§ Mr. GILBERT
(by Private Notice) asked the Leader of the House whether he can state, for the convenience of London and other Members who are interested in it, if it is intended to take the London Electric Railway Company's Fares Bill at 8.15 p.m. to-morrow (Thursday) as printed on the Order Paper?
Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, may I ask if he is aware that this Bill affects the interests of the men, who have effected a settlement, though the money has not been paid? The management say they cannot and will not pay until this Bill has been debated in Parliament, and the men have decided that unless they receive their wages next week there will be no traffic during the holidays? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
As my hon. Friend is aware, Bills of this kind are set down 424 by the Chairman of Way and Means; the Government are not responsible for them. I understand, however, that the reason the Bill was set down for tomorrow was that my right hon. Friend recognises the urgency of it. In the ordinary course it could only be taken at 11 o'clock at the end of the discussion on the Consolidated Fund Bill. I trust that discussion will be completed by 8.15; if not, I hope hon. Members will remain so that the matter can be thoroughly discussed.
May I say, so that there may be no misunderstanding, that I expressed no opinion as to the wisdom or—[Interruption.]
It is the common property of the management that I have done nothing but try to avert trouble, but, knowing that this resolution had been passed, ought I not to avail myself of the opportunity of telling the House of it?
§ The CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS (Mr. Whitley)
May I make an appeal to the House in this matter? This Bill has been postponed three or four times to meet the convenience of, in particular, the London Members. It really is an urgent matter that the House should come to a conclusion upon the Second Reading and not postpone the matter further, or until after Easter. In the ordinary course it would have come on at 8.15, but for the resolution of the House which has given precedence to the Consolidated Fund Bill. I trust that hon. Members will be ready, if necessary, to give a short space of time extra in order that the Second Reading may be disposed of, and, if thought fit, the Bill sent upstairs to be properly examined before we adjourn for the Recess.
Sir J. D. REES
Does not this Bill indirectly affect all the constituencies', and may I ask the Leader of the House whether an effort will be made to have 425 it debated at 8. 15, and not put off till after 11 o'clock?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
My hon. Friend has probably forgotten the arrangement come to by the House in regard to finance. This Bill can only be taken at 8.15 if the discussion on the Consolidated Fund Bill ends before that time.