HL Deb 20 August 1907 vol 181 cc429-30

Amendment reported (according to Order.)


I am sorry to detain your Lordships for a couple of minutes at this late hour, but I think I ought to make some remarks as to the manner in which the Bill has been brought before you. It deals with a highly technical question, and when it was put down for Second Reading there was a Motion that it should be referred to a Select Committee. We were then told that it was too late in the session for that to be done without losing the measure altogether, and that it had been fully considered by a Select Committee of the other House. Now, though the last sitting of that Committee was on the 17th of July, the evidence taken by it, and the arguments used before it, have never been available to members of this House. The attention of the Government was called to this point, both on the Second Reading and Committee stages, but this House is still entirely in the dark as to what evidence and arguments were used before that Committee, which, I may remark, was not unanimous. I consider that as long as a Second Chamber continues to exist the documents necessary to enable it to come to correct decisions ought to be printed and made available before Bills reach the Second Reading.


In reply to my noble friend I think it was nearly a week ago that we asked the Commons to let us have the minutes of evidence taken before this Committee. I am not quite sure whether they have yet reached your Lordships' House. It has taken nearly seven days to get them, but I hoped they would have been in your hands before now. I can only regret the circumstances and trust that my noble friend will allow me to proceed with the Bill.


I hope my noble friend will allow the Bill to proceed. We have ventured to make a respectful protest in connection with this Report. I think it ought to have been printed, but I hope my noble friend will be satisfied with the protest he has made, and I think at this period of the session it would not be reasonable to ask the Government to delay the measure any longer.


There are two or three Amendments purely of a drafting nature which I would venture to ask your Lordships to accept. I beg to move that the said Amendments be now inserted.

Drafting Amendments agreed to.

Bill to be read 3a to-morrow; and to be printed as amended. (No. 191.)