§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, Whitsuntide is drawing near and, in those circumstances, I am sure that it would be to the convenience of your Lordships' House if the noble Marquess, the Leader of the House, were able to tell us anything with regard either to the adjournment of the House during the Whitsuntide holiday or to the management of business between now fund that date.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, there are several Bills with which the Government hope that your Lordships will see fit to deal before the Recess. I do not think that they present any great difficulty. They are, of course, of varied importance, but even the important ones are not really controversial. We have the Imperial Institute Bill, which stands for Committee to-day; the Agricultural Returns Bill which stands for Report the Importation of Pedigree Animals Bill, for Third Reading; the China Indemnity (Application) Bill, for Committee; the Church of Scotland (Property and Endowments) Bill, for Second Reading; and the Northern Ireland Land Bill, for Committee. We hope to get all those Bills, and the only one upon which it seems to be necessary to say a word is the Church of Scotland (Property and Endowments) Bill. That Bill has not yet been read a second time, and I need not tell your Lordships that I do not under-rate for a moment its great importance. But it is not presented to your Lordships for the first time, and, from inquiries that I have been able to make of noble Lords from Scotland, it does not seem as if it is likely to be at all of a controversial character. Should your Lordships desire to spend a longer time upon that Bill, the Government will be only too ready to afford it.
There is one other Bill which we hope to get, and that is the Rent and Mortgage Interest, (Restrictions Continuation) Bill, 251 which stands for Committee; but this again is a matter for the House, and, if there were any feeling that the Bill ought to be carried over beyond the Recess, the Government would fall in with that view. The only Bill which I have not mentioned is. I think, the Valuation (Metropolis) Bill. That Bill has left your Lordships and is now with the Commons. Certain Amendments have to be considered by the House of Commons, and no doubt that Bill will be returned to us and we shall finally dispose of it. Under these circumstances you will see that, although the programme is varied, it is not of a controversial character. There does not appear to be very heavy labour immediately awaiting your Lordships. There will be, of course, towards the end of the Session, matters of very great importance to consider, and, in applying myself, therefore, to the question of the Recess, I have borne in mind those considerations. The House of Commons I think is to adjourn for a comparatively short adjournment, but I see no reason why, if your Lordships were to adjourn on May 27—that is, the last Wednesday on which any Orders are set down—we might not remain on holidays until June 11, which is a Thursday. That is a complete fortnight. I do not want to bind myself to those dates, because I shall be very glad to receive representations from any noble Lords who have any reason to call in question those dates. Therefore, I hope your Lordships will understand that what I have said is really submitted for the consideration of the House.
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, one is, of course, glad to hear the statement made by the noble Marquess opposite, the Leader of the House, but there are two matters which strike me in the statements he has made. On May 27, which he suggests as the day of the adjournment, there is a very important matter down for debate in the name of Lord Arnold, and it will certainly be very convenient to him and to us to know whether that is likely to be brought on, as he desires to bring it on. Of course, if there were to be an adjournment on the same day that would be a hopeless way of taking the discussion on a great question of this kind. The other point is this, that with the majority of Bills referred to it is not likely that much time will be occupied, but there are one or two other important matters to be 252 brought forward. I have an important Question which I want to ask the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood, to answer on Wednesday next, and for that there is amply sufficient time. With regard to the Scottish Church Bill, I speak with bated breath in the absence of my noble friend Viscount Haldane, who, unfortunately, cannot be here. I am told that it is important that the Bill should be passed before the Assembly meets. I am not certain on what day it meets, and perhaps that will be considered. The Bill has been very fully considered in this House already. Then I am reminded—it is a mere matter of date—that June 11 is not a Wednesday, but a Thursday.
§ LORD PARMOOR
It would still be a complete fortnight, and yet leave sufficient time for the discussion of Lord Arnold's Motion.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I did not intend to interfere with that Motion. We would meet on May 27, discuss the Motion, and then adjourn for a fortnight. I will not ask noble Lords to make a final decision. If they have anything to represent to me I hope that they will do it.