HL Deb 01 April 1884 vol 286 cc1255-6

inquired of Her; Majesty's Government, Whether, in consideration of the present system of transacting the Public Business, it might not; be expedient to introduce such Bills as did not interfere with the Privileges of the House of Commons or touch the imposition of taxation, more frequently in the first instance into the House of Lords? The noble Lord said, he asked; this Question because he found in Her Majesty's Speech a large number of Government Bills mentioned, and he supposed that the Government intended to proceed with them during the Session, and carry them through Parliament. They had now arrived at the end of the second month of the Session, and, with the exception of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill, they had had no measure of any importance introduced for their consideration in that House. He thought that there were a good many questions brought forward in Her Majesty's Speech which they might fairly claim to have had brought under their consideration in the first instance. The result of the present system was that the Empire was deprived of a part of its legislative force. He did not lay claim to any spirit of prophecy; but no one could shut his eyes to the fact that there was a movement going on around them of unknown forces in unforeseen directions, and he thought that their Lordships would do well not to overlook the tendency of the public mind.


in reply, said, he feared that the answer he was about to give would hardly be satisfactory to his noble Friend, although he quite sympathized with the object of the noble Lord's Question. The fact was that for 25 years, whenever he had been in Office, he had had to answer the same sort of Question at least once, and generally twice in the Session. He never omitted any opportunity of impressing upon his Colleagues the question of whether some particular measure might not be introduced into their Lordships' House. He did not believe that there was any disinclination on the part of his Colleagues to take that course; but, somehow or other, there was always a reason given why it was more advantageous that a particular Bill should be introduced into the other House. He did not think that this was attributable to any prejudice on the part of the present Administration, for he remembered that some 30 years ago Lord Aberdeen, in answering that identical Question, had said that he had heard that Question asked in the House of Lords 50 years before. That being so, he thought there must be some idea that important measures were not so well received when they came down from their Lordships' House as when they were specially introduced into the other House in the first instance.