HL Deb 24 March 1925 vol 60 cc620-2

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Lord Chancellor a Question of which I have given him private notice—namely, whether the Legitimacy Bill, which nearly a fortnight ago was set down for to-day, was postponed last evening, without any public notice, until Thursday; whether the noble and learned Viscount is aware that Peers have been summoned for the purpose of debating that measure, and that it causes grave inconvenience that it should be postponed without notice; and whether he will undertake that, so far as Government Bills are concerned, such postponements shall be announced, and not simply be put on the Paper on the chance that Peers may discover them in the morning?


My Lords, I regret that the noble Earl and his friends should have been caused any inconvenience. I was not aware that any Peers had been specially summoned with reference to the debate on the Legitimacy Bill, and the cause of the postponement can, I think, be made quite clear to the House. For reasons which your Lordships all know, no Bills were taken yesterday, and the British Sugar (Subsidy) Bill was therefore adjourned until to-day. The passage of that Bill, for public reasons, is a pressing matter, and if your Lordships approve, the Bill should become law this week. I was sure that if the Second Reading of that Bill was taken and the Question in the name of my noble and learned friend Lord Parmoor and the various other items which appear on the Paper were also taken, your Lordships would not have time conveniently to dispose of the Amendments on the Legitimacy Bill. Might I say for the general information of your Lordships that there will be time on Thursday to deal with the Committee stage of that Bill, and it is for that reason only that I asked that the Bill might be postponed? I think it is for the general convenience of the House that it should be postponed.


My Lords, I should like to ask the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack whether he would acquiesce in the request of my noble friend that in future if a Bill is postponed, the fact shall be announced as it is in another place and not be left to appear on the Order Paper?


Perhaps your Lordships will permit me to reply to that observation of my noble friend? I will take care that the convenience of noble Lords is always consulted in these matters, so far as I possibly can. The Lord Chancellor has already explained that the circumstances of this last week were very exceptional, and I am afraid I must admit that I, unfortunately, and not through my own fault, was partly the cause of the confusion into which the business of the House was thrown. There were certain matters which ought to have been taken but were postponed entirely for my convenience, for which I express my thanks to the House. I will see that in future your Lordships receive due notice.