HC Deb 28 February 1918 vol 103 c1583

Could the Leader of the House say what will be the business for next week?


On Monday, the first business will be a Motion for a Grant to the widow of the late General Sir Stanley Maude; afterwards, Navy and Army Supplementary Estimates, Reports; Intermediate Education, Ireland, Report; Overseas Trade Department, Report; Trustee Savings Bank Bill.

On Tuesday, the business will be to get the Speaker out of the Chair on the Navy Estimates.

Wednesday, Votes A and I Navy Estimates.

Thursday, Vote of Credit.


Arising out of a question of procedure, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for your counsel on a matter which, I think, is a point of order, namely, whether, as at present understood, we have an official or semi-official Opposition? The point is this, that if there be an Opposition it is customary either for the Opposition to lead off or the Treasury Bench to lead off in Debate. Why does it happen on important Debates that when a speech has been made from the Opposition Bench and has been replied to by the Treasury Bench, the Government practically deserts the Treasury Bench as if the business for the day has finished? They are not here to listen to the arguments which have not been covered, as was the case yesterday, by the able speech of the right hon. Member for Cleveland (Mr. H. Samuel), touching very essential points, even points not raised by the speech of the Leader of the House —points which demand an answer and which cannot be answered from that bench because the Government are not there to listen to them?


The hon. Member seems, under the guise of a point of Order, to be making a speech which he wished to make last night. It is not for me to say whether there is an Opposition or not.