HL Deb 09 November 1909 vol 4 cc540-2


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, your Lordships will see on looking at this Bill, the object of this very simple measure. There were unfortunately, some riots in Liverpool a short time ago, and it is thought desirable that the Commissioner who is to be appointed to inquire into the circumstances of the riots and the conduct of the police during that time should have certain special powers. The whole of the powers conferred by statute on the Metropolitan Police Commission of 1906 are conferred upon this Commissioner, including the power of compelling the production of documents and the punishment of persons guilty of contempt. It is very desirable that this inquiry should take place without any delay, and therefore at a later stage of the proceedings I shall move the suspension of the Standing Order in order that the Bill may go through its subsequent stages at this sitting.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question Bill read 2a.


I now move that the Bill be committed, to which Motion I hope your Lordships will not agree.

Moved, That the Bill be committed.—(Earl Beauchamp.)


The Motion of the noble Earl is a very strong measure. The suspension of all our Standing Orders in order to pass a Bill through has only been done in recent years by the practice of your Lordships in cases of great emergency. I do not know what the difference would be to the noble Earl if the Bill were passed to-day or next week, but there does not appear to be any compelling reason why we should suspend the Standing Order.


The question of suspending the Standing Order is not at present before your Lordships.


The Motion to commit the Bill is the first step in that direction.


I am afraid the noble Marquess does not quite understand the forms of the House, and though I am out of order perhaps I may explain. If we now negative the Committee stage and the Standing Order is suspended it will then be possible to proceed to the Third Reading and pass the Bill. That is the usual way in which Bills are treated when it is necessary to ask your Lordships to pass a Bill in this unusual manner. Since the noble Marquess has started the discussion I may irregularly follow him and state that there are thought to be considerable reasons for expediting this inquiry. In inquiries of this kind, in which political and religious passions are involved, it is very desirable that they should take place as soon as possible, as the witnesses would probably be better able to give their evidence before a considerable time had elapsed. There is, however, no immediate hurry, and if the noble Marquess wishes I will put it off till to-morrow or Thursday, in order to give him time to consider it, although I am afraid it will put off for some time the giving of the Royal Assent.


The noble Earl must forgive me for saying that no question had been proposed from the Woolsack. The noble Earl is always regular, and in following me was quite as regular as usual. On the substance of the matter my only reason for rising was to call your Lordships' attention to the very exceptional character of the Motion. I am, however, bound to admit that the noble Earl, speaking on behalf of the Government, has advanced a very strong reason for expediting the Bill, and after his statement there is no desire on our part to resist the Motion.

On Question, Committee negatived.


In moving the suspension of the Standing. Order I wish to say that I am much obliged to the noble Marquess for what he has just said. I may mention that there is a good precedent for the step which the Government are asking your Lordships to take in this case. I refer to the precedent which was quoted and accepted in the case of the Metropolitan Police Commission Act, 1906, when the same procedure was adopted.

Moved, That Standing Order No. 39 be considered in order to its being dispensed with.—(Earl Beauchamp.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Standing Order No. 39 dispensed with accordingly; Bill read 3a, and passed.