§ MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Government, having regard to the Resolution of the House of Lords on Friday on the subject of "Betterment," will consent to a Motion for a Committee of this House to join the Lords Committee in considering this subject, as proposed by that Resolution?
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers, may I ask him whether he will take into consideration the fact that a Committee of this House, which has considered a Bill on this subject, voted in favour of the adoption of the betterment principle; whether, on two separate occasions during the present Session, that principle has been endorsed by the House, and on the second occasion by a much larger majority than on the first; and whether, in the opinion of one of the highest authorities in another place, the only way to deal with the betterment principle is in connection with each separate Bill when it is brought before Parliament?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
If there were any doubt as to the answer which should be given to the question on the Paper, the subsequent question of the hon. Member would have been of material assistance; but there is no doubt as to the answer I ought to give on the part of Her Majesty's Government. We do not intend to make, we do not intend to concur in any such proposal. As I understand the matter, the practice of this House—and a very useful practice it has been on many occasions—has been to appoint a Committee when the House has required some assistance either in the shape of counsel or materials in order to enable it to arrive at a conclusion which it has not 1812 yet reached; but in this matter we have reached our conclusion long ago and expressed it in a definite form. We have seen no cause to recede from it; and I do not at all understand why it is the office of the House of Lords to move us to appoint Committees for which we have no occasion.
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he means to say that this House has ever arrived at a conclusion on the general principle involved?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
It has arrived at a conclusion so far as the measure before the House was concerned.