§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "Unless the House otherwise direct—(a) Government business shall have precedence at every sitting except the evening sittings on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the sitting on Friday (b) On the evening sittings of Tuesday and Wednesday notices of. Motion shall have precedence of Orders of the day. (c) After Easter Government business, shall have precedence at the evening sittings of Tuesday. (d) After Whitsuntide Government business shall have precedence at all evening sittings, and 1284 at all Friday sittings except the sittings on the third and fourth Fridays after Whit Sunday."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ (5.32.) MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.) moved to insert after "except" the words "the afternoon sitting on Thursday and." He said he understood that while they had already decided that the short sitting should be on Friday instead of Wednesday as at present, they had not yet decided what business should be taken at the short sitting on Friday. His Amendment, if carried, would compel private Members' Bills to be taken at the Thursday afternoon sitting between three and half-past seven, instead of at the morning sitting of Friday, which would become Government time. In point of time he did not think the Government would lose anything by having private Members' Bills on Thursday afternoon. On the contrary, there would be a slight 1285 gain in time to the Government. Therefore it was merely a question of convenience whether private Members' Bills should be discussed on Thursday or Friday. He frankly admitted that he was afraid, along with a great many of his hon. friends, that under the new Rule they would have the faddists running riot on Friday, and legislation would be passed which it would be very difficult to stop. The first practical objection to his Amendment would be that if the faddists did get the Second Reading of Bills passed on Friday afternoon, there would only be two Fridays left after Whitsuntide when they would be able to further what he thought were their atrocities. That was an argument which had practical force, and he was quite sure that whether the Bills were discussed on Friday or Wednesday, his hon. friend the Member for Peckham would take the intelligent interest he always did in these Bills, and endeavour that no more of them should be put on the Statute-book than could possibly be avoided, He submitted to the Leader of the House that the fact of a Bill being read a second time had some effect on the people of the country, who did not realise what value should be attached to a Wednesday afternoon division. Still less would they appreciate the difference between a Wednesday and a Friday afternoon division. They ought not to do anything to render more easy the passing of ill-considered and immature bills, although the passing of the Second Reading of private Members' Bills might have little meaning to Members of the House, it conveyed considerable meaning to those who had never been Members. If he believed that the attendance on Friday could be sufficiently small to prevent a House being made at all, then he should certainly be in favour of the alteration, but he thought that was hardly likely. On the contrary, he thought there were likely to be a great many hon. Members concerned in business in the country who would make Friday their business day in the country. Then these hon. Members would find it very difficult, however much they might be interested in a private Member's Bill, to remain in order to vote for or against the Bill. Under this new arrangement these Bills would be much more frequently 1286 passed than hitherto. The right hon. Gentleman might say that if this was the position of private Members on Friday, what was to become of the Government business? He did not think the right hon. Gentleman need have any fear so far as the Government were concerned. In Committee of Supply in most cases—he did not say in all cases—they found the two Front Benches supporting one another, and except on important questions it was the few private Members who took an interest in a subject who were found dividing against the Government. When important questions turned up the Government would be able to keep a majority to support them on a Friday as much as on any other day. He had suggested Thursday for private Members' Bills, but he did not mind what day it was so long as it was not Friday.
In line 2, after the word 'except,' to insert the words 'the Afternoon Sitting on Thursday and'"—(Mr. Galloway.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *(5.38). SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said the hon. Gentleman had moved his Amendment entirely from the point of view of those who were opposed to private Members legislation. He thought that, from a different point of view, those who were in favour of private Members' legislation would support the Amendment. He admitted that to some extent they were re-arguing a question which had already been argued, but they could not avoid doing so. The fact was that many hon. Members had the strongest opinion against allowing an additional day of the week to become a slack Parliamentary day, when the House of Commons was no longer the House of Commons, and when the House was merely in the hands of a very small and wholly unrepresentative body of Members. Those who desired private Members' legislation might take precisely the same view on this subject as those who were opposed to them. They did not want the opinion of sixty or seventy Members not representing the House as a whole. They wanted to get the real opinion of 1287 the House on the subject of any Bill brought forward. He believed the House and the Government themselves would be oppressed by the debating of great Bills on four days running, and they would find the strain more than any one could stand. He would cordially vote for the Amendment.
