§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister a Question with regard to the Business for to-morrow. It "would be convenient to know, supposing that, by misfortune, Supply should not be finished to-night, what Business will be taken to-morrow; and, especially, whether Her Majesty's Government intend to go on with the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill?
§ MR. GIBSON
asked, Whether Her Majesty's Government contemplated proceeding further with the Union Officers' Superannuation (Ireland) Bill?
§ MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK
asked, Whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that Votes in Supply had been taken until 3 o'clock that morning; and, whether he could undertake to prevent a repetition of that proceeding during the remainder of the Session, even at the risk of personal inconvenience to Her Majesty's Government?
§ MR. BIGGAR
asked, Whether the right hon. Gentleman had not stated that he would to-morrow bring forward the Union Officers' Superannuation (Ireland) Bill?
§ MR. CALLAN
asked, Whether, considering that a Select Committee had last year revised the Poor Law Officers' Superannuation Bill, the right hon. Gentleman would not consider it to be the duty of Her Majesty's Government to proceed with that Bill, and to obtain the sanction of Parliament to a much desired reform?
Certainly, it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to go forward with the Union Officers' Superannuation (Ireland) Bill at whatever time it may come on. I desire that there should be no mistake or misapprehension upon that point. With regard to the Question of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck), I can only say that I am very sorry that it should have been found necessary to prolong the Sitting in Supply to so late an hour as 3 o'clock in the morning, which, I am aware, should not be done until towards the very close of the Session, and when the date of the Prorogation has actually been fixed. It was, however, done last night by the will of the House. [Cries of "No!"] I do not understand that any effort was made to induce the Committee to report Progress. There was no Division taken on the point. [Mr. CAVENDISH BENTINCK: The Committee gave way.] Well, if the Committee gave way, I do not see what there is to complain of. Had the Government seen any indication that it was the feeling of the Committee that Progress should be reported, they would have assented to that course being taken. I am sorry if the right hon. and learned Gentleman has suffered inconvenience from the course that was taken; but we have now merely a choice of inconveniences—everthing is inconvenient at this period of the Session. We made the best choice in the circumstances that we could, having regard to the state of Public Business. With regard to the Business for to-morrow, I am sorry to say that since I last addressed the House on the subject of the course of Business we have lost all hope of being able to finish Supply to-night, because we certainly could not hope to get through the other Business of Supply to-night in time to enable us to redeem our pledge not to take the Army Votes after a particular hour. We must, therefore, proceed with Supply to-morrow, when it 965 may take some hours. That being so, we do not think that it would be fair to ask the House to take the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill to-morrow. Then, inasmuch as we have appointed Business for Monday and Tuesday, the question arises, When are we to proceed with the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill? Looking at the nature of that Bill, I do not think that it will require any lengthened discussion, and therefore we intend to fix it for the first Order of the Day on Monday. It then remains to be determined whether we shall take the Indian Budget as the second Order of the Day on Monday after the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill, or postpone it until another day. It cannot be made the first Order of the Day until Wednesday, because on Tuesday we must take the Amendments to the Agricultural Holdings Bills, if those Bills should have come down from the House of Lords by that time. We shall endeavour in the course of the evening to ascertain whether it will be most agreeable to the House to take the Indian Budget as the second Order of the Day on Monday, or as the first Order of the Day on Wednesday.
§ MR. BIGGAR
In reference to the Union Officers' Superannuation Bill. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister whether, in view of the strong opposition of the Irish Members to this Bill, and to the fact that it would prolong the Session if persevered with, he would not consider the advisability of dropping the measure?
I do not think there is a very large proportion of the Irish Members against the Bill—unless, indeed, the hon. Member himself constitutes that very large proportion.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
inquired whether it was intended, as the right hon. Gentleman's statement seemed to imply, to take the Appropriation Bill as a late Order every day, and never to give it precedence?
replied, that they must undoubtedly take the Appropriation Bill according to the usual course. From the time they introduced it they must have it as the first Order of the Day.
§ MR. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT
asked the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision with regard to the Indian Budget, which had already, in spite of many promises, been put off for a long 966 time, and which had been formally fixed for Wednesday. Several influential Members had arranged to come a considerable distance on Monday on account of the Indian Budget.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
hoped that, as it had been found necessary to devote Monday to another measure, the Indian Budget, on whatever day it might be considered, would not be taken at a late hour.
§ SIR R. ASSHETON CROSS
said, the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill was discussed at great length by a Committee upstairs; and he understood that the Attorney General was going to throw over some of the decisions of that Committee. Such an important measure could surely not be adequately discussed, under the circumstances, at this period
remarked that, viewing the origin of that Bill and the time bestowed on it by the Grand Committee, it would not be right for the Government to take the responsibility of withdrawing it from the House. They felt that the House and not the Government should decide on the question whether it should be proceeded with or not. With regard to the Indian Budget, he agreed that it ought not to be brought on at a late hour. He entertained the hope that the Court of Criminal Appeal Bill would not occupy more than a couple of hours, and in that case it might be preferable to go on with the Indian Budget on the same evening. He would, however, as he had said, endeavour to ascertain the general sense of the House on the question whether the Indian Budget should be the second Order on Monday or the first Order on Wednesday.
asked whether the arrangement to take the Medical Act Amendment Bill on Tuesday would hold?
Yes; on Tuesday, after the Lords' Amendments to the Agricultural Holdings Bills have been disposed of.
asked the Speaker whether it would be competent for the hon. Member for Eye (Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett) to bring forward on the Indian Budget the question of the Indian Criminal Jurisdiction Bill?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I consider that on a Motion relating to the Indian Budget it would be open to the hon. Member to make general observations on the Bill referred to.