerned in for many months past, and that is Clause 4. It is proposed that after three and a-half hours' discussion this House should be asked to sanction an entirely new method of getting men into the Army, to repeal large parts of previous Acts of Parliament passed after long discussion and the greatest care, and to alter the conditions under which people are passed into the Army, leaving future arrangements entirely undefined and with the decision of Orders in Council, which in practice means the decision of the Minister of National Service as and when he gets the approval of the Prime Minister. I am not obstructing this Bill. I am speaking absolutely in accord with the principles laid down by the Leader of the House in his speech made an hour ago. I am concerned that if the Government desire to make this alteration it should be made with a full knowledge of the facts and full consideration of the issues involved. I 1720 am sure the Leader of the House will bear me out in this, that so far. From opposing the Government I have supported each successive Government in every particular and in every direction throughout this War; and I am not in the least ashamed of supporting the Executive of my country during a period like that through which we have been passing. But it is not want of support; it is just the strictest discharge of one's Parliamentary duties to take up this position if one finds in practice week after week that the existing conditions in which tribunals work are of the greatest importance in getting public opinion behind their decision and in striking a proper balance between the needs of the Army and the preservation of the social fabric for the purpose among other things of helping the Army to keep up the War.
This Bill proposes at one stroke to abolish all the constitutional regulations and safeguards which at present hedge in enlistment and recruitment. It may be right. I am not arguing its merits now. But surely the House could not conceivably have greater or more important work to do or work in which, if mistakes were made, they would have greater consequences. In the long run, long though the run may be, even in Germany, public opinion will ultimately be the determining force, and we who are engaged in so vital a struggle surely need so to frame our relations that they may carry the maximum support with them as they are carried out. It is not only the entire alteration of this machinery, but it is that this Clause puts nothing definite in its place. Surely it would be possible for the Government, if the House expressed its opinion, to lay down in black and white in terms of an Act of Parliament the principles and methods in accordance with which the Minister of National Service ought to act. I am not now in the least arguing the merits of this Clause, but I would point out that it combines two most vital changes; first, the handing over to the Minister of National Service all the arrangements; and secondly, the striking out of anything in the Statute by which the public may not know what the arrangements may be, and what are the conditions in which recruiting takes place, and what are the criteria which they have to look to to know what they are expected to do. I hope the House will forgive me 1721 in taking these few moments is making this protest. I yield to no man in my desire to get into our Army every man who can best serve his country by being there and in getting them into the Army at the earliest moment with the least trouble and the least friction; but I do ask the Government to allow more than three and a half hours in which to reconstitute the whole system of recruitment in the Army, because every Member of the House knows that the older you take the men the more difficult is the problem who ought to go, and when, and in what condition they ought to go.
No Member of the House, sitting on these tribunals, will disagree with me when I say that our work gets more difficult every week and every day. Whoever does that work in future, the work will not get easier, but it will get more difficult every week the War goes on. If that be the case, and if the work is so difficult, decisions taken are more easily misunderstood and are more open to misconception, and to the alienation of public feeling, and, if that be so, it is not only right but it is imperative that those conditions should be set out in the Statute, that the Minister should be able to point, not merely to the conclusions of a Department of State, but to the directions of a legislature in these matters of high importance. If that be so, this Clause, which in the Bill, as it stands, occupies two pages, must be, and ought to be, discussed, not in the spirit of obstruction or delay, but in the spirit of practical men trying to work it in the way which is best for the country. I submit to my right hon. Friend, in a spirit entirely sympathetic with his objects in that Clause, that three and a half hours of Parliamentary time are nothing like long enough to safeguard these matters, and to get a Clause which will really be carried out with sympathy and with knowledge and with public support, and therefore, is the straightest and most direct line of helping recruiting in the Army. I earnestly implore the Government to give more time to the discussion of this Clause.
