HC Deb 11 February 1920 vol 125 cc68-9

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That no Bills, other than Government Bills, be introduced in anticipation of the ballot, and that all Members who desire to ballot, whether for Bills or for Motions for Tuesday, 17th February, and Tuesday, 24th February, and Wednesday, 18th February, and Wednesday, 25th February, do hand in their names at the Table during the sitting of the House on Tuesday, 10th February, or Wednesday, 11th February, and that a copy of the Notice of such Bill or Motion be handed in at the latest during the sitting of the House on Thursday, 12th February:

That the ballot for the precedence of the said Bills and Motions he taken on Thursday, 12th February, at a convenient time and place, to be appointed by Mr. SPEAKER, and that the presentation of Bills on Friday, 13th February, be taken as soon after Twelve of the Clock as Mr. SPEAKER may deem convenient."—[Mr. Bonar Law.]


As far as I have been able to ascertain this is a return to the pre-war practice. I welcome it as a first instalment of the initiation, as I hope, as far as it can be done, of the reversion to the former practice of the House on the part of the Government in allowing private Members as much time as possibly can be given, as was done in the days prior to August, 1914. I would ask my right hon. friend whether, so far as he is now able to see, there will be no unusual request on the part of the Government between now and Easter for the time which may come to private members under the existing rules of the House.

Mr. BONAR LAW (Leader of the House)

My right hon. Friend has interpreted the Motion correctly. It is an exact return to the pre-war practice, but I do not agree with him that it is the first step which the Government have made in that respect. We have as quickly as we could got back to the old arrangement. As the House knows Easter is very early this year. We were in doubt as to whether it would be possible to get through the necessary financial business before Easter, which I think is on the 31st of March. We have decided, however, that as the House desires that private Members should have all the available time, we would make arrangements on that basis. Of course, if it should be found, which I do not expect, essential to impose any restrictions in order to get through the necessary financial business we should ask the House to give us the time that may be required, but I do not anticipate that this will be necessary.

Question put, and agreed to.


In accordance with the Resolution which has just been passed. I have to announce that the ballot will take place to-morrow at 12 o'clock, in No. 10 Committee Room.