HL Deb 20 July 1922 vol 51 cc635-7

My Lords, with your permission I should like to ask the noble Earl who is leading the House a question as regards business. I understand that there is no hope of finishing to-night the discussion upon the Motion to go into Committee on the House of Lords Reform Resolutions. I had hoped, two days ago, that we should have been able to finish this stage to-day, but I am informed that that is not possible. What I desire to ask is upon what day next week the noble Earl proposes to put down these Resolutions for discussion? The point I wish to represent is that time is getting on, and if we are going to make, as I hope we shall, a material effort to deal with these Resolutions in Committee we should not put off the conclusion of the present stage too long. The earlier we can conclude it next week the better. I hope that consideration will have some effect on the decision of the Government.


My Lords, the noble Marquess is correct in saying that the number of speakers who desire to address your Lordships on these Resolutions will prevent our finishing to-day the debate on the Motion that the House do resolve itself into Committee. I am reluctant to curtail that stage because I think a general discussion is of extreme value and will show its value more and more as time goes on. Accordingly, the Motion to go into Committee can scarcely be put from the Woolsack until one day next week. It is true that time is valuable, but I do not think we can take that Motion before Tuesday, July 25, because we propose, subject to the assent of the House, to take the Constabulary (Ireland) Bill on Monday.

The Government are extremely anxious that the Bill should be sent down to the other House as soon as possible. There are very strong technical reasons for that desire, and if, as appears likely, a certain number of Amendments—how big in substance I do not know, but certainly considerable in bulk—are to go to the other place for consideration, it is very important that the Bill should go as soon as possible. Under those conditions we should devote the principal part of the Government's time on Monday to the Irish Bill, and on Tuesday to the House of Lords Resolutions. Wednesday is already occupied by Viscount Chaplin's Notice concerning the cattle embargo, and on Thursday there is a Notice of Motion regarding the Air Force, which I believe is very important.


My Lords, I am very reluctant to ask the noble Earl to reconsider that arrangement of business, but I ought to say that I am afraid Tuesday would, for private reasons, be a very inconvenient day for the House of Lords Reform Resolutions, and I find from my noble and learned friend behind me (Lord Carson) that, so far as he is concerned, Tuesday would be equally convenient as Monday for the Constabulary (Ireland) Bill. It does not, of course, follow that that day will be equally convenient for His Majesty's Government, but I venture to represent that it would be a convenience if the business could be put in that order; and, if Monday were given to the House of Lords Resolutions, there would be an additional advantage in that it would provide one day longer in which to consider the Amendments winch will be necessary in the Committee stage of the Resolutions. I hope the Government, if they cannot answer me at once, will give the matter a little further consideration, before they make up their minds.


I will, of course, very readily consider what has fallen from Lord Salisbury, but I also ask him and his friends to consider our claim that the Constabulary (Ireland) Bill, which has already been long delayed owing to its process before the Select Committee, should be passed into law at the earliest possible moment, particularly since, so far as Lord Carson is concerned, the two days are, I think, equally convenient to him. But I will confer with the noble Marquess.