HL Deb 30 September 1924 vol 59 cc531-4

My Lords, I think it will be for the convenience of your Lordships' House if the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack is able to make a statement as to the views of the Government with regard to the course of business in the present stage of the Session.


My Lords, I will give your Lordships all the information that is at my disposal. I do not know whether the other House proposes to take any business other than the Irish Free State (Confirmation of Agreement) Bill. My impression is that the business there will be substantially confined to that Bill, which comes on to-day for Second Reading and ought to pass the House of Commons by Thursday night. In that case, it will be put down for First Reading in your Lordships' House on Friday next, and I suggest that there should be an informal meeting of your Lordships' House on that day in order to take that stage of the Bill. Then we could ascertain what suits the convenience of the majority of your Lordships as to the Second Reading; it could be taken on either Monday or Tuesday next. There is something to be said for Monday. Assuming that the Bill is passed, we have to get it through three stages before it can be presented for Royal Assent. On the other hand, it may be possible to inform us on Friday what is the sense of the majority of your Lordships' House. It could be communicated privately, and then we could adjourn until Monday or Tuesday, as the case might be. If that suits your Lordships we will take that course.


My Lords, I am sure the course suggested by the Lord Chancellor will be convenient to most noble Lords, and we shall certainly be anxious to facilitate the progress of business. I think it would be more convenient if we could settle to-day whether we are going to meet on Monday of next week, because some noble Lords have engagements in the country next week and would like to know whether they will be in a position to fulfil those engagements. I am entirely ready, however, to do what suite the convenience of the noble Marquess and the Government.


My Lords, I am in general sympathy with the suggestions made by the Lord Chancellor. They are, I think, directed to meet the convenience of your Lordships as much as possible. With regard to the point raised by Earl Beauchamp, the difficulty is this. The course of action to be taken by your Lordships must depend to a large extent on what takes place in the other House. At the present moment I have no idea what is going to be the course of the debate there, or what will be the nature of the duty imposed on us in this House, and it may well be that we may not be able to make up our minds on that point until the early part of next week. Noble Lords are well aware that conferences have to take place on these matters, and it is conceivable that on Monday next it may be desirable for noble Lords on this side and the other to meet and discuss what their line of action with regard to the Bill is to be when it comes before this House on the Second Reading stage. My own inclination is that we shall be well advised to take the Second Reading on Monday next, if we can. for the reason named by the Lord Chancellor and for other reasons. Circumstances may conceivably arise which may render that inconvenient to some of your Lordships, but I am disposed to fall in with the suggestion to adjourn until Friday, when we can meet pro forma, in order to get the First Reading of the Bill and then settle whether we meet on Monday or Tuesday to take the Second Reading stage. My own inclination is to make it Monday rather than Tuesday.


My Lords, I can only speak again by leave of the House, but it is hardly meeting pro forma on Friday if we settle then whether we are to meet on Monday or Tuesday next.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn until Friday next at twelve o'clock.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House adjourned at half past four o'clock.

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