§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I desire, with your Lordships' permission, to put a Question of which I have given private notice to my noble friend who is now leading the House. There stand upon your Lordships' Paper, for discussion on Tuesday next, in the name of the noble Marquess the Leader of the House, certain Resolutions in respect of the reform of the House of Lords. The form in which the Motion stands is—To move the following Resolutions.We understood from the noble Earl (the Earl of Crawford) that he intended that these Resolutions should be discussed in Committee; should be taken, that is to 421 say, one by one; and that, I believe, will be for the convenience of your Lordships' House, and will be generally approved. But the Motion, as it stands, asks your Lordships to agree to them altogether, as one Motion. The two procedures are, therefore, inconsistent, unless the Resolutions were treated as a Bill is treated, and the first stage were to be the Second Reading, with the Committee stage to follow.
I find, upon inquiry amongst a good many noble Lords, that such a procedure, if it be designed, would not be favourably entertained by them. They do not wish to be asked to pledge themselves Content, or Not-Content, to the Resolutions as a whole, until they have had an opportunity of discussing them separately, that is to say, in detail in Committee. I venture, therefore, to suggest to His Majesty's Government that the more suitable method of raising a general discussion would be upon some such Motion asThat this House do resolve itself forthwith into Committee upon the following Resolutions:—and, upon that Motion, to go into Committee. The general discussion could take place, and afterwards, in Committee, the separate Resolutions could be taken seriatim. I venture, therefore, to ask my noble friend whether the Government would modify their Motion, so as to put it in some such form as I have indicated.
THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (THE EARL OF CRAWFORD)
My Lords, the desire of the Government is to achieve exactly the same purpose as my noble friend Lord Salisbury outlines, and I am, therefore, quite agreeable to following the course which he suggests. Our only wish was that, at this stage, something in the nature of a Second Reading discussion might take place, ranging over the whole of the five Resolutions, and treating them as parts of one constituent whole, and that at the next stage the Resolutions should be considered by your Lordships, and if necessary, amended, seriatim. I will agree to what Lord Salisbury has said. That, I gather, is the general view of the House, and, if he will allow me, I will consult with the authorities as to the best form of Motion to be placed upon the Paper.