§ (5.40.) MR. BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
said a great deal was to be said from the point of view of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Forest of Dean. He did not say whether he was in favour of or opposed to private Members' legislation, but in either case the legislation should be considered by a full House and by people competent to give an opinion on the question. To allow private Members' Bills to come on when there were sixty or seventy Members in the House was to give an erroneous opinion to the country. It had been asked—Why should not Members come down on Friday? The reason was that they would go away on Thursday. But if Friday was a Government day they would desire to come down, and the Whips would see that they did come down. If they did not come down the Government would take means to secure their attendance. He did not care whether private Members' Bills were taken on Thursday or any other day except Friday, but the object of the Amendment was really to secure a full attendance when these Bills were before the House.
§ (5.42.) MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said this Amendment raised the question of the bona fides of some of the new rules. Were they to continue to make this House a business House, or were they to arrange to give Members a long week-end? If Friday was to be the off-day, he was afraid they would have repeated what happened last Wednesday week, when a Bill affecting Friendly Societies was settled by half-past one, and everybody went off for the holidays. The same thing would happen practically every Friday. Under this rule Friday would become a dies non altogether. If Thursday was to be kept for Supply, it would become a slack day also. Members would not come back till late on Monday, and the real business of the House would be done on 1288 Tuesday and Wednesday. Looking to the requirements of the country, and to the interests of the ever-growing Empire, it seemed to him strange that they should strive to make the Rules such as to give a minimum of time to the work of the House.
§ *(5.44.) MR. JOSEPH A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)
said he had a similar Amendment on the Paper, his proposal being that private Members' Bills should be taken on Wednesday. He believed in the utility of private Members' Bills, and he desired to see those Bills discussed at a sitting when they would be properly considered by a full House, and not at the end of the week when Members would not be in attendance. If the Government took the Friday morning sitting, a comparatively full House could be secured by their Whips for Government business, and in exchange they could give on another day earlier in the week a morning sitting to private Members. He pointed out that if either Amendment were adopted, private Members would have to sacrifice an hour of the time which they would have under the proposal of the Government. Therefore, by accepting the Amendment, the Government would actually gain time for their own business. He hoped the Leader of the House would take this into consideration.
§ (5.45.) SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said he entirely agreed with the hon. Member for Peckham, who had put the whole thing before the House with perfect clearness and force. The business time of the House would be whittled down to two days a week. The great difference between the private Member's day and the Government day was that there was pressure on the Government time but none on the other; and therefore on the private Members' day a great number of Members of the House would make it a holiday, whereas if Government business was put down for the day the Government would see that there was a proper attendance and the darling week end, which was the great object of the new Rules, would be equally secured, as the House would rise at six and hon. Members could go away to 1289 their enjoyment. That would at least keep up the work of the House through the week with something like regularity, whereas if private Members' business was to be relegated to Friday that would be simply a dies non. He hoped the Government would appoint some other day for private Members' business and take Friday for themselves.
