HC Deb 25 June 1875 vol 225 cc551-2

Sir, some dissatisfaction was expressed last night in the House as to the state of Committee of Supply. I think it was a natural dissatisfaction, and I must say that the Government was as little satisfied with the matter as the House could be. We have, however, been controlled by cir- cumstances which it is difficult to meet—and it has been the fate of Ministers generally at this time of the Session to find themselves in that position. I have, however, carefully considered the matter, and I will inform the House of the proposals I contemplate making in order to meet this evil and justify the expectations of the House. I propose that the next fortnight, with the exception of the two Mondays, shall be devoted to Supply. On Monday, the 28th, the second reading of the Employers and Workmen Bill will be taken; on Tuesday morning the Civil Service Estimates; on Thursday, July 1, the Education Vote; on Friday, July 2, the Civil Service Votes, and on the following Tuesday they will be continued. On Thursday, July 8, I propose to take the Navy Estimates. We shall thus be pretty well able to deal with the whole of these questions. I trust that the House will find these arrangements convenient, and I hope that they will therefore allow the Government to take the Votes on Account to-night which are absolutely necessary. I may not be in Order; but I will ask the permission of the House to make one other remark. There has been a complaint expressed on the part of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition (the Marquess of Hartington) that the Government has not announced the Bills they have introduced which they do not propose to carry forward. I think that the expectation of the House in that matter is perfectly justifiable, if that expectation is expressed at the right time; but, so far as I am informed, there is no precedent whatever for a Government coming forward and announcing the Bills they intend to relinquish in the month of June. I have before me Returns as to the conduct of the late Government in this matter. I find that in 1870 the announcement was made on July 18; in 1871, on July 17; in 1872, on July 15; in 1873, on July 7. This is still the month of June, and if I have not made any announcement of that character I have only acted in a manner that precedents justify. I have only to add—without exposing myself to the imputation of arrogant assumption—that those who are interested in the conduct of the Bills may be trusted as the best judges of the time when, and the manner in which, any announcement should be made to the House with respect to them.

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