§ Motion made, "That this Bill be now read a third time."—(The Marquess of Ripon.)
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
Last week I addressed one or two questions to the Government on the Second Reading of the Bill, and no reply was made at the time. I would just reiterate that it seems. to me that, in regard to that portion of the Bill which involves an increase in the Council of India, no case whatever has been made out for it. On the contrary, the Council at present is supposed to have twelve members, but in point of fact for several years it has not had more than eleven and usually ten. At this moment there are only nine, although the Secretary of State has recently made two appointments and has a third vacancy which would enable him to make another appointment besides the two native Indians. I venture to urge upon your Lordships and upon the Government that it is extremely undesirable to dilute the Council and dilute their responsibility, and I think a very clear case ought to be made out both for the increase of members and the decrease of pay, which forms a complete change in the Act of 1858. We have practically had in this House no explanation of the necessity for this particular change, although there are other changes made 431 in the Bill which have been recognised to be advantageous. I should be glad to know whether the noble Marquess has had an opportunity of consulting the Secretary of State, and, if not, whether he would consider the advisability of ascertaining whether this considerable change should be completed without further consideration.
§ THE MARQUESS OF RIPON
I have not had an opportunity of personally communicating with Mr. Morley, because he has been out of town for a few days, but I have written to him. I expect he will return almost immediately, and I am quite ready to put off the Third Reading of the Bill till Monday if that will be convenient to the noble Viscount.
Third Reading put off to Monday next.