HL Deb 27 July 1874 vol 221 cc754-6

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, observed that the noble Duke the Lord President had very properly said the other day that he disapproved Bills being brought in which were not intended to pass. He must apologize to their Lord-ships for bringing in this Bill at such a late period of the Session; but the subject it proposed to deal with was a very difficult and a very important one, and it really was almost impossible for him to bring it in sooner. However, it was a Bill which was meant to pass, and he could not expect, as a private Member of the House, to pass it in one Session, even if he had been able to bring it in sooner; and so he had thought it best to ask their Lordships to read the Bill a second time, in order that it might be well considered throughout the country during the winter, and that he might be able to bring in a Bill, drafted in the most complete manner, early next Session. He was aware that, short as the Bill was, it had its faults in detail, and he had no doubt whatever he could frame a Bill far more complete, far more satisfactory, by postponing it till another year; but it would secure a full discussion during the Recess if it were read a second time. He did not even wish to pledge their Lordships to the principle of the Bill, except to the extent that legislation of late years had taken the right direction on this question, and that if a satisfactory plan could be proposed, they would not be unwilling to entertain it, particularly after what he had said as to the probability of its being made a far better Bill by giving more time for the consideration of its provisions. Some noble Lords might say it would establish the principle of the Bill to the full extent to read it a second time. If it were the general opinion of the House that such a course would establish the principle of the Bill to a greater extent than was desirable at the present time, he would withdraw it at once; but being anxious to have it fully discussed, to gain opinions from all quarters, so that he might bring in a complete measure, he should be extremely glad to have it read a second time. All he could say was, he believed the feeling of the country generally would be in favour of the change, even if some large towns were not so. He hoped their Lordships would allow him to withdraw the Bill, if they would not allow it to be read a second time, for he had but one object in view—to be of service in the matter, and it might prejudice the full discussion of the question next year, were the Motion negatived. The Bill was simply intended to make an alteration as far as the removal of paupers was concerned, and to improve the operation of the Poor Law generally. This was a question which had cropped up from time to time, and no doubt legislation tended in the direction the Bill took. Within a short period, the time when a pauper was irremovable had been reduced from five to three years, and from three years to one year. These changes had caused little, if any inconvenience, and the change proposed now was proposed in 1865 by Mr. Henley, whose judgment could hardly be disputed in matters of this kind—even before the changes in question had been fully tried. The Bill was simply to do away with removal, and not to deal with the law of settlement of the poor. The clauses were based on 9 and 10 Vic. cap. 66—the Act which was, perhaps, the most important of all the Acts in the present state of the law. The Bill only sought to do away with removal in England, leaving Ireland and Scotland un-touched. Of course, that would affect the law of settlement, but although some thought it did so altogether, he maintained removal and settlement were two distinct questions in many respects. With these remarks he would ask their Lordships to read the Bill a second time, and he, on his part, would undertake to place the matter in a proper form before the House, to the best of his ability, next Session.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Henniker.)


said, he would ask his noble Friend not to press the second reading. Except under very special circumstances, it was not desirable to read a Bill a second time if there was no intention of proceeding with it till another Session. He saw no object in reading this Bill a second time in the present Session; but he saw great inconvenience attending such a course. Though the Bill was a small one, it treated with a part of what was a very large subject. Other questions besides that of removal would have to be considered in dealing with it. He did not think their Lordships should commit themselves to the principle of the Bill; and they would be doing so if they gave it a second reading. He would therefore recommend his noble Friend to withdraw the Bill.

Lord EGERTON OF TATTON and Earl FORTESOUE concurred in the request that the Bill should be withdrawn for the present Session.



Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.

Order for the Second Reading discharged; Bill withdrawn. House adjourned at half-past Six o'clock, 'till To-morrow, a quarter before Five o'clock.