§ Mr. DILLON
I had handed in an Amendment in the same terms as that which has just now been moved by the hon. Member (Mr. Holt), but, after listening to his speech, I feel inclined now to move an Amendment to his Amendment substituting the word "five." My 1722 Amendment had for its object to get another day for the Irish Clause, and it is clear that that is a very moderate demand. But the hon. Member made out an enormously strong case for time to-discuss certain English Clauses which are-given a rather subsidiary place. I recognise the point made by the hon. Gentleman who spoke for the Labour party, that an undue part of the time in our Debate has been occupied by discussion-of the Irish case. How could it be otherwise? Why was the Irish case introduced into this Bill, instead of the Government having the courage, if they meant to deal with the Irish case, to deal with it on lines and methods parallel to those adopted in the English case, and introducing an Irish Bill, and putting into the-Bill honestly the machinery by which they intend to enforce this law in Ireland as-they do in all English Bills, and giving us an opportunity of discussing the machinery for at least as long a time as-was given in the case of the English Bills? The War was going on then as it is going-on now, and when the English Bills were introduced the War was in a very critical stage. It is not our fault that the Irish question claims an undue amount of time in these Debates. It is the fault of the Government, who did not consult us in this matter at all, and adopted the course of bringing in this scandalous Clause-while giving us no opportunity of discussing the machinery and methods by which; it is to be enforced. Therefore, if I am in order, I shall move to amend the Amendment by leaving out the word "Four" and substituting the word' "Five."
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
I had better explain how the matter stands. The Amendment is to leave out "Three," in order to insert "Four." That proposal cannot be amended. If the House decides to leave out the word "Three," then it may refuse to insert the word "Four," and go on to insert some other figure than "Four" as a further proposition.
§ Mr. DILLON
I assume that I shall be-in order in advocating that the figure shall be "Five" instead of "Four"? I have made that explanation to remove hostility from the mind of any hon. Member who thinks that we want to clash with English Members in discussing the points in which they are interested. I think that even the right hon. Gentleman himself must admit that this is a 1723 guillotine Resolution of absolutely un-paralleled severity. He has pleaded that it is war-time. We have been in war nearly four years and we have never had a guillotine Resolution before, and the right hon. Gentleman proposes this, Although we remember the passionate and ferocious—I do not think that that is too strong a word to use—manner in which he harangued the House against the guillotine Resolution when the Home Rule Bill was on. More than that, in those days, in his youthful days, he did not hesitate to threaten civil war as a protest against the guillotine and he did not confine himself to prophesying civil war, but he openly at that Table announced that he would take part in that civil war himself. That was the way in which he. used to deal with the guillotine in this House in times of peace. The House will bear with me while I contrast the method of procedure adopted on the present occasion by the Government with the method adopted on similar occasions in the past. I have had the misfortune to take part in three great historical struggles against Irish Coercion Acts of the most stringent character. We were told in those days that the matter was urgent, that life and property and civil order in Ireland were in imminent danger, and yet the first thing done was to submit an elaborate system of Reports and statistics from the Irish Executive and a full statement of the views of the Irish Executive. That was done before the Government attempted to submit their proposals to the House. Then came the Bill which was introduced by an Irish Minister, who gave full information to the House as to the grounds on which it was considered necessary to introduce this legislation. Then in those days we had many weeks of controversy before the Bill was passed into law, and there were violent scenes and many of us were driven out of the House and suspended, as everyone knows who is familiar with the history of those times.
In no single instance, in those old days, and in my time, was an Irish Coercion Act attempted to be passed in this House without first of all Reports from Ireland, or from the Executive of Ireland, explaining the grounds on which the legislation was necessary. In addition, there was always prolonged discussion in this House of those proposals. In the present instance one of the most remarkable facts connected with this discussion is that we have not up to the present received any 1724 sort of indication of what is the opinion of the Irish Executive with regard to this Bill. Even the Prune Minister himself, in introducing this Bill, did not indicate to the House that he had the approval of the Irish Executive, or, indeed, any Report from the Irish Executive, on which to found his anticipation of military advantage from this Bill—the sole ground on which it is to be applied to Ireland as well as to this country. I think that is enough, in itself, to condemn the action of the Government and to justify my demand that we should have at least one more full day to deal with the Irish case. Again, this remarkable fact ought to be noted: Surely one would have expected in such a case as this, in which Cabinet after Cabinet—three separate Cabinets, and two successive Governments, all including the present Prime Minister—have each considered in all its bearings this question of Conscription, under great pressure. The last time they considered it was in December last, when they had the whole state of the Western Front and the Russian collapse within their knowledge, and again they decided on that third occasion that it could not pass such a measure as this for Ireland. In the speech of the Prime Minister not a single solitary reason was given for the change of policy which he proposed. The least we had a right to expect was that he would have told the House what was the number of soldiers he expected to obtain by the application of this Act to Ireland, but he did not give a single figure. He gave figures as to mines, and munition factories, and some other figures also, but he did not give us any figures showing the number of soldiers he expected to get from Ireland. Later the Home Secretary airily undertook to give figures, and he said that he expected that they would obtain ten divisions, or 200,000 men.
