HL Deb 17 June 1920 vol 40 cc671-2

My Lords, I should like to ask if the noble Earl desires to make any further statement with regard to the business of the House?


My Lords, I am quite prepared to do so. As we are not going to take the debate on the Hunter Committee's Report on Monday next there does not appear to be any sufficient reason why the House should meet that afternoon. On Tuesday, June 22, the Third Reading of the Matrimonial Causes Bill is to be taken; on Wednesday, June 23, there is the question of the Agricultural Wages Board for Ireland and an important question raised by Lord Islington about Mesopotamia. On Thursday, June 24, besides smaller bills, there is also a Question with regard to Palestine. Lord Balfour of Burleigh has a Question on the Paper for Wednesday about the course of business which will give me an opportunity of making a statement on that subject.

In addition to the Bills and Motions that are already on the Order Paper for next week, I should point out that it is expected that the Rent Restrictions Bill will be passed by the House of Commons on Monday next, in which case the Bill will be read a first time in your Lordships' House on Tuesday, June 22, and the Second Reading put down for Thursday, June 24. It is important, for reasons which nobody knows better than the noble Marquess and which I could state to the House if necessary, that this Bill should become law by June 30. Certain Orders cease to have effect after that date, and, accordingly, I suggest that the Committee stage should be taken on Monday, June 28, and Report and Third Reading on Tuesday, June 29. Those are the arrangements which I submit for your Lordships' consideration.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Earl for his courtesy. I hope he will not underrate the importance of the Question which is going to be put by Lord Balfour of Burleigh on Wednesday next. It is the First Order and will raise an important matter in which your Lordships are deeply concerned—namely, the late arrival of Bills from another place and the hurry with which our business has to be transacted. I say that because I am a little afraid that the discussion may take so long that Lord Islington's Motion might be rather crowded out, and I think it right I should tell the noble Earl what I know on the subject.

The noble Earl has referred to the Rent Restrictions Bill. I am in the fortunate position of agreeing in the main with the Government on this Bill, and personally I hope it may be passed into law without any undue delay; not perhaps without amendment but in its main outline. I should not think it right, however, so far as my opinion is of value, to promise that it could be got through with the despatch which the noble Earl suggests. I speak entirely from the point of view of a friend of the Bill, but I recognise that it is of a very intricate character and there may be many subjects which your Lordships would wish to discuss. I hope the noble Earl will not consider that we are guilty of any breach of faith if we find it impossible to get through with the Bill so quickly as he has foreshadowed. There may be a little inconvenience, but inconveniences have to he faced when business is brought to your Lordships' House so very late. However, as that is a matter we shall discuss at length on Lord Balfour of Burleigh's Motion, I will say no more about it now. I thought it only right I should give this warning to the noble Earl.