§ House in Committee (according to Order).
§ LORD ASHBOURNE
drew attention to the marvellous and exceptional rapidity with which this Bill was pushed through the House. He was not unfriendly to the Bill, as he had shown on 1235 the Second Reading, when, although it had not been circulated, he took no objection to it. Neither would he offer objection now in Committee, for it was supported by many sections in Ireland. He did not wish it, however, to suffer from any carelessness in drafting. It had been nobody's child in particular, and possibly some carelessness might have been shown in the drafting. He would not discuss its merits, but had noticed that it placed strict limits with regard to rating for public libraries in Ireland. A limit of 1d. was to be fixed; then in certain cases it was to be ½d. or ¾d. carefully worked out. But now the limit was gone altogether, as the Bill was introduced into their Lordships' House from the Commons, for power was given to the Local Authority to alter the maximum and entirely take it away. Under the circumstances, he would not oppose the Bill going before the Standing Committee at the earliest possible moment; but he would invite the noble Lord, when it did so, to ask whoever was responsible for the details of the Bill, to look up the matter and furnish the necessary information on that point. It might be there was a perfectly good explanation, but on the face of it the matter required examination. An explanation satisfactory to the noble Lord himself would be sufficient, no doubt, for the other Members of the Committee, and on the understanding that that explanation would be given he would not oppose the Bill going at once to Standing Committee.
THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (Lord TWEEDMOUTH)
said, the passage of the Bill through the House of Commons was so extraordinary an instance of absolute unanimity among Irish Members that when he was asked to take charge of it he could but endeavour to press it through as rapidly as possible. With regard to the drafting of the Bill and the consideration it received in the Commons, he would remind the House that it was there referred to a Select Committee, by whom it was most carefully considered. Consequently the drafting now differed considerably, but he would be happy to assist the noble and learned Lord in making the Bill as perfect as possible, and, should he be unable to give the desired information, would consent to postpone the Committee stage for a week.
§ LORD ASHBOURNE
said, he would be absolutely satisfied if the noble Lord would get a Memorandum from those responsible for the financial details of the Bill, saying that this was reasonable and right. An explanation satisfactory to the noble Lord would satisfy everybody interested in the matter.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; and re-committed to the Standing Committee.