The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME) DEPARTMENT (Sir G. Cave)
I said ten divisions, but that I thought there would be more.
§ Mr. DILLON
The Home Secretary apparently knows more about this matter than the Irish Executive. Has the Irish Executive supplied figures? I really think we are entitled to have some statement from the Irish Executive as to the practicability of this whole business, its advisability from a political point of view, and as to what is likely to be the net result. We wish to have this information because 1725 on the Bill we shall have to discuss a question of enormous complexity and full of details. The question I wish to put to the Government is this: Has the Government any estimated figures, such as those given two years ago, as to the net result they expect from their proposal as applied to Ireland? Have they any figures, also, as to the number of soldiers that will be required to carry this out? I am told that a large consignment of armed motor cars and machine guns have already arrived, and are going across the Channel in the wrong direction—away from the front. I submit that the House of Commons ought to be put in a position to know whether this measure, taken as a whole, is really likely to be productive of anything like adequate results. It is not likely, I believe, that the Bill will have the result which is expected from it, and I think that dozens of Members agree with me in that statement, though they have voted against us in recent Divisions, because they do not like to vote against a War Government. Surely, after all, one day more is a very short time indeed to allow. My point is this, that the Friday sitting will be a very limited opportunity to discuss so large a question in all its details—to discuss a Clause which, of all the monstrous Clauses ever put into a Bill, is the most outrageous. If you look at it you will find that it proposes to hand over to the English Privy Council absolutely the liberty of every Irishman. That body is to have power to modify existing machinery, in the case of Ireland, in any way they think fit. If one reflects upon what has been done with regard to the control of food in this country one has an illustration of how disastrous can become such a proposal as this which affects the liberties of the Irish people.
You have seen in connection with your food control confusion and disaster, which could have been avoided if you had left Ireland alone, whose people could have sent you across the Channel enough food to prevent half the shortage you have suffered in London. Yet here the English Privy Council is to modify, without any control, the whole of the machinery by which this Act is to be applied to Ireland. We all know that the English machinery is wholly inadequate, and will not operate at all. The Clause provides that Courts shall be set up, civil or otherwise, which, under the direction of the English Privy Council, may be composed of men, military or civil, just as the Privy 1726 Council think fit. Supporters of the Member for Belfast might be sent to secure men—indeed, there is no limit to the extraordinary, absurd, and grotesque things that might occur under this legislation, if it is passed. I repeat that one full day more is surely a most moderate demand to make for the discussion of the whole machinery under which this Act is to be worked. You talk about applying equal treatment to Ireland with England, but fundamentally there is no possibility of maintaining that equality. The fundamental difference is that in Great Britain you have obtained the consent of the people by ten to one, whereas in Ireland you have ten to one against you, and, therefore, that being the fact, you propose to impose on the Irish people Conscription against the overwhelming and bitter opposition of the people themselves. It is a very foolish act.
