HL Deb 21 March 1893 vol 10 cc621-2

called attention to the delay which had occurred in the circulation of the scheme for Secondary Education in the county of Carnarvon under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889, and asked the Lord President of the Council whether any Address to Her Majesty for the disallowance of that scheme might not, in consideration of the delay, be deferred till after the Easter Recess? The scheme was presented to the House on the 9th February, and in the other House on the same night. It was circulated in the House of Commons on the 3rd March, and to their Lordships on the 18th March; a delay of 37 days, and only 16 days before the Recess, leaving only six days for consideration. The Legislature intended that these schemes should be known to and considered by Parliament for at least two months, and the few days he had mentioned was far too short a time for the consideration of so important and intricate a scheme as this. Possibly, the delay would be said to have been caused by the Stationery Office. In the University of Scotland Act, and other measures, provision was made that any time of prorogation or adjournment should not be counted, and if that were so in the present case, sufficient time would be given after the Easter Recess to consider the scheme and take action upon it. Behind the Stationery Office, on whom blame was sometimes laid, stood their great master the Treasury, and he was quite certain that if better arrangements were made by the Treasury as to the printing for that House no cause of complaint would be given by the Stationery Office.


My Lords, I entirely con- cur with the last remark of the noble Lord—namely, that it is very desirable that the arrangements as to printing should be put upon a better footing, because I cannot understand why this scheme, which was duly presented to this House, and sent to the Queen's Printers on the same day, was not printed until long afterwards. It was distributed in the House of Commons, as the noble Lord has said, on the 3rd March, but not in this House until the 18th. I have no control over the Stationery Office, and really they have nothing to do with it. This is entirely a question for the Queen's Printers, and I most heartily desire that some better arrangement should be made with them, if it can be made. The procedure to which the noble Lord referred was regulated by Section 15 of the Endowed Schools Act, 1873 (amending Section 41 of the Endowed Schools Act, 1869), which provides, in effect, that, unless an Address is presented by one or other of the two Houses of Parliament within two months of the date at which the scheme is laid before this House, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty to approve the scheme. No power to extend this period of two months is given by the Act. It should be observed that when, in 1873, it was desired to extend this period in regard to certain schemes then before Parliament an Act of Parliament was passed for the purpose—namely, the Endowed Schools (Time of Address) Act, 1873 (36 Viet. cap. 7).


asked, with regard to schemes having lain on the Table for a certain number of days, how did the days count?


The days count according to the order in which and the time when they are laid on the Table of the House.