THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (THE EARL OF CRAWFORD)
My Lords, I should like, with your permission, to make a statement about business, outlining in a general way the proposals that will be placed before the House between now and the adjournment. There are several Bills now in the House 765 of Commons which have to be passed before the session ends—namely, the Appropriation Bill, the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Bill—the last-named Bill I believe to be uncontroversial—and the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, which will probably conclude its passage through the House of Commons to-day or tomorrow, having become, I believe, much less controversial during its passage through that House. There are also three Bills relating to the Postal Services—namely, the Telegraph (Money) Bill, the Post Office (Parcels) Bill, and the Wireless Telegraphy and Signalling Bill—and the Education (Scotland) (Superannuation) Bill and the War Service Canteens (Disposal of Surplus) Bill.
In addition to these measures there are Bills of importance which have already passed through this House, which are now before the House of Commons, and on which it is possible, and, indeed, probable, that Amendments to the Lords Bill may reach us. These are the Allotments Bill, the Electricity (Supply) Bill, the Oil in Navigable Waters Bill, the Milk and Dairies (Amendment) Bill, the Allotments (Scotland) Bill, two or three other measures (which, if amended, will probably only be amended in purely technical directions) such as the Naval Discipline Bill, the Solicitors Bill, the Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Bill, and other Bills of that character.
If, as I hope, it is possible to get through this programme without any undue delay, it should be feasible to adjourn the House on Friday of next week, and in that case the adjournment will be moved until Tuesday, November 14, with power, of course, to call the House together at an earlier date in case of necessity. I shall ask the House to allow the Government, or unofficial Peers who are concerned with Bills, to take power to proceed with more than one stage of a Bill in a day. Your Lordships can rest assured that such a course can only be followed where general consent of the House is granted. I propose to put that Motion on the Paper for Monday next, suspending the Standing Orders both in relation to the proceedings on Government Bills and the taking of more than one stage of a Bill on a given day.
I am afraid that at the present moment it is impossible to say when the Commons 766 Amendments to Lords Bills are likely to reach us. I hope, however, that the Electricity (Supply) Bill and the Allotments Bill which originated in this House may pass through the House of Commons to-day, in which case. I would suggest that the Amendments, if any, should be taken to-morrow or, at the latest, on Thursday. To-morrow, there are already two important Notices on the Paper, one relating to the cattle embargo, the other to the Report stage of the Constabulary (Ireland) Bill. I am anxious to get that Bill through to-morrow as it raises important issues and should reach the other House for consideration as soon as possible. On Thursday the noble Marquess, Lord Londonderry, will raise the subject of the Air Force, and, if possible, I hope that we may get the Second Reading of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill on that day and deal likewise with any other Commons Amendments to Lords Bills which may by then have reached us.
If necessary your Lordships will no doubt desire to meet on Friday, but I hope that that course may not prove necessary. One further statement about business I should like to make, and that is to inform your Lordships, in reference to the Motion relating to House of Lords Reform, that the various Amendments of which Notice has been given are now printed on a separate Paper. The only Amendment remaining on the Order Paper proper is that which stands in the name of Lord Salisbury, and that, of course, is more in the nature of an instruction to the Committee than an Amendment to the Resolutions themselves.
LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE
I was under the impression that it was necessary that the Bill recognising the Irish Constitution should pass by December 6. If the House reassembles only on November 14, does the Government think it will be possible within such a short time to pass a measure of such importance; or am I wrong in supposing that the measure must be passed by that date? My impression is that the Provisional Government only exists until December 6, and that then, unless something has taken its place, it will cease to exist.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
The date has been settled after careful consideration of all the circumstances to which Lord Oranmore and Browne refers.