What did you do in England in regard to this question? You had six months of discussion before the subject was brought into this House. You consulted every representative of every section of the community, and then you proceeded by a Bill which set forth all the machinery under which this system of Conscription was to be enforced. That Bill came before the House of Commons, which was engaged upon it at least a fortnight, or rather more than a fortnight. On that first Bill the House had to consider all these matters of detail—machinery, tribunals, appeals and exemptions—and that first Bill was a very mild one, as well as I remember, relating to young unmarried men, and applied to a very limited section of the population. The next Conscription Bill had another fortnight, or a longer period, during which the whole of the machinery was revised and gone over again in this House, and all kinds of further exemptions were inserted, as I remember very well, for I took a direct part in the Debates myself. Yet you now propose to rush upon Ireland, in one Clause, without giving us any information as to machinery, exemptions, or appeals, a measure which is to be forced upon the Irish people against the will of their representatives, and certainly against the will of nine-tenths of the population, who are bitterly opposed to it. No wonder the Irish people and you cannot get along together, and cannot understand each other. I say that if the Government had really and honestly decided that this thing had to be done 1727 in Ireland, then they ought to have come frankly and honestly to the House with an Irish Bill, and their first duty should have been to put up the Irish Secretary to say on what grounds the Government had decided to bring in the measure. I hope, therefore, that before the Debate concludes the Government will make up their minds to give us at least one full day more, so that we may have some opportunity of debating the details.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The discussion this afternoon has shown that in many quarters of the House there is a strong desire that the consideration of this Bill should be less inadequate, than would necessarily be the case in the exceedingly short time allowed by the Government in the time-table before us. The Leader of the House said the Bill had been most carefully considered by a Committee of the Cabinet, that the proposals in it they regarded as essential, and that therefore the House of Commons should be expected to accept them straight away. I do not think he really meant to put the matter quite so high as that; but, after all, the House of Commons has also its duty in connection with a Bill such as this where the fortunes and lives of hundreds of thousands of our fellow-subjects are directly concerned. There has been, I think, a very powerful case made out, in the speeches we have heard, for an extension of the time of discussion. For example, with respect to Clause 1, it raises not only a question of principle, but also many substantial questions of detail. If this guillotine Resolution is passed now, without further discussion, at 6 o'clock we should only have five hours for discussion of the many important matters embodied in Clause 1. There is also the Irish case, on which the hon. Member has told us there are really many vital matters to bring before us. I think the attitude of the House towards this question might be different if it knew what was the general disposition of the Government towards the Amendment which will be moved when we get into Committee. I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech was not intended to imply that they regard the terms of the Bill as sacrosanct, as not to be touched in any detail, and that even if there is a general feeling of the House that certain modifications should be made the Govern- 1728 ment is to be adamant on the question I hope the Home Secretary, when he answers, will be able to give us an assurance that on certain matters, at all events, the Government will be open to accept the general feeling of the House, and not to rule out as unacceptable any and every Amendment. Returning to the question of the time to be allotted, if the Government were able to give us at least one extra day next week, well and good. That, I thinks would be most suitable, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already told us—I do not know whether the Government is willing to change its mind—that it considers it essential that this Bill should be passed through this House by next Tuesday night, and that he is indisposed to consider any question of the extension of the time. If the Government adhere to that position—and I presume that there would not be a majority of the House to dislodge them from it—it remains for us to consider whether, consistently with that, it is possible to secure: the additional time that is needed. The hon. Member for Hexham and one or two others have suggested that, if necessary, the House should sacrifice its own convenience rather than rush through with insufficient discussion these important Clauses. The House is accustomed, when it sits on Fridays, to have a very short sitting from twelve until five. The sitting, to-morrow might, perhaps, if hon. Members agree that it is desirable, be prolonged to a later hour, which will give us twice as much time to-morrow as we should have under ordinary circumstances. Again, there is always the possibility of resorting in times of pressure to sitting on Saturdays.
