HL Deb 25 July 1923 vol 54 cc1345-6

My Lords, I understand that the noble Duke, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, will be good enough to answer a question, which I indicated during the debate on the British Empire Exhibition Bill yesterday, when the noble Duke, owing to some public engagement, was unable to be in his place.


My Lords, I very much regret that, as the noble Earl has stated, it was impossible for me to be in my place yesterday afternoon and to move the Second Reading of the Bill. I believe the question to which he refers is as to why we delayed until so late a period in the Session in introducing this Bill. The reason is an extremely simple one. We had been endeavouring to find a method whereby the payment of a salary to a member of the board could be made, as recommended in the Report issued by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. We examined every method of doing this that would avoid the necessity of introducing a Bill, and the reason why we were driven to so late a period of the Session was that we had hoped, had it been possible, to achieve our object without legislation. It was only at the very last moment that we arrived at the conclusion that it was necessary to proceed by legislation, and therefore the Bill was brought in.

I certainly do not wish the House to be unduly pressed on this point, but it would be a matter of very considerable convenience if your Lordships were able to dispose of the Bill before the adjournment for the Recess. The Bill has to be passed before the end of the Session, and, as it has to comply with the Standing Orders in another place, we should like to dispose of the Bill so that it may go through the necessary stages in another place. If your Lordships were anxious to delay the Third Reading of the Bill until after the Recess, I should raise no objection, but still it would be very much more convenient for us if we were able to dispose of it in this portion of the Session.


I can assure the noble Duke that we shall do our best to help him to get the Bill through this House, although I may have a small Amendment to move in Committee.