§ Mr. CLYNES
Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill, Second Reading. At 8.15, Private Business, the Lanarkshire Hydro-Electric Power Bill. Then Orders Nos. 2 to 5 inclusive, as on the Order Paper, namely, National Health Insurance Bill, Committee; Arbitration Clauses (Protocol) Bill, Report; China Indemnity (Application) Bill, Report; and Workmen's Compensation (Silicosis) Bill, Second Reading. These Orders were announced as the business for last night, when I made an announcement on business last Friday.
I should like further to add that on Wednesday we shall take the Housing Bill, Lords Amendments; Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill, Third Reading—when the subjects, as we understand, will be Russia and tuberculosis; it is the same party that has given notice of the two subjects—and the Agricultural Wages Bill, Lords Amendments.
On Thursday, the Motion for Adjournment will be taken, when a statement will be made on Ireland.
§ Mr. HANNON
Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to take the Second Reading of the Irish Free State Land Purchase (Loan Guarantee) Bill this week?
§ Major COLFOX
Has the right hon. Gentleman any intention of keeping a House to-night, or is he going to let it lapse again?
§ Mr. MAXTON
I would like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, if there is any precedent in this House for the Chairman of Ways and Means taking 2¾ hours, as he did yesterday evening, and 2¾ hours, as he proposes to do again this evening, out of this time, which is one of the most valuable times that private Members have in this House, for the sake of pushing through two Private Bills? I want you, Sir, to inform us whether there has been any precedent for this being done at the close of any other Session.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Chairman of Ways and Means is charged by the House with the control of the Private Business of the House. In that, he has certain duties to perform, in which he is entirely independent. The matter rests wholly in his discretion, and it is not a matter of which the Speaker has any knowledge, or over which he has any control.
§ Mr. W. THORNE
Is it not a fact that it is due to their own fault, because Members on this side have been blocking the Bills day after day?
§ Mr. MAXTON
The blocking of Private Bills of this nature is one of the rights of private Members. On that ruling, I would assume that the Chairman of Ways and Means, in his conduct in that position, is guided, as you are, Mr. Speaker, in a great many eases, by the precedents that have been established in this House, and the point that I am putting before you is as to whether there is any precedent for this time being taken by the Chairman of Ways and Means, in the closing days of the Session, that are devoted to the Appropriation Bill.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I cannot answer that question. I only know that, just, before the Recess, it has frequently been necessary to press on the Private Business. But, as I have said, the matter is wholly outside my control, and the Chairman is acting in pursuance of the duties placed upon him by the House.