§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, I desire to ask the noble Marquess the Leader of the House, whether he has any further statement to make on the course of public business.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, I am under the deplorable necessity of asking your Lordships to sit on Monday if you will be so very kind. I do not think it is asking too much, considering the time of year and the near approach of Easter. We hope to take on Monday the Unemployment Insurance (Northern Ireland Agreement) Bill, Committee stage. I understand that it is not seriously in controversy. I would hope to take the Third Reading on Tuesday; if there were Amendments, the Third Reading might have to be taken on Wednesday. Secondly, the Third Reading of the Gas Undertakings Bill has still to be got through, and I think we might take that on Monday. Then there is the Unemployment Insurance (Transitional Provisions Amendment) Bill, which is just about to be presented to your Lordships. I understand that there really is no objection to this Bill, but, if there were objection, I should perhaps have to take a different course. Your Lordships will be able to judge when you see the Bill whether there is an objection to it or not. It would not be in order for me to describe it at this moment, but I think it will be found that the only objection to it from the point of view of noble Lords opposite is that it does not go quite far enough; but that is an objection they often have to urge.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Then there are the Commons Amendments to the Lords Amendments on the Local 780 Government Bill. I do not imagine there will be very much for your Lordships to deal with at that particular stage of the inter-Parliamentary proceedings, but there may be one or two Amendments with which the Commons are not satisfied, and which may come back to your Lordships. I hope you will allow the Government to take it on Monday in order to give additional time, so that the Bill may be ready, in all possible eventualities, for the Royal Commission which is to be on Wednesday. If there were any more discussion between the two Houses then we should want another day. I have Tuesday still in hand. I hope your Lordships will be good enough to allow us to take that stage of the Local Government Bill on Monday.
I think I said yesterday that we had to have a morning sitting on Wednesday. The usual practice of your Lordships' House is to begin the morning sitting at twelve o'clock. If noble Lords wish to begin earlier perhaps they will be good enough to let me know. Then, we think that the Royal Commission might be at three o'clock, or, if it appears during the proceedings on Tuesday that it is likely that the Wednesday proceedings will be very short, perhaps we might advance the Royal Commission.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, the noble Marquess has been good enough to ask for an expression of opinion from me, and I would say that the course of business which he has suggested is one which is eminently reasonable. There is no reason at all why we should not meet on Monday. At this stage of the Session it is a very proper thing for your Lordships to do. Only two remarks would I make. I am not quite sure about the Unemployment Insurance (Northern Ireland Agreement) Bill not needing some little discussion, but that is no reason why it should not be put down for Tuesday. If there is any discussion I am sure noble friends of mine will be prepared to fall in with the suggestion to take it on Monday. With regard to our meeting on Wednesday, I think what generally governs our proceedings is the hour of meeting in another place. If there is to be a Royal Commission here members in another place will not like being kept waiting if we meet later. 781 Therefore it is generally thought convenient that we should meet at the same time as the other House, whether that be at 11 o'clock or 12 o'clock, because it prevents their being kept waiting. I think that generally governs our proceedings.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
It is entirely for your Lordships. The Government would be quite willing to meet at 11 o'clock on Wednesday if that were more convenient. The Commons are a little longer sometimes in their proceedings than we are.
§ LORD PARMOOR
We shall certainly raise no objection. The earlier we meet on Wednesday the better it would be, I think.