I suggest for the consideration of the Government that if it is agreeable to the House generally both these proposals should be adopted. How that additional time should be allocated I think it would be better for the Government to propose. I should not like to take upon myself the responsibility of doing that. Indeed, it is no part of my duty to do so. I hope that since the suggestion does appear to command some measure of general assent the Government will agree to it and sit longer to-morrow, and have a Saturday sitting as well. There appear to be three alternatives open to us. One is to postpone the passage of the Bill by one or two days. To that the Government have definitely stated they cannot agree. The second is to pass the Bill at the breakneck 1729 speed which is suggested in the timetable which is now before us, and the third and only other alternative that occurs to me is that the House should sacrifice its own convenience and sit the additional days and hours I have suggested. In view of the gravity of the situation, on which the Government have dwelt, I earnestly hope they will not dismiss the third alternative.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I meant to make it clear to the House, in answer to an interruption while I was speaking, that, provided we could get the Bill on Tuesday, we were willing in every way to meet the convenience of the House. I feel most strongly that what we are asking the House now is a great deal. I have never concealed it. Under the circumstances, no one on this bench would have the smallest objection to sitting to any hour to which the House was willing to sit to get the Bill through. I am, therefore, quite ready on behalf of the Government to fall in with the suggestion of my right hon. Friend. What I propose is that we should sit to-morrow, beginning at twelve, until eleven, and sit on Saturday as if it were a Friday sitting; then we should have Monday and Tuesday to complete the remaining stages of the Bill.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I should be quite willing, if I thought there was a general desire for that, but I do not think it is desirable. If my suggestion meets the wishes of the House, the Home Secretary will at once put down an Amendment to carry it into effect. I should like to make a suggestion as to the way in which the time should be allotted. I have been discussing it with my right hon. Friend, and I feel that as much time as possible should be given to Clause 1, and if the suggestion I am making satisfies hon. Members, what I would suggest is that we should have the remainder of this sitting for Clause 1 and up to three o'clock to-morrow—that is, from twelve o'clock, or at whatever time questions finish, until three o'clock.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
There are some on the Paper, but I was going to add that until the War it was the usual custom of Ministers not to come down to answer questions on Fridays. I am inclined to think that is a good custom, and it is the custom, at all events, that we shall adopt 1730 to-morrow That, therefore, will leave three hours, in addition to to-night, for this Clause 1. Then I propose that the remainder of the day be given to the Irish Clause. That will mean eight hours. I would point out that the claim made by the hon. Member for East Mayo is not an unreasonable one in this respect, and I wish it were possible to give more time. We are not able to do it in any other way. I think, seeing that we are giving more than what is a full Parliamentary day, which would ordinarily only begin at four o'clock, and as we allow discussion on the Irish Clause to begin at three o'clock and go on until eleven, we are doing all that we can. It is, perhaps, not much, in view of the hon. Members' hostility to the whole principle. Then we propose that Saturday should be given exclusively to Clause 3, which gives the drastic powers to which I have referred. On Monday, the whole of the time up to 9.30 will be given to Clause 4, and the remainder of the time will be given to the other Clauses, in regard to which I do not think that there will be any desire for general discussion. I hope that what we have done will be regarded as meeting the general wishes to the greatest extent we can. This Amendment will at once be moved. I will move it now. [An HON. MEMBER: "You cannot!"] I will accept the suggestion, and move it immediately afterwards.
§ Mr. HEALY
I want to find out what is the foundation of the charge which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made as to the threatened obstruction of the Bill. The Amendment Paper of the House dissipates that charge. The hon. Gentleman who said he must fight it line by line and Clause by Clause has not even an Amendment on the Paper, and on the Irish Clause there are only fifteen Amendments, although the Irish Clause is a compendium of the whole English and Scottish Acts. Under these conditions, what is the justification for the time-table? I wish to state my own position in the matter. The right hon. Gentleman said that the justification for the time-table is the War Office. He is acting under the spell of the War Office. I could understand that at the beginning of the War, but now we are near the end of the fourth year of the War and we are coming under the influence of the most blundering Department of the Government. Forsooth, the right hon. Gentleman avows that if the War Office had its own way he would have instantly 1731 called together the House because of the failure of General Gough, although General Gough was appointed against the urgent protest of General Wilson. That protest was not written once, but twice, and with the knowledge of the War Office that General Gough never obeyed an order. This was the gentleman who mutinied at The Curragh, and they had not the courage to recall him. And now this House is having a time-table because General Gough has not carried out his time-table—where is his time-table?—and because of the incompetence of one man.
