§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name, that Standing Order No. XXXIX be considered in order to its being suspended for this day's sitting. In doing so I would explain that I move this Motion in order that we may take more than one stage of Bills at the same time, and this will apply to the two Bills remaining which are in controversy—I mean the Road Transport Lighting Bill and the Nursing Homes Registration Bill. As regards the Road Transport Lighting Bill no great difficulty arises. There is, I believe, one Amendment to be put in on the Report stage on the initiative of the Government, but it is not a matter of any great importance and I hope that your Lordships, as regards that Bill, will find no difficulty whatever in allowing the Report stage and the Third Reading to be taken this afternoon and the Bill to be returned to the Commons.
There remains the Nursing Homes Registration Bill. That Bill, as your Lordships are aware, is down for Committee to-day. I cannot pretend for a moment that there are not substantial Amendments upon the Paper to be proposed by members of your Lordships' House sitting in different quarters, which deserve very careful attention, and there is no reason why they should not receive very careful attention in Committee, for we have plenty of time before us for that purpose. But if the Bill is to go back to the Commons to-night it is very clear that the other stages of it as well as the Committee stage will have to be taken this evening. When this matter was under discussion yesterday, I said that I would put no pressure upon the House if your Lordships demur to taking this Bill in this great hurry. Although it would be a 1232 matter of profound disappointment, not only to the Government but, I believe, to noble Lords in many parts of the House, notably the noble and learned Viscount opposite, we should be obliged to bow to your Lordships' wishes. The taking of a stage to-morrow morning before the Prorogation is a possible alternative, though not a very convenient one. But I am very much in the hands of your Lordships.
I am not responsible, of course, for the Bill having reached your Lordships' House at this late hour. It is really for you to consider whether you think this Bill is so important that it should go through, then if you will signify your opinion to me, I shall act accordingly. I shall be, I admit, very grateful to your Lordships' House if you take the affirmative view. My right hon. friend the Minister of Health lays very great store by the Bill and I believe it to be, not of transcendant importance, but of great importance to the proper safeguarding of the health of the community. If your Lordships say that, notwithstanding its advantages, you insist upon full discussion of the Bill in its various stages, personally I shall not be prepared to resist you, but I earnestly hope your decision will be otherwise. In any case, of course, I shall move my Motion which will give us power for telescoping, if I may use such a phrase, the stages of the Bill. At the end of the discussion in Committee, if your Lordships desire to surrender all the efforts made to carry it, you will indicate that decision and I shall be obliged to bow to it. I desire to be entirely guided by the House and with that view I shall at any rate move the Motion standing in my name.
§ Moved, That Standing Order No. XXXIX be considered in order to its being suspended for this day's sitting.—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
My Lords, it is obvious as regards the Nursing Homes Registration Bill that the noble Marquess holds as strongly as any of us can that it is highly desirable that the Bill should pass. If it does not it means very long delay in getting supervision of these establishments. Speaking for myself, I think it is a very important Bill and I am anxious to see it go through. I do not see why, as we have got the Committee stage to-day with full opportunity 1233 for considering Amendments, that there should be any necessity for discussing further Amendments on Report. Of course, it is always convenient to have a Report stage, but this is a Bill which lends itself to the discussion on the Committee stage of any Amendments that are desired, and if we get through that stage I do not see for my own part why the noble Marquess should not take Report and Third Reading as he proposes.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, I quite agree with the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Haldane, as regards the Nursing Homes Registration Bill. I see no reason why we should not proceed with this particular Bill, though I make that statement subject to what we may hear on the Committee stage. As at present advised it seems to me the House may very well let this Bill go through. Would the noble Marquess the Leader of the House allow me to ask him to make quite clear what his suggestions are regarding to-morrow? I gather that we shall not meet at the hour which is so often fixed for a Friday sitting, that is eleven o'clock, but at twelve o'clock. I should like to ask whether by twelve o'clock we shall have received assent from another place to the various Amendments to Bills which have been sent down to them, or what exactly is the course proposed. When does the noble Marquess suggest that the Royal Commission should take place?
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, before the noble Marquess replies I should like to be allowed to put a question of which I have given him private notice. I am anxious, as he knows, to ask a certain question regarding the Treaty with Iraq which has only just been published, and I was told that there might be opportunity to do that to-morrow morning. I hope that the time for to-morrow's sitting will be fixed so that opportunity can be given to bring up that matter.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I was aware of the noble Lord's wish and it has a direct bearing upon the question put to me by the noble Earl. We designed to have the Royal Commission at twelve o'clock to-morrow and therefore, if the noble Lord is to have the opportunity of bringing up the question of Iraq, it will be necessary to meet a little earlier than twelve o'clock. 1234 There are certain formal stages, I think, of certain Bills. There is a Lords Bill, the Superannuation and other Trusts (Validation) Bill, to which there is a Commons Amendment which will have to be considered. It is not a matter which will greatly disturb your Lordships, but there must be time for that procedure. The Consolidated Fund Bill will be got through to-day in the ordinary way. That does not take any time. It is conceivable, of course, that there may be Commons Amendments to the Lords Amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Bill. I hope that will not happen, but it may be so. All these things require a little time. Therefore it breaks my heart to have to ask the noble Earl again to allow us to sit as early as eleven o'clock to-morrow. He will at any rate be able to congratulate himself that in this Session it is the last time.
§ LORD PARMOOR
May I take it that the question of which I have given private notice to the noble Marquess will now be regarded as a public notice?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
If the noble Lord will be good enough to put it on the Paper for to-morrow that will be the best plan.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and ordered accordingly.