§ Bill read 3a (according to Order).
§ LORD PLAYFAIR
desired to explain before this Bill went to another place the attitude of the Government in regard to it. As he had stated on Second Reading, there were three Bills before the House of Commons with this important object—one introduced by Government, another which was now introduced before their Lordships by Lord Onslow, but known in the other House as Sir John Lubbock's Bill, and the third by Mr. Butcher and Sir John Gorst. The Government approving entirely of the object of this Bill had, therefore, offered no opposition to it, and it went down to the House of Commons in exactly the same state as it left that House, without a single line or word of it altered. But although the Government could not oppose the Bill, approving of its object, they did not consider it equal to the Government measure in the other House. It was more stringent and less elastic. Therefore, although it had received their Lordships' approbation, the Government did not consider it their duty to give it priority in the other House. It was proposed that all three Bills should be referred to the Grand Committee for the purpose of selecting the best parts of each in order to make a practicable working measure.
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
said, he quite understood the attitude of the Government on this important subject. A deputation waited on the President of the Board of Trade a short time ago, and the answer then given practically explained the attitude of the Government. They had placed a block against the other two Bills in the House of Commons, not objecting to the principle 1222 involved in them, but desiring to act as starters in a race, and to allow no Bill to get a start of the others; but if the Government, with the command of time in the other House, did not choose to give priority either to their own Bill or to this Bill, the responsibility for the failure to pass any Bill would rest upon them. He moved an Amendment to carry out the views expressed by the Lord Chancellor in Standing Committee, by providing that a certain proceeding should be takenon the application of either of the parties, if the High Court or a Judge shall in their or his discretion think fit,instead of on the order of the High Court or of a Judge.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.