§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, he thought it better to oppose the Bill—the object of which was to allow clergymen to set apart a portion of the graveyard for the interment of Dissenters—on the first reading, as it would save the time of the House, if the Bill was one which the House was likely to reject. He had long considered that the practice of introducing Private Bills as a matter of course should be put an end to. The Public Business of the House had become so enormous that something should be done to relieve the pressure; and he would commence by opposing this particular Bill, which, if introduced, would help to crowd the Orders of the House without a probability of its being carried.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
did not dispute the right to oppose the introduction of a Bill; but there was this difficulty in pursuing that course—that it was impossible for the House to know upon what it was voting. He had suggested to the Committee upon Public Business that a copy of the Bill should be deposited in the Public Bill Office three days before the Motion for introduction must be made, but the Committee did not adopt the suggestion. There were 51 Notices for introduction of Bills already on the Paper, and there would be only 31 "Wednesdays down to the end of July, so that there would be something like two Bills for every Wednesday. Some private Members' Bills might, no doubt, be down for Tuesdays; but one effect of this would be that unless Government should consent to give exceptional privileges in favour of a Bill, that scarcely anybody wanted, most important measures might be strangled. Looking forward to the time when the Chancellor of the Exchequer would submit the Resolution to the House, he was not prepared to oppose the first reading of this Bill. He advocated the printing of Bills before they were read a first time.
§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN
deprecated the premature discussion of Resolutions, some of them adopted only by a majority of the Select Committee on Public Business last year. He had put on the Notice Paper a Question, asking the Government what course they intended to take with regard to the Resolutions of that Committee? Without seeing the Bill, he was not prepared to oppose the first reading, although he should probably resist its further progress. For the present they had better adhere to the old Rule, under which all that was implied by a first reading was that the subject was one which it was fitting the House should consider.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he must protest against the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) stealing a march on the other Members of the Public Business Committee by quoting from its Report at such length recommendations which were, after all, very likely to come to nothing. It was taking an undue advantage of those other Members who were just as able to do the same, but who refrained from such an irregularity. At the same time, he 208 hoped that the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) would not persevere with his Motion. He was himself not averse from considering how the custom of dealing with proposed legislation at that stage might, with due precautions, be revived. After all, it had not been so long obsolete; for he had himself in the last Parliament, not so many Sessions back, defeated Mr. Auberon Herbert on a Motion for leave to bring in a Bill. But he did not think it quite fair on the part of the hon. Member for Swansea arbitrarily to select one out of many Bills, and, without Notice, attempt to strangle it.
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN
remarked, that if this Bill was the same as that brought in last year, it was about the worst measure ever introduced, and he should give it his most strenuous opposition. The hon. Member (Mr. Monk) was greatly mistaken if he thought it would satisfy the claims of Nonconformists. He hoped his hon. Friend (Mr. Dillwyn) would be satisfied with calling attention to the subject, and would not divide against the introduction of the Bill.
§ MR. MONK
thought his hon. Friend might have given Notice of his intended opposition to the Bill, as he knew perfectly well that it had been read a second time in the last Session; and that, although it was then opposed, the opposition had not been carried to a division, the feeling of the House being almost unanimous in its favour. He should, however, be perfectly ready to meet his hon. Friend at the proper time.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I think it would be most undesirable at the present moment, and on a single question of this kind, to make a change in our practical system of proceeding. I think it open to very great doubt whether it might not be wise for the House to return to a practice which is perfectly legal, but has become almost obsolete—namely, to object to Bills on their first reading. It is a practice on which there is a great deal to be said; but it should be practised under the full understanding that the House had considered the proposal. I do not certainly think that on this occasion it would be proper to put it in practice without further investigation.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, there were occasions on which it was distinctly desirable that Bills should be 209 opposed on their first reading, and he would give Notice that he would oppose the Licensing Bill that night, but he appealed to his hon. Friend (Mr. Dillwyn) not to oppose this particular Bill.
§ MR. DILLWYN
explained that his object had been to curtail the Business of the House by relieving the overcrowded state of the Order Book. He would give way to the appeal made to him, and not press his opposition to the introduction of the Bill.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Resolution reported:—Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. MONK, Mr. GRANTHAM, and Mr. FORSYTH.
§ Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 13.]