HC Deb 21 February 1860 vol 156 cc1473-5

said, he would avail himself of the opportunity afforded him by the Motion of the noble Viscount to say a few words upon a point of order. Last night, although the House expressed different opinions in regard to the application of strict rules and precedents on the matter then before them; yet he observed with pleasure the unanimous feeling of respect for those rules and precedents, and an anxious wish on the part of the House to carry them into effect. The hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Du Cane) had given notice of a Resolution to be moved "in Committee on Customs Acts." Now it appeared to him that that notice was not in accordance with the established rules of the House. He conceived that no Resolution could be moved as an Amendment upon a Vote in Committee of Supply. It might be that it was competent in Committee of Ways and Means to move a Resolution as an Amendment. In 1853, in a Committee of Ways and Means upon the income tax, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hertfordshire, the late Secretary for the Colonies (Sir Lytton Bulwer) was allowed to move a Resolution in reference to the income-tax. He thought that a dangerous precedent, and one that, if possible, ought not to be followed. But the proposition of the hon. Member for Essex was not an Amendment that should be moved in the shape of a Resolution in a Committee on the Customs Acts. The Resolution, to be in form, should be one that dealt with the sources of revenue arising from Customs, and should be confined within the limits of the Customs Acts. Now he submitted, subject to the correction of Mr. Speaker, that it was not competent for the hon. Member to move a Resolution in the Committee on the Customs Acts which was not confined to the revenue arising out of the Customs. If that were the rule of the House, as it appeared to be the desire of the House to have a discussion on this subject, it was still in the power of the hon. Gentleman to bring forward his Resolution without the violation of their rules. He would suggest a course which would avoid that difficulty. On that day it was usual to give Notices of Motion priority over the Orders of the Day. It was, therefore, competent for the hon. Member for Essex to bring forward his Re- solution as a substantive Motion before the Order of the Day. By doing so, the rules of the House would be strictly observed, and they would have the advantage of having the Speaker presiding over the discussion. Before he sat down, he ventured to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair whether he was correct in his statement of their forms of proceeding?


By the rules of this House the Chairman of the Committees of Ways and Means is the judge of all matters of order which arise in Committee; no doubt the Chairman would rightly rule any question which might come before him for discussion. I should, perhaps, be going beyond my province were I to pass by anticipation a judgment upon any Resolution to be proposed in Committee; but as my opinion has been asked as to the general practice of the Mouse, I will with pleasure give an answer. The right hon. Baronet has, in my judgment, correctly laid down the rule of the House in regard to Committees. It is competent in a Committee of the Whole House for any hon. Member to move a Resolution so long as it is relevant to the matter referred to the Committee; but any Resolution must be confined to the subject-matter referred to the Committee. I restrict myself to a statement of the general rule of the House, leaving to the Chairman of Committees to express his judgment upon the fitness of any Resolution which may be proposed.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had given notice of his Resolution was of course the best judge of the course he ought to take under the circumstances — whether to shape his Motion in accordance with the principle laid down, or to submit his Resolution in a substantive form. As far as Her Majesty's Government were concerned—although there was an understanding that the House should go into Committee that night—they were willing to submit to any arrangement that would suit the convenience of the hon. Member for Essex; and if the hon. Gentleman thought proper to act upon the suggestion made to him, and to bring forward his Resolution as a substantive Motion, the Government were ready to waive their right of moving that the House should go into Commitiee upon the Customs Acts.


said, his object was to move a Resolution affecting the whole scope of the financial propositions. It would be a source of regret to him if, by the forms of the House, he was prevented from touching upon the prominent features of the financial statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He threw himself upon the indulgence of the House, and would accept the proposal made to him by the noble Lord.


wished to give an intimation which might be useful to the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe), in regard to the course of business in Committee as regarded one point of some importance—namely, that part of the treaty which related to foreign spirits. That particular part stood second on the paper, immediately after the Resolution upon the wine duties. He should not move that Resolution in any case before Friday next.


referred to the Speaker to decide whether it was competent for any hon. Member to move a Resolution as an independent Motion on the Order of the Day, without giving due notice of it?


The course is quite irregular—it can only be done by the general consent of the House. If the House chooses to sanction this course of proceeding I need not tell the right hon. Member it is in its power to do so.

Motion agreed to.

House at rising to adjourn till To-morrow at Two o'clock.