HC Deb 23 July 1918 vol 108 cc1758-9

Bill reported, without Amendment.

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


I wish to raise a protest. The Government are in possession of the whole time of the House, and they do not allow private Members to put down a Motion or bring in a Bill of any description, and that has been so for a very long time. It is all very well for my right hon. Friend to say there is no objection to this Bill. How does he know? No Member of the House can put down an Amendment to the Committee stage until after the Second Reading, and in the old days, when a controversial Bill passed the Second Reading it was a very familiar sight to see a file of Members waiting to hand in their Amendments, and that could not be done until after the Bill had been read a second time. There are no members of the legal profession at present in the House, apart from those on the Government Bench, whom we are glad to see, although they come so seldom. I am sure that other members of the legal profession in the House were not aware that the Bill would be taken beyond the Second Heading. It might be that some of them would have put Amendments down, but no chance was given. My right hon. and learned Friend might have satisfied himself. If he can assure the House that he has some means of knowing, of course I will give way, but I do want him to recognise that, when the Government has the whole tune of the House, and has been spending days and weeks upon matters which have nothing to do with the War, and cannot come into operation for years after the War, it is not unreasonable to ask them to adhere to the Rules of the House, and take Bills stage by stage. I can quite understand that if, on the Committee stage, there is no Amendment, and, of course, in that case there is no Report stage, we may take the Third Reading, but I cannot understand rushing through the stages after the Second Reading without giving any chance for Amendments to be put down. It may be that my right hon. and learned Friend is quite convinced that the Bill meets with unanimous acceptance. If so, I will accept his assurance.


It is said that no indication was offered that this Bill would go through all its stages to-night. I might point out that no indication was offered that anybody would think it night upon this Bill to raise any objection. This Bill is simple, clear, and obvious, and I am not going to repeat what I said upon the last stages. I cannot conceive that there is any Member of this House who, except for mere purposes of controversy, or for mere purposes of wasting time, or for the mere purpose of hearing his own voice, would raise any objection to this reasonable relief to the articled clerks of solicitors.


We have not had a chance.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly road the third time, and passed.