§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [16thApril], "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ Question again proposed.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
I think it is very strange that a Motion should be made to proceed with this Bill at this hour of the night, when the Minister in charge is not actually in his place, and I think that in the interests of the general business, and of this measure in particular, it would be wise for Ministers to withdraw it. This Bill raises many controversial points, and in regard to it we are anxious to challenge Her Majesty's Attorney General on the question of official secrets. I should like to point out that the Bill was carried through Committee with a rush at a time when a great many Members who intended to move amendments were absent, and I am sorry that the Government should now take advantage of a similar state of affairs in the House in order to try and get the final stage. Unless I get a sign from right hon. Gentlemen opposite that they will agree to defer the matter, I shall be prepared to move the adjournment of the debate. I am already quite prepared to express my opinion of the Attorney General in a 907 very few words. The Bill was introduced by the hon. and learned Gentleman without any observations, and I think we have very strong ground of complaint of the manner in which it has been pushed forward. I beg, therefore, to move the adjournment of the debate.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That the debate be now adjourned."
§ * THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER, I. W.)
I was not here at the commencement of the debate on this matter, or I should have stated at once that I was prepared to consent to the Bill being re-committed in accordance with the pledge I had already given to that effect at the instance of some hon. Members. I think it is very desirable to re-commit the Bill in view of certain events which have recently been brought to my knowledge.
§ * MR. RITCHIE (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
No; I think the suggestion of my hon. and learned Friend is that the Bill should be re-committed in order that certain Amendments may be considered. It would be better for the hon. and learned Member to withdraw his Motion for the adjournment of the Debate, then my hon. and learned Friend would move the re-committal of the Bill.
Motion by leave withdrawn.
Original Question again proposed, and Motion by leave withdrawn.
Bill re-committed for Monday next.