This House and this country of old renown for freedom is being placed in the most terrible position it was ever placed in for seven centuries. We are asked to chew the cud of this War Office time-table, which, the right hon. Gentleman admits, is the most drastic time-table ever proposed to a free Parliament. I would like to ask this question: Suppose we do swallow it and give the War Office the old bones which it is seeking of men between forty-two and fifty-six and the young men who are out in rebellion against His Majesty, and the men who are in gaols in Ireland and those who are prepared to go there, and the priests and bishops of Ireland, and the Papists in Mount Mellary? Every one of these, if this Bill passes next Wednesday, will be liable to military service. Indeed, there is not a Papist brother who, when he gets an order from his superior, who says to him, "Brother, do this," will reply, "Yes, corporal." Every curate in Ireland, half the bishops of Ireland, and half the parish priests of Ireland, will be members of the British Army next Wednesday. That is the Bill which the War Office is asking this House to swallow. That is the Bill which General Gough's friends want this House to swallow, and to swallow under the terms of a closure such as it is admitted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was never proposed in the history of Parliament.
I would quite agree, such is my sympathy with the conditions which exist, if the War Office would say to us, "Grant us this Bill, and there will be no more Goughs, no more blunders, no more retreats. We will be at the Rhine in a fortnight if we get this Bill." Where is the promise? Does anybody tell us that if we give you this Bill we shall be a bit nearer to Berlin at the end of 1918 than we were at the end of 1917? We were told by the 1732 right hon. Gentleman the late Prime Minister that the test of measures of this kind is, Is it worth while? The English people made an extraordinary demonstration of their courage and self-sacrifice on the occasion of the first Conscription, when hundreds of thousands of young men were taken. It is only now that we are beginning to understand the Gorman comment. "Yes," they said, "the English have courage and they have shown self-sacrifice. It takes one year to make an army, but it takes twenty years to make a General Staff." It is only now that we are beginning to understand that terrible truth, and accordingly when the House of Commons is asked by the War Office to take this direction and that direction from military cripples, I say this without hesitation, that there is not a competent man in any line of first-class business in this House who would not make a better general than some of the men that have turned tail towards the Germans One blunder has followed another, and we are now, at the instance of incompetents, to submit ourselves with bated breath and whispering humbleness when the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells us that the War-Office was in favour of calling Parliament together especially to pass this Bill. The Wax Office call Parliament together? It is we who should call the War Office together. I should like to see done what was done in the Duke of Wellington's time. I would like to see this House making a searching inquiry into these dunderheads in Whitehall. Let us see the men for whom we are asked to sacrifice our children; let us see the men. test their ability, and see what their records have been in the past. I will not obey the War Office It has no magical sound in my ears. To be told that Parliament is to be called together at the instance of the War Office. There is more ability in the little finger of the humblest Member of this House than there is in the whole squad of them. If we are to judge by results, and that is the test. I think the time has come when these gentlemen, erecting their proud crests against us and telling us we must finish this question of proclamation by 5 o'clock and some other question by 6 o'clock, and must settle whether the priests and the Trappists in Mount Mellary are to be corporals on Sunday or Monday, should be told that we will settle all these matters in our own way.
1733 I say the time has come for some little plain speaking on the part of those who represent the men who will be at the front while the War Office is still in Whitehall. Accordingly, I accept with satisfaction the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that he is going to give Saturday; and remember this. I know it is going to be given to English Members, and I do not quarrel with that in the least, because I cordially agree that the worst thing that you can do for the business people of this country and its industries would be to take away men of forty-five years of age up to fifty, who will be little or no good in the firing line, but who are absolutely essential ingredients in the conduct of trade and business, upon which taxation and everything else depends. Accordingly, when you say you are going to give Saturday to the English Members, I cordially agree. It is a most important subject. But let me tell English Members this, that they can get no satisfaction from the Government. I will tell them that in advance. They can get no satisfaction from the Government on this question of tribunals and of proclamations, because this Bill applies to Ireland. That is the secret of it. England is going to be injured as regards its businesses because you have not got the materials for setting up tribunals in Ireland; and the Government will not yield, though they pretend to give Saturday to the discussion of English Members. They will not yield, and they cannot yield, because they cannot, even the War Office cannot, devise one means of dealing with Englishmen and another of dealing with Irishmen.
