§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
said, this was a measure to give increased powers against the offence of disclosing confidential matter by officials. He believed there was no objection to the Bill in principle, and any Amendment thought desirable could be discussed in Committee.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Attorney General.)
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said, he could not agree that the Bill had in it nothing of an unusual character. It seemed to him to be one of a very unusual character, because it appeared to create certain new offences to be brought under the cognizance of the Courts. This amounted to a fundamental alteration in the Criminal Code of the country, and he thought the House was entitled to ask for some more lengthy explanation as to the scope, general purpose, and powers of the Bill. [An hon. MEMBER: Have you read it?] Yes; he had read it with great care; such care that he had no need to hold a copy for reference. Yet he did not mean to trouble the House with a résumé of its contents, or indulge in 1496 criticisms more pertinent to the Committee stage; still his knowledge of the Bill induced him to object, as he emphatically did, to its second reading being taken at such a time without discussion. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury said no contentious Business would be taken, and probably he thought this was included in that category. If so, he had "reckoned without his host "——
§ MR. KELLY (Camberwell, N.)
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ MR. SPEAKER
Five minutes is a very short time to devote to a second reading discussion, and, moreover, Business is now interrupted by 12 o'clock.
§ It being Midnight, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed To-morrow.