§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he can now fix the date for the Indian Budget Statement; and whether, in view of the fact that the Indian Councils Bill affects more than 1891 200,000,000 of Her Majesty's subjects, and that repeated undertakings have been given for its ample discussion at an early period of the Session, he will arrange that the Second Reading be taken with as little delay as possible?
§ * THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH,) Strand, Westminster
I join in the expression of regret which I understand this question is intended to convey, that it has not been possible to take the Indian Budget at an earlier period in the course of the present Session. But that is due, I am afraid, to the fact that the House has debated other questions at very considerable length. In regard to the Indian Councils Bill there can be no doubt that it is a very important measure, affecting a large number of Her Majesty's subject. I also acknowledge that I have given repeated undertakings to the hon. Member that, as far as was in my power, an opportunity should be afforded for the consideration of the measure. It has not been possible to redeem those pledges. I deeply regret the fact, and I am afraid that it will not be possible to afford an adequate opportunity for the discussion of the Bill this Session. The hon. Member will see that I am unable at present to appoint a day for the Indian Budget Statement. As soon as we have got through the other business it will be taken.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
In consequence of the answer which the right hon. Gentleman has just given in reference to the Indian Councils Bill, and the decided implication that it will be impossible to proceed with it in the course of the present Session, may I ask that it may be taken early in the next Session? I know that there are many Members, who, during the last two months, have specially intimated their intentions of taking part in the Debates upon it. It is quite certain that whenever it is taken there must be a long Debate on the Second Reading, seeing the number of Amendments which stand upon the Paper, and the avowed intention of raising in Committee the question of the elective principle.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I think it will be better, under the circumstances, that I should say at once that the Government will not proceed with the Bill this Session.