There is not to-day an Irish regiment left in Ireland, and the tribunals which will be set up for us will all consist of military men. The extraordinary thing about the Scottish and English regiments coming to Ireland is that they all think they are coming on foreign service. They all think they are in a foreign country. They act as if they were in a foreign country, and when you are dealing with those delicate questions, such as the religious orders, curates and parish priests, the most bull-headed things is what they will do. It is necessary if this Bill is applied to Ireland that the drumhead courts-martial should be opened to deal with the Irish people, and accordingly the tribunals for England must be abolished, and in spite of the splendid appeal made yesterday by the Deputy-Chairman of Ways and Means the Government cannot yield to 1734 England because if they do they cannot have drumhead courts-martial in Ireland. Again, if you take the question of medical examination—
§ Mr. HEALY
I acknowledge the indulgence shown to me by you, and I, therefore, will only say that if the right hon. Gentleman wants to get the Bill through it is not by guillotine Resolutions that he will get it through. Let him drop a few words in the sense of yielding to the reasonable demands made just now by the late Home Secretary, who asked him if he considered these proposals sacrosanct. There was no reply.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for reminding me. We do not regard them as sacrosanct. What I said on the Second Reading I say now, and we are giving this extra time with the fullest intention of listening carefully to any suggestions which are made, and if we can adopt those which are desired by any large section of the House without depriving us of anything we consider essential, we shall be glad to do so.
§ Mr. HEALY
Three or four specific points have been put. The right hon. Gentleman has not said whether the Government would be prepared to accept Amendments, even with regard to the age limit. I think for English businesses the reduction of the age limit is absolutely essential. It does not affect Ireland so much. Then there is the other question as to Proclamation or Statute, and a third question is, Are you going to make rules different from all that Parliament has already enacted? For England these are the three main points. The right hon. Gentleman is in a difficulty. I beg of him to remember that nothing can justify these measures but success. Those who fail, or tie themselves to a Department which has failed, as the War Office has done, without making some attempt not to remedy service conditions, but to remedy the conditions of that body which claims sovereign power over the lives and souls of the people—statesmen who pin themselves to that body—are taking a disastrous step.
§ Mr. DILLON
This proposal is described as a Government concession. I do not think it is any concession at all. It is preposterous. It is a grotesque response to the appeal which I made, which, indeed. was a moderate appeal, that Friday should be given to a discussion of the principle 1735 of the application of this Act, and the circumstances under which it is proposed to apply it to Ireland; that one full day of Parliamentary time should be given to a discussion of the whole of the machinery in view of the fact that in the three previous Acts applied to England we took a fortnight for each of them. I ask for one day, and you will not give it. Any attempt on the part of the Leader of the House to put his proposal forward as a reasonable concession is absolutely grotesque.
§ Question, "That the word 'Three' ['Three allotted days'] stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.
§ Proposed word "Four" there inserted.
§ Further Amendments made: In Table, Committee stage, column 3, line 1, leave out "11."
§ After line 1, insert
§ In column 1, line 2, leave out the word "Second."
§ In column 1, line 3, insert the word "Third."
§ In column 3, line 3, leave out "6," and insert "11."
§ In column 1, leave out the word "Third," and insert instead thereof the word "Fourth."
§ In paragraph (2) [Report stage and Third Reading], leave out the word "fourth" ["fourth allotted day"], and insert instead thereof the word "fifth."— [Sir G. Cave.]
§ Mr. HOLT
I beg to move to leave out "5" ["Provided that 5 p.m. shall be substituted for 11 p.m."], in order to insert instead thereof "4."
