HC Deb 20 February 1919 vol 112 cc1253-4

The following Motion stood on the Paper in the name of Mr. BONAR LAW: At end of paragraph (2) to add as a new paragraph—

"(3) A Motion may be made by a Member in charge of a Bill (the assent of the Chair as aforesaid not having been withheld) that the Chairman do forthwith Report the Bill with or without Amendments to the House, or if the Bill be under consideration on Report, that the Bill be ordered to be read the third time, as the case may be, and the Question upon any such Motion shall be put forthwith and decided without Amendment or Debate."


I said to the hon. Gentleman behind me that when we came to this proposal I should have something to say to the House. We are dealing with the difficulties, mainly, of the present Session, and the present congestion of business, and I am quite sure that, in the ordinary sense, we have not to guard against obstruction. Therefore, our proposals are really made, not so much for meeting obstruction as for facilitating business. This proposal was not intended by us to take away from the liberties of ordinary Members, but I should like new Members especially to realise the power in this House of individuals, and the extent to which that overrides on particular occasions the whole sense of the House of Commons. For instance, I have had a great deal of experience of this during the War. We knew that the House of Commons was in favour absolutely of particular pro- posals—for instance, the Consolidated Fund Bill and the Votes on Account. I had the experience two or three times of sitting on this Bench with only, perhaps, ten or twelve of our supporters here, and so had no power of using the Closure, and had to depend on the goodwill of particular individuals whether or not we got a Bill, which ninety-eight out of a hundred Members wished to get. I had to wait till the last moment to and out whether we could get that Bill or not. This proposal was intended to meet a case of that kind, but we have come to the conclusion that, with the facilities the House has already given, we shall be enabled to get our work without it, and I am, therefore, not going to move it.