§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the remaining stages of the Constabulary and Police (Ireland—No. 2) Bill may be taken immediately after the Bill has been reported from the Committee, notwithstanding the practice of the House relating to the interval between the various stages of such a Bill."—[Mr. Shortt.]
§ Mr. DILLON
Are we not entitled to point out the extreme inconvenience and unusual character of the Motion on the Paper which we are now asked to pass in respect to a very important Bill which ought to have been introduced at an earlier stage, so that we might have an opportunity of addresseing all-important matters to the Chief Secretary during the later stages of the Bill?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The remaining stages of the Bill, according to this Motion, are to be taken to-day instead of Monday. That is all that this Motion means. The merits of the Bill can hardly be discussed upon that. When we get into Committee on the Bill there will be ample opportunity to discuss the merits of the Bill, or again on the Report stage, or again on the Third Reading stage.
§ Mr. BRADY
Would it not be open for us to discuss all these matters on the question of urgency in bringing this Motion on to-day, because the right hon. Gentleman has Monday and Tuesday at his disposal for the purpose of passing the remaining stages of this Bill, assuming that he gets his Committee stage to-day? If he has not already communicated to the Treasury the views expressed by hon. Members of all shades of opinion from Ireland on this question last night, it would enable him 3120 to do so if he would agree to postpone the Third Reading until Monday. I do not see what great necessity there is for getting all the remaining stages of this Bill to-day. I should have thought the Committee stage to-day would have advanced the matter sufficiently, and he could get the Third Reading, which should not take very long, on Monday.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It would be necessary in that case to have the Report stage on Monday and the Third Reading on Tuesday.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Shortt)
I hope that the House will now agree to this Resolution. It is very important that this Bill should be passed at the earliest possible moment. I am very anxious that the Bill should not be dropped. There can be no reason why this Resolution should not be passed. If in the course of debate it appears to be necessary to postpone the Third Reading until Monday, that can always be done.
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us now the result of his interview with the Treasury?
§ Mr. DILLON
With regard to this Bill there is an all-important point in dispute. On one side are all the representatives of Ireland without a single exception, and on the other side are the Chief Secretary and the Treasury. This attempt to rush the Bill through all its stages to-day looks very much as if they want to close off discussion. It is our duty to keep the matter open as long as we see any hope of getting what is undoubtedly justice for a body of men in a defenceless position. The right hon. Gentleman can get the Committee stage to-day, the Report stage on Monday, and the Third Reading on Tuesday, as the House is going to sit until Wednesday. There is no question of a long discussion, as it cannot last more than half an hour or an hour on each stage. We are bound to stand upon our rights and to continue the discussion as to whether we cannot leave the door open for the Chief Secretary to see the Treasury and endeavour to get this measure of justice done.
§ Mr. MOONEY
Is it not a fact that under the ordinary Rules of the House an ordinary Bill can be taken through all its stages if there is unanimity, but that a Bill founded on a Money Resolution, as a matter of practice, cannot be taken if any Member of the House objects? And in view of the fact that all the Members from Ireland have been urging on the Treasury that they should adopt a certain course, and have been trying to get an answer from the right hon. Gentleman as to what the Treasury have done, they object to this proposal until they have got an answer. The point is that according to the practice of the House, as I understand it, we cannot possibly take all the stages of a Bill founded on a Money Resolution.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
You cannot take any two stages of a Bill founded upon a Resolution of the House on the same day. If no Motion accelerating the Bill is passed by the House, it means that to-day we shall discuss the Committee stage, that there will be the Report stage on Monday, and that the Third Reading will be taken on Tuesday. What will happen to the Bill after that, heaven only knows!
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)
May I point out that this matter is not so simple as the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo would indicate. If this were the only Bill, it is quite likely that this course might not be necessary, but, with his experience of the House, the hon. Member knows that there is great danger at the last moment of the Session of Bills being dropped. All we ask at this stage is that it should be optional, if the House so agrees, to take all stages to-day. Of course if, in the course of the discussion, there is any evidence that any advantage would be gained by postponing the Third Reading, that would be carefully considered. But I may point out that it does not settle the question because all the Members from Ireland are agreed.
§ Question put, and agreed to.