Might it not be more convenient to the House to sit on Saturday from eleven till four instead of from twelve till five? It would be convenient to a good many people. It being Saturday it may make a great deal of difference to those who want to get away by train for the Sunday.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I hope the hon. Member opposite will not press his Amendment. Seeing that we are going to sit on Saturday—and I would sit on Sunday, if neces-sary—why should not Saturday be like an ordinary day? If we get done by five o'clock, by all means let us go home; but, if the business is not finished, let us con- 1736 tinue the discussion. If the need is urgent, why not go on? What is the use of Members asking for it to be made convenient for them to get home by train? I would give the greatest assistance to the Government now that they have given us this concession. I would suggest to the Leader of the House to put down a Motion to-suspend the Five o' Clock Rule on Saturday, if necessary. What is the use of sitting on Saturday if you take one or two hours off it?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Further Amendments made:
§ Leave out the words "Friday, and the Third allotted day shall not be a Friday," and insert instead thereof the word "Saturday."
§ Leave out the words "for that purpose" ["under this Order proceedings for that purpose"], and insert instead thereof the words "on the Bill."—[Sir G. Cave.]
§ Ordered, "That the Committee stage, Report stage, and the Third Reading of the Military Service Bill shall, unless previously disposed of, be proceeded with and brought to a conclusion at the times and in the manner hereinafter mentioned":
§ (1) Committee Stage.
§ Four allotted days shall be given to the Committee stage of the Bill, and the proceedings on each of those days shall be as shown in the second column of the table annexed to this paragraph, and those proceedings shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at the time shown in the third column of that table, and on the conclusion of the Committee stage the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without Question put.
|Allotted Day.||Proceedings to be brought to a conclusion if not previously disposed of.||Time for Proceedings to be brought to a conclusion.|
|Remaining (Clauses and Schedules and any other matter necessary to bring the Committee stage to a conclusion||11|
§ (2) Report Stage and Third Reading. The Report Stage and the Third Reading shall be proceeded with and brought to a conclusion on the fifth allotted day, and the proceedings on that day shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at 11 p.m.
§ After this Order conies into operation any day shall be considered an allotted day for the purposes of this Order on which the Bill is put down as the first Order of the Day and then proceeded with.
§ Provided that 5 p.m. shall be substituted for 11 p.m. as respects any allotted day which is a Saturday.
§ For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion on an allotted day and have not previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall, at the time appointed under this Order for the conclusion of those proceedings, put forthwith the Question on any Amendment or Motion already proposed from the Chair, and shall next proceed successively to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments, new Clauses, or new Schedules moved by the Government of which notice has been given, but on no other Amendments, new Clauses, or new Schedules, and on any Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded, and in the case of Government Amendments or of Government new Clauses or new Schedules, he shall put only the Question that the Amendment be made or that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill, as the case may be.
§ The Chair shall. have power to select the Amendments to be proposed on any allotted day, and Standing Order No. 26 shall apply as if a Motion had been carried under paragraph 3 of that Standing Order empowering the Chair to select the Amendments with respect to each Motion, Clause, or Schedule under debate on that day.
§ When the Order of the Day is read for the House to resolve itself into Committee on the Bill, Mr. Speaker shall leave the Chair without putting any Question, notwithstanding that notice of an Instruction has been given.
§ Any Private Business which is set down for consideration at 8.15 p.m. and any Motion for Adjournment under Standing Order No. 10 on an allotted day shall, on that day, instead of being taken as provided by the Standing orders, be taken after the conclusion of the proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order on that day, and any Private Business or Motion for Adjournment so taken may be proceeded with, though opposed, notwithstanding any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House.
§ On any day on which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order proceedings on the Bill shall not be interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House.
§ On any day on which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order no dilatory Motion on the Bill, nor Motion to recommit the Bill, nor Motion that the Chairman do report progress or do leave the Chair, shall be received unless moved by the Government, and the Question on such Motion shall be put forthwith without any Debate.
§ Nothing in this Order shall—
- (a) prevent any proceedings which under this Order are to be concluded on any
1738 particular day or at any particular time being proceeded with on any other day or at any other time, or necessitate any particular day or part of a particular day being given to any such proceedings if the proceedings to be concluded have been otherwise disposed of; or
- (b) prevent any other business being proceeded with on any particular day, or part of a particular day, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House, after any proceedings to be concluded under this Order on that particular day, or part of a particular day, have been disposed of.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ [Sir DONALD MACLEAN in the Chair.]