§ Order for Second Reading, read.
§ SIR THOMAS BAZLEY,
in the absence of the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. T. B. Smith)—who undertook to deal with this subject—moved that the Order for the Second Reading of the Bill should be discharged.
§ On Question, That the said Order be discharged,
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he ought to be the last person to object to the Order being discharged, as he had always been opposed to the Bill becoming law; but he desired to represent the great inconvenience of the system of allowing Notices of Bills to appear on the Notice Paper, after the intention had been conceived of withdrawing them. It deluded hon. Members by bringing some down unnecessarily, and preventing others coming who would be there to take part on other Bills. In the present ease, many hon. Members had come down to oppose the Bill; but he himself knew at 7 o'clock last night, through the kindness of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, that the Bill would be withdrawn, but other hon. Members did not know, and the course which had been pursued, though technically right, was a very inconvenient and unseemly proceeding. Some means should be taken of informing hon. Members when it was intended that a Bill should be withdrawn.
§ MR. MUNTZ
agreed that it was very inconvenient that a Notice should be allowed to remain on the Paper after it had been determined to put the question off to a future time. He had had no intimation that the Bill would be withdrawn, and when he heard of the illness of his hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, he came down to the House with the intention of moving the second reading of the Bill, and should have done so, only that he was informed that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Staffordshire (Sir Charles Adderley), whose name was on the back of the Bill, and the President of the 462 Board of Trade had agreed that the Bill should be withdrawn. Until just now, he had not the slightest idea of any such interference, and he thought if such an arrangement had been come to between those right hon. Gentlemen, the House should have had Notice of it.
§ MR. COLLINS
observed that Notice should have been given not only on account of the Bill itself, but on account of those other Bills upon the Paper, which were affected by the withdrawal of the first one. It was most desirable that hon. Members who intended to withdraw Bills should take the trouble to inform the House through the ordinary channels of information, that such Bills would not be proceeded with. He had himself on the Paper a Bill, fourth in order, the Municipal Elections (Cumulative Vote) Bill, and he had no opportunity of letting his Friends know that there was a chance of its coming on that day.
§ SIR DOMINIC CORRIGAN
endorsed the observations which had fallen from hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, as to the inconvenience that accrued to hon. Members from the system of withdrawing Bills without previous Notice. He had come down to the House, at some inconvenience, to support the Bill, in which he took a deep interest, and until the Order of the Day was read by the Clerk at the Table, he had never heard a word of the intention to withdraw it.
§ MR. STEVENSON,
who had given Notice of a Motion for the rejection of the Bill, expressed an opinion that the more the question was discussed the more public opinion would come to the conviction that it would be undesirable to pass it into a law.
§ MR. BAINES
said, he should be sorry if any undue blame should fall on his hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, who was ill. He was informed that his hon. Friend did take measures to acquaint hon. Gentlemen whose names were on the back of the Bill, that he would not be able to be present. Although his own name was upon the back of the Bill, he did not know until a few minutes before it was called on, that it was not to be proceeded with. It was evident that the inconvenience was great and general, and he hoped it would be understood that it was the duty of any hon. Gentleman who, from any cause should 463 be unable to proceed with a public measure, to give full public Notice in future of his inability to do so. In this case, however, he held the hon. Gentleman the author of the Bill free of all blame in the matter.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Order discharged:—Bill withdrawn.