HL Deb 21 July 1915 vol 19 cc547-9

My Lords, I beg to make the Motion that stands in my name.

Moved, That Standing Order No. XXXIX be considered in order to its being suspended until the adjournment for the Recess.—(The Marquess of Crewe.)


My Lords, before this Motion is agreed to I should like to suggest to the noble Marquess that we ought to have some undertaking of what use may be made of it. A very important Bill has just been brought up from the other House and read a first time dealing with naval and military war pensions. That Bill has been discussed in another place, and very important Amendments made. As to their merits, this is not the time to sax anything; but as far as I am concerned I think the Amendments have made the Bill a great deal worse than before. That, of course, is a matter of opinion. But I hope we may have an undertaking from the noble Marquess, on behalf of the Government, that not more than one stage of that very important Bill will be taken on any one day.


I think I can sufficiently reassure my noble friend by saying that the particular Bill to which he has alluded will not be forced or hurried through the House in any way. The various stages of it will be taken in a manner which will enable complete discussion of any disputed point to take place.


The noble Marquess did not say on what day he proposed to take the Second Reading. I am afraid that this Bill will cause a great deal of discussion, and so far as information which reaches me is concerned I think it is impossible that it should be concluded during the present sittings. Therefore I would ask that we might be allowed at least until Monday next before the Second Reading is taken. A number of associations are dissenting from various portions of the Bill, and the fact that the Bill itself challenges the Resolution which your Lordships passed on July 6 and proposes to set up new Government Departments with all the objections to which your Lordships called attention will make it absolutely necessary that there should be a full and thorough discussion.


my impression is that the points in dispute, although no doubt important and to some extent, as the noble Viscount has indicated, going to the root of the Bill itself, are not very numerous, and although some considerable time might be occupied in their discussion—unless, as I hope may not be impossible, some agreement is reached in regard to them—I cannot think that a very long postponement is required for the purpose of considering them. So far as I am aware it is desired that the Bill, if possible, should become law before the adjournment for the Recess. That adjournment is likely to take place in the middle of next week, and therefore I think it would be unfortunate if the Second Reading of this Bill were postponed until next week. What I would suggest is, if the House agrees, that we should sit on Friday next in order to take the Second Reading, and that the next stage should be taken, if possible, on Monday. The points in dispute are points which can be discussed quite fully in the Committee stage, and I hope that that course may commend itself to the noble Viscount and to other members of the House who are specially interested in this important measure.


I hope the noble Marquess will understand that my suggestion that the Bill should be put down for Second Reading on Monday was solely in order that he might not feel that there was any obstructive desire with regard to it. But I have been astonished at the amount of public feeling which exists, and at the number of communications that have reached us, in regard to the Bill.


My Lords, may I say that if the Naval and Military War Pensions Bill were delayed it would cause great inconvenience to the various boroughs and corporations in Lancashire, where there are a great number of these cases to be dealt with. The corporations of the great towns are waiting for the passing of the Bill before they can set up the local committees under it, and any delay in setting up those local committees must prejudice the interests of the soldiers. I fully realise that it is necessary that the Bill should be discussed in Committee, but I think it would be a great pity if it did not pass before the adjournment of Parliament for the Recess.

On Question, Motion agreed to, and Standing Order No. XXXIX suspended accordingly until the adjournment for the Recess.