§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ *THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER,) Isle of Wight
There is no reason for postponing this Bill. It has been on the Paper for a considerable time, and the hon. Member, who has had Amendments on the Paper, was not here to move them.
§ *Mr. M'LAREN
I was called out of the House for a few minutes last night, and in that time the Bill was dealt with. Of course I do not blame the Government. But I do think it is rather hard after my hon. Friend (Mr. A. O'Connor) has given way, on the understanding that only non-contentious busines should betaken, that this Bill should be pressed. It puts me in a very awkward position. I am unwilling to delay the discussion of the very important question of the condition of Donegal, but I am equally unwilling to let this Bill go through without a single word of protest or explanation [An hon. MEMBER: Move the Adjournment of the debate.] I am unwilling to take a step of that sort, if I could get any sign from the right hon. Gentleman that he is willing to take the Bill on the Monday after the holidays, which really would be the fair course to take. This Bill went through the Second Reading without a single word of explanation, and the only Member who spoke upon it was my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Cork. If there is no other course I will move the adjournment of the debate.
§ *SIR R. E. WEBSTER
The hon. Member is really misinformed. I made a statement on moving the Second 658 Reading, and I answered the questions raised. I sincerely trust the hon. Member will allow the formal question to be put to the House.
The Attorney General, on the occasion when the Bill was brought into Committee, stated that it had been represented to him that those Gentlemen who had Amendments on the Paper would be able to move them on the Report stage. The Bill got through without Amendment, and consequently these was no Report stage. Now, I would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether he is not under a moral obligation to consent to the Adjournment, so that the Bill may be discussed on its merits. Certainly there is a clause here which, it strikes me, would prevent information of any sort being given to a Member of Parliament, and which would prevent jobs being exposed in this House. I should certainly give that clause every possible opposition in the present stage. And, Sir, hon. Members below the Gangway feel as strongly as I do, and they would certainly give it every opposition in their power. When the hon. and learned Gentleman remembers that it was thought by hon. Members they would have an opportunity of renewing their Amendments on the Report stage, and that in that way all opposition was swept away, I think he will allow that, under these circumstances, the Government would not be fulfilling an honourable understanding if this Motion for the Third Reading were pressed.
§ *SIR R. WEBSTER
Of course, if it is understood that anything I said last night caused opposition to be withdrawn, I should not oppose the Motion for the Adjournment of the debate. I therefore consent to the matter standing over to the second Monday after Easter.
Debate adjourned till Monday, 29th April.