§ MR. W. S. ROBSON (South Shields)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury whether the Government would consent to take Class II., Foreign Office Vote, next Friday night?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
I had not proposed to take Class II., Foreign Office Vote, next Friday, though I am perfectly ready to conform the plans of the Government to the wishes of the House with regard to the arrangements of Supply, as I have always been under similar circumstances. The state of the ease with regard to Supply is this: We are pledged to take Friday, May 14, for Irish Supply. There are two Fridays before that. We have had seven discussions upon foreign affairs in the course of the present Session, and on the whole I am disposed to think, unless a demand is made upon the Government by the front Opposition Bench, that it will be more convenient to proceed in ordinary course with the Civil Service 1141 Votes next Friday than to take the Foreign Office Vote on Friday. No doubt a discussion later on in the Session will lie imperatively demanded in the interests of free debate. Therefore. I will give no definite reply at the present time: lint will endeavour to find out whether there is any widespread wish for another discussion on foreign affairs, and if an intimation is made to me to that effect from responsible quarters, I shall of course accede to such a desire.
§ SIR C. DILKE
asked the President of the Board of Trade why the Government did not proceed last night with the Merchant Shipping (Undermianning) Bill, the second principal Measure of the evening, in consequence of which the House was counted out shortly after 9 o'clock?
I do not think it was in consequence of that. The reason the Bill in question was not proceeded with was that there was a general desire expressed by those interested that, having regard to certain matters of controversy that, would arise, it would not be desirable or in accordance with custom that such a Measure should be taken the first night after the House reassembled.