§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, I beg to move that Standing Order No. XXXIX be considered in order to its being suspended for the remainder of the Session. In moving the Motion I would like, in accordance with my promise, to indicate to your Lordships broadly speaking the business which remains to be transacted before the end of the Session. With regard to the Motion itself, it is not unusual when you are within a very few days of the end of the Session. Almost always within my experience it has been moved, whatever Government may be in power. As regards to-day's business, I should not desire that your Lordships should avail yourselves of the power of taking two stages in one day except in respect of the Age of Marriages Bill, which stands in the name of my noble friend Lord Buckmaster. Owing to its history and the necessary delay which intervened in the course of its proceedings, it does not seem unreasonable that the two remaining stages should be taken tonight, if your Lordships are willing. There are one or two Amendments on the Paper, but, as I shall be able to show your Lordships, they are not Amendments which change in any way the substance of the Bill. So far as the business of this evening is concerned that is all I have to say.
With regard to to-morrow, I am going to ask your Lordships to allow me to make a change in the Order Paper. Last week, in order to facilitate public business, I asked my noble and learned friend Lord Birkenhead to give up the 286 place which he had for this afternoon and to put down for to-morrow his Motion with respect to the Balfour Note. He was kind enough to do that, but it was understood between us that it could only be so arranged if he had the first place to-morrow. Since then a number of Bills have accumulated and, by the Orders of the House, have taken precedence of the Motion of my noble friend. All those Orders of the Day and Notices of Bills are, with the exception of one, in respect of Government Bills, and all of them, I think, are formal. There is only one. Bill, that standing in the name of my noble friend Lord Cranbrook, which deals with a matter requiring debate. But I think my noble friend Lord Cranbrook would agree that his Bill should come after the Motion of the noble Earl, Lord Birkenhead. If that is so, I think your Lordships would be very kind if you would allow me, by Motion tomorrow, to put this very important matter, the Motion of my noble friend Lord Birkenhead, in front of the other Orders of the Day so that it shall have first place. I shall put down a Motion for the beginning of business to-morrow to give his Motion precedence. If your Lordships are kind enough to assent to that Motion that will be the order of business to-morrow, and instead of my noble friend's Motion coming low down on the Paper it will come first, and the other Orders will follow as they stand already on the Order Paper of your Lordships' House.
I might run through the remaining business. There is the consideration of the Commons Reason for disagreeing to one of the Lords Amendments to the Local Government (Scotland) Bill, and that will be taken to-morrow. There are the Agricultural Rates Bill, the Marriage Provisional Order Bill, the Chatham and Sheerness Stipendiary Magistrate Bill, the Pharmacy Bill and the Savings Banks Bill. There remains really no other Bill of importance that if likely to come before your Lordships this Session, excepting the Finance Bill. I hope the Finance Bill will be read a first time on Tuesday of next week, and if it suited the convenience of noble Lords who take an interest in the subject, I thought we might assign the discussion of the Second Reading of the Finance Bill to Wednesday of next week. That can only be done with the general assent of your Lordships because, if any 287 body put down a Motion, it would take precedence of the Bill on a Wednesday. I do not imagine that would happen, however. Therefore, unless information reaches me to the contrary, I propose to take the Second Reading of the Finance Bill on Wednesday next. I hope that will suit noble Lords opposite. There really remains nothing else, except that there are Commons Amendments on the Bridges Bill which have come back to us and upon the Pacific Cable Board Bill, and there may be a few other formal Bills or small Bills from the Commons of which I have not a list, but none, I hope, of any importance. I shall be very glad to answer any further questions that any noble Lord may desire to put to me.
§ Moved, That Standing Order No. XXXIX be considered in order to its being suspended for the remainder of the Session.—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
My Lords, by request of my noble Leader I am asked to say that we shall offer no opposition to the suspension of the Standing Order nor to the other course of business indicated by the noble Marquess.
§ LORD BUCKMASTER
My Lords, perhaps you would permit me to take this opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the action of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, in helping forward the Bill in which I have been so greatly interested. I am glad we can forget the difficulties that occurred in its earlier stages and it is hoped even at this late hour that it may be in time to be placed on the Statute Book. For the rest I may say that I never hear this Motion made from the Government Benches without recalling those pleasant days when the noble Marquess and myself sat together on the same Bench and found just cause for complaint in every Motion that proceeded from the Bench opposite. I think on more occasions than one, with my humble assistance we did our best to explain that a Motion of this kind was a denial of the liberties and privileges of this House. I do not desire to raise any more ancient confidences, but I hope the noble Marquess will not think I forget the occasions when they arose.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and ordered accordingly.