HL Deb 12 March 1912 vol 11 cc389-90

My Lords, I see my noble friend Lord Newton in his place, and I venture to make an appeal to him with regard to a Notice which stands first on the Paper for to-morrow in his name.—viz: To call attention to the Report from the Joint Select Committee of the House of lords and House of Commons on the Stage Plays (Censorship). Your Lordships are aware that there are on the Paper following the noble Lord's Notice two Motions with regard to Ireland to which noble Lords from Ireland attach considerable importance, and for the discussion of which I understand a certain number of noble Lords are coming over from Ireland. The noble Lord, it is true, had placed his Notice on the Paper in advance of the Irish Notices, but those who issued the summons to noble Lords from Ireland were under the belief that those Motions stood first on the Paper. That, however, was not so, and consequently the day is entirely at the disposal of my noble friend. But if he should find it possible, without inconvenience to himself or to those who are interested in the subject to which he desires to call atten- tion, to put his Notice off for two or three days and allow the Irish Motions to hold the field to-morrow evening it would be greatly appreciated by those who are interested in them.


My Lords, it has frequently happened to me to put down a Motion and then be asked by some noble Lord, generally some one on the Front Benches, to change the day. I feel quite certain in my own mind that, if the circumstances were reversed, it would not be the slightest use my making an appeal to my noble friend to give way to me, but as I am of a much more amiable disposition I suppose I shall have to again sacrifice myself. I observed that the Notice Paper was absolutely clear of business, and thereupon, after consulting with other noble Lords and twice altering the day, I fixed upon to-morrow. Some time afterwards Lord Midleton came to me and in broken-hearted accents asked me to give up my day because a large number of noble Lords are coming over from Ireland in order to discuss a very important question. If the question is such an important one, I am surprised that they did not put the Motion on the Paper two or three days earlier. But, as I say, I do not wish to be disobliging, and if there are a number of noble Lords coming over from Ireland. I do not wish to stand in their way. At the same time, I desire to enter a protest against this practice of asking members of this House to alter their day. In this particular case, however, I have consulted with noble Lords who are interested in the question which I was to have raised to-morrow, and they have assured me that they do not mind its being postponed until next week. Therefore I will fall in with my noble friend's request, but I should like to warn him that this is the last time I shall give way.


I am sure we are all most grateful to my noble friend for the generosity with which he has acted in this matter, but I wish to say a word on one remark which fell from him. He said that he had always been anxious to give way to members of the Front Benches. I can assure him that there is a perfectly clear understanding that no one on this Bench should ever rise when it is understood that my noble friend wishes to address the House.