HC Deb 30 January 1918 vol 101 cc1562-92

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."


In the course of the Debate on the Franchise Bill a very important question relating to proportional representation may arise, and any decision the House might come to upon that question might affect this Bill. Accordingly I suggest that the Third Reading of this measure should be postponed until after the Lords Amendments to the Representation of the People Bill have been disposed of.


I wish to support the suggestion which has just been made by the hon. and learned Member opposite. It seems to me that as the House has not taken its final decision upon proportional representation, it would be premature to take the Third Reading of this Bill to-day. There is a further consideration which I think is relevant, and it is that already this House has decided in favour of the application of proportional representation to Ireland as an area to which it is peculiarly suitable. In these circumstances, I think the Third Reading might be held over.

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir George Cave)

This Bill was taken in Committee yesterday, and it is only in Committee that any proposals can be made for proportional representation. I think it will be convenient that the Bill should pass this House now, and I have not the least doubt that whatever decision is come to by this House on proportional representation it will be reflected in the action which will be taken in another place in regard to this Bill. I think that would be a much more convenient course, and it would save time.


The reply of the Home Secretary does not appear to me to be adequate, and there is no reason why we should not keep this Bill still within the powers of this House. The Bill might be recommitted, in order that it may be put into line with any proposals made in regard to the Representation of the People Bill, and then it might go to another place, and it would certainly pass there without any delay.


I would like to ask, Mr. Speaker, is it possible to recommit a Bill when you have put the Question from the Chair "That the Bill be read the third time"?


That Question is open to amendment.


I appeal to the Government to give way on this point. I am sure it would not cause any serious delay to the measure or to the closing of the Session. I think we ought to keep whatever power we can in our own hands, and I strongly appeal to the Government to give way.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.