§ (5.48.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said they were not now discussing whether the Parliamentary week-end was a good or a bad change. The only question before the House was whether private Members' business should be taken at a twelve o'clock sitting or not. It was perfectly immaterial whether the afternoon sitting should be taken on a Friday, or Thursday, or any other day. He admitted that under the existing Wednesday Rules, private Members had been able to pass into law certain measures which were sober, useful, and harmless. It had been contended by the supporters of the Amendment that a House could not be got to sit on a Friday, and that therefore it would be better to devote some other day of the week to the work of the consideration of private Members' Bills. He denied that the House would decline to sit on Friday, but if it did decline to sit on that day it would be much better to decline to sit on private Members' Bills than on Government Bills or on Supply put down for such a day. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that that was a matter which could be determined by the issue of a Government Whip. But the House of Commons represented the country, and the Government could not control the Opposition, and he did not know that they had any great desire to do so. He supposed that the idea of the hon. Member who moved the Amendment was that on Friday the Government would take Supply. He was constantly being told that private business was more important than Supply; but his content on was that it would be easier to get a big House on Friday to discuss a private Member's Bill than a big House to discuss Estimates which did not excite any wide interest. There was also this great difference between private Members' and Government business, that it could be foreseen for the whole session what 1290 private Members' Bills were to be brought on on a particular day, whereas it was impossible for the Government to say a long time beforehand, what was the business they would take on a particular day. His hon. friend the mover of the Amendment spoke for men of business whose private avocations called them out of London, and he said that there would be a temptation for them to go out of town on the Thursday night or the Friday morning, if Friday were made the private Members' day. But if his hon. friend and those Members who were in his position were going to make engagements for Fridays throughout the session it was obvious that they could not be in the House on Fridays to either oppose or support the Government business, and that they would not be able to make any arrangements for a long time beforehand, in view of some important Government proposal—such as a vote of censure or a big Bill. But with private Members' business the case was entirely different. His hon. friend, and others with him, would say that on such and such a Friday, such and such a faddist was going to introduce a revolutionary measure, and they would make arrangements by which, he had no doubt, they would defeat it. Was it not much better, by appointing Friday as private Members' day, that the business of the final day of the Parliamentary week should be capable of being foreseen a long way ahead, and that every preparation should be accordingly made for the properly handling and discussing—and if need be throwing out by an exemplary majority—of any faddist proposals? He did not know that he need labour the point much more, but he did not think that the House would willingly entertain a change of a system which went far beyond the Parliamentary recollection of any of them, and which gave to the twelve o'clock sitting the discussion of private Members' business. He did not dwell on the fact that the continuity of Government business would be interfered with; but he did think that, not only for the reasons he had stated, but in accordance with the wishes of the great mass of the Members of the House, they had better, on the whole, adhere to ancient tradition in 1291 this matter and devote that day on which they met at twelve o'clock to private Members' business.
§ (5.59.) MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)
said that the First Lord of the Treasury had told the House that the selection of the private Members' business was not satisfactory at the present moment. That was quite true, but under the proposed new Rules, not only would the selection be unsatisfactory, but the discussion thereupon would be also unsatisfactory. They would now have four long sittings together up to twelve or one o'clock each night, and after that it was absurd to expect hon. Members to come down to the House to discuss private Members' legislation. If this proposed change took place the right of private Members to initiate legislation would be lost entirely, and Friday would be a wasted day. This arrangement was not fair to those who lived a long way from London, and why should this change be made simply to enable those who lived near London to enjoy themselves? The right hon. Gentleman said that they should not change an immemorial custom.
§ MR. LAMBERT
said that it was now proposed to change an immemorial custom. Private Members often initiated most important legislation, and they had done so even during the present session. Under the changed condition of affairs private Members would come down on Fridays to a skeleton House to discuss matters of interest with about forty or sixty hon. Members present, and the remainder of the hon. Members of the House would be away enjoying themselves.
§ (6.5.) MR. CHAPLIN
said that it was proposed to relegate private Members' day to Friday; he should support the Amendment, although he should be perfectly willing to meet the right hon. Gentleman if he suggested any other day but Friday. The First Lord of the Treasury said that it would be much 1292 easier to keep a House for a private Members' Bill than for Government business on Friday.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I never said that, or anything that could be so interpreted. I think the right hon. Gentleman must be referring to the statement which I made that we could easily foresee private Members' business, but we could not foresee for a long period what business the Government would take. Therefore private Members could easily make their arrangements earlier.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
did not think that it was at all desirable that private Members' business should be relegated to Fridays. His right hon. friend had given a very amusing description of the Bills of private Members, but with all due respect to the First Lord of the Treasury he would say that he had known a good many very useful and well drawn measures introduced by private Members, some of which had actually been taken up by the Government of the day. A great many useful little Bills could often be introduced by private Members, such as the Sparks Bill, and if this change were carried it would be difficult for private Members to secure a House for Bills of that particular kind. He hoped his right hon. friend would reconsider his decision upon this point. This was not a Party question, and there was no doubt that the rights and privileges of private Members would be very seriously injured by the Rules which were now being submitted. If the First Lord of the Treasury would not make a concession upon this point, he hoped the private Members of the House of Commons would take courage and assert their own rights and privileges and carry this Amendment by a large majority.
