LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
My Lords, I understand that the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, has a statement to make as to the progress of business, and perhaps this would be a convenient opportunity for him to make it.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER (THE EARL OF CRAWFORD)
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Lord for giving me an opportunity of making a statement as to business. Representations have been made to the Government that it would be imprudent to take the Report stage of the Home Rule Bill before next Monday, December 13. We have accordingly agreed not to begin the Report stage until that date, but as it is really important, in view of the magnitude and importance of the Amendments made here, to send the Bill back to another place for their early consideration, it is hoped that the Third Reading will not take a long time and will be looked upon more as a convenient opportunity for making final Amendments in the measure. If, as I hope, the Report stage can be finished on Monday and the Third Reading either taken that day or as the first Order on Tuesday, we propose to beg in the Committee stage of the Agriculture Bill on that Tuesday, devoting the following day (Wednesday, December 15) to it, and if necessary Thursday, the 16th. By Friday, December 17, it is possible that the Home Rule Bill may have been returned to this House from the House of Commons, in which case we should propose to devote that Friday to the consideration of the observations of the Commons on your Lordships' Amendments.
I should like to add that certain Bills of a Departmental character will reach your Lordships from the other House in the course of a few days. There is, however, one Bill of substantial importance—namely, the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Bill. As to the date of its arrival I can make no statement. It is also possible that a Bill dealing with roads may be brought up to your Lordships' House. The House will 1227 therefore see that there is a good deal of Government business during the next fortnight; and I hope that early next week the House will allow the Government, if it thinks that course necessary, to have precedence for Government measures.
LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
I cannot speak in any way for the Irish arrangements, but I will do my best to call the attention of those noble Lords who are not here to the announcement of the noble Earl; and there is, of course, to-morrow for any further discussion on the point.