§ MR. DILLWYN
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, What course is proposed to be taken with respect to the Committees on Private Bills between this and the Dissolution? I believe that in in some cases the companies and the parties to those Bills have brought up witnesses at great expense; and it is desirable that some arrangement should be made by which quorums may be formed for the purpose of proceeding 692 with the various measures. Otherwise there will be great difficulty in getting a quorum of Members to attend these Committees.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that Question, I should like to put another one to him. As I understand, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not given any Notice this evening in regard to Public Business, and I should, therefore, like to ask him, whether he intends to make any proposal to the House with reference to what he mentioned yesterday as to the intention of the Government to appropriate some further portion of the time of the House for urgent Government Business?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, with regard to the Question of the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) I will state, in the first place, that it will be necessary to propose and pass certain Orders with regard to the suspension of Private Bills. I have in my hand the Orders which were passed on the 11th of April, 1859, when a Dissolution was imminent, and those Orders, with some modifications which will be necessary to suit the altered circumstances which have arisen since that time, will be proposed and submitted to the House in the course of a day or two. But these have reference to the resumption in the next Parliament of Private Bills which are suspended, and they do not touch the question to which the hon. Gentleman has called attention, as to what should be the proceedings of Committees at the present moment. I apprehend with regard to those, that the case of each Committee will probably differ from that of other Committees. In some cases it may be desirable to complete the inquiry which is pending; while in others it may be desirable to suspend, or not to commence, an inquiry. Probably the best way will be that each Committee should be dealt with upon the merits of the case as represented by the Chairman of the Committee. But I would call attention to a Resolution which was agreed to last Session. It is as follows:—That in case a Committee on any Private Bill or group of such Bills shall report their opinion to the House that any Bill or Bills not yet considered by them should not he entered upon, or that the consideration of any Bill partly considered should not be proceeded with, all further proceedings on such Bill or Bills 693 shall be suspended during the present Session.Some such Resolution as this will probably be proposed to the House. I will confer with the Chairman of Ways and Means and with the authorities of the House, and I will lose no time in making a Motion on what I know is a most important matter. With regard to the Question of the noble Lord, I said last night that I proposed to make a Motion to-day for giving Government Orders precedence on certain days during the remainder of the Session. Of course, I am anxious to interfere as little as possible with the arrangements of the House generally, and, on looking carefully into the position of the different measures which are to be brought forward, I found that there was nothing for to-day of an urgent character. The step which will have to be taken with regard to the Ways and Means Bill is merely a formal one at the end of the evening, and there is no Government Business for to-morrow which could not be well disposed of at the end of Wednesday's Sitting. Therefore, I have had no occasion to ask for either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. With regard to Friday, however, I think it will be necessary for us to ask the House to sit at 2 o'clock on that day, in order to make progress with our Business. Next week I shall ask for Tuesday and Wednesday. I will give Notice of that.
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
I should like the Chancellor of the Exchequer to clear up a difference of opinion which has arisen on a matter of some importance. I and other hon. Members understood the right hon. Gentleman to say yesterday that, not only would the House be dissolved on the 23rd instant, but that the Writs would be issued on that day. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has any objection to stating precisely when the Writs will issue?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, the answer which I gave yesterday was that I had stated, some little time ago, that I thought the House would rise on the 23rd instant, and that, as advised, I did not see any reason to depart from that expectation. I still think it probable that the Dissolution will take place on the 23rd; but the day when it is contemplated that the Writs should issue is Wednesday, the 24th.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he could afford an opportunity, before the Dissolution, for a discussion on the general situation in Afghanistan?