HL Deb 30 April 1913 vol 14 cc369-70

It would be for the general convenience if the noble Marquess could intimate what is proposed in regard to the business of the House. I understand there is nothing on the Paper for to-morrow. I do not know whether the noble Marquess proposes that the House should meet to-morrow. Then there is a Notice on the Paper for Monday. Perhaps the noble Marquess would state what he proposes as to the course of business after Monday next.


There is no business on the Paper for to-morrow, and the noble Marquess will remember that to-morrow is Ascension Day, on which it is not the custom of this House to sit. For Monday next there is a Notice in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Midleton, but I understand there is no further business down for next week. Supposing that to be the ease and that no other Notices are put down, I would propose, subject to any desire on the part of noble Lords to bring forward any business next week, to adjourn on Monday for the holidays. With the leave of the House I would propose an adjournment to the date which I understand has been fixed for another place—Tuesday, May 27.


I suppose it is not the slightest use my protesting against any arrangement which comes from either of the Front Benches, but I confess it seems to me that most elaborate pains are taken in order to show the world that it is perfectly unnecessary for this House to sit at all. I do not want to speak so much on the general point, but there is a particular point to which I want to draw attention. I am personally aggrieved with regard to this proposal, for this reason. I have a Bill which last session passed through this House without any opposition, and I was extremely anxious to get it through before Whitsuntide so that it could be sent down to the House of Commons. In consequence of entreaties received from a noble Lord who is interested in this particular Bill but who finds that he is urgently required at Newmarket this week, I put the Committee stage of the Bill off until Monday next. Now I understand that it is suggested that the House should adjourn on that day, and it would therefore be impossible to get the Bill through before the holidays unless the noble Marquess will make a corrupt bargain with me that if I get the Bill through Committee on Monday he will allow me to take the remaining stages on the same day. If so, of course I shall offer no objection; but it seems to me that under the plea of sanctimoniousness, or one thing or another, we are not to sit to-morrow because it is Ascension Day, although Committees sit and the House of Commons sit. This seems to me to be only an ingenious excuse for unmitigated sloth on the part of the Leaders of this House. I do not profess to be of an industrious disposition myself, but at the same time I confess that it strikes me that any complaint we may make in the future with regard to the way in which we are treated by the other House will come with very bad grace from us if we make it appear that we wish to avoid coining here on every opportunity.


If the noble Lord should be successful in getting his Bill through Committee on Monday and then wishes to suspend the Standing Order so as to get it through the remaining stages I personally should have no objection, supposing this to be the wish of the House generally. Failing that, I have no doubt the House would meet again in the course of next week to take the Bill through its remaining stages. As regards the general complaint made by the noble Lord, I think it is rather premature at this time of year to complain of the lack of business which has come to us from another place. If the noble Lord will cast his recollection back I think he will agree that at this time of the year it is not often that measures of importance reach this House from another place. Therefore I hope the noble Lord will postpone making a complaint of the lack of business which we have to do until some later period in the session if he should then find it necessary, but it may not be necessary.

House adjourned at Five minutes before Five o'clock, till Tomorrow, half-past Ten o'clock.