§ (6.10.) MR. GEORGE WHITELEY (Yorkshire, W.R., Pudsey)
said that most of the speeches of hon. Members opposite had been in favour of the Amendment of hon. Member for Manchester, and that showed how they regarded as a whole these new Procedure Rules. He supported this Amendment, however, upon very different grounds. The idea of these alterations was the long week-end, 1293 and that was the great goal which the right hon. Gentleman sought to secure. It seemed to him that if this Amendment were carried the right hon. Gentleman would have to drop the whole of his new Rules because, without the long week-end, the now Rules would be entirely worthless. The supporters of this change seemed to be divided into three classes, the golfers, the Whips and the week-enders, and it was to meet the wishes of these three separate classes that these alterations had been proposed. The change would at once create slack Fridays, when there would be a poor attendance and the measures would be inadequately discussed in a very thin House. The right hon. Gentleman's argument upon this point was worthless because Supply was Government business, and could the First Lord of the Treasury argue that the attendance during the discussion of Supply had been in-adequate and insufficient? The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that they always had full Houses on Fridays, and the attendance was more than adequate to discuss Supply. He had no hesitation in saying that the Whips would guarantee the right hon. Gentleman a House on Fridays if he accepted this Amendment. Some of the most useful legislation which had been passed by the House had been initiated in consequence of the efforts of private Members upon Wednesdays. They would by this change also place the various Committees in a very difficult position, because those Committees would be called upon to discuss a Bill perhaps passed by a very small House and which might not receive the support of the majority of the House. He urged the Government not to throw away Friday. He agreed with the statement which had just been made, that while they were in London they ought to put in as much work as they could. This would probably be the longest session on record, and yet they were now being asked to sacrifice six hours of their Parliamentary time every week in order to allow certain hon. Members to go into the country.
§ (6.15.) MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
did not think the Leader of the House had even yet grasped what was involved in this 1294 proposal. It was well known that he (Mr. Stuart Wortley) was one of those who had objected to this change from Wednesday to Friday in the first instance. But the Government had got their way, and having got their way, they were under an obligation to go as far as they could towards securing the efficiency of the Friday sitting. When the right hon. Gentleman said there was no difference between a private Members' day and a Government day he denied that which was patent to all. It was perfectly well known that some of the largest attendances had been on Fridays. The Government, by putting down the Foreign Office Vote or the Colonial Office Vote, practically challenged the Opposition to use their opportunity or forego it for the rest of the session, and on such Friday evenings they had secured an exceptionally large attendance. Another thing which the right hon. Gentleman ignored was that if they had private Members' Bills on Fridays, and had a thin attendance in the House, it tended to reduce the whole proceedings to the level of irresponsibility, and afforded the Government a loophole which they ought not to have of disclaiming responsibility for giving the House a lead by expressing their opinions on Bills. From the Government the infection would spread right through the House, and the result would be that everybody present would salve his conscience by the feeling that the decision given was so irresponsible, that at its future stages such a Bill might, without discredit, be passively obstructed or conveniently shelved. That was not a situation in which the House should be placed. He would support the Amendment.
§ (6.18.) MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
said he should support the Amendment without the slightest hesitation, not only in the interests of unofficial Members, but in the interest of the dignity and efficiency of the House. They had come to a sort of crisis in regard to the attempt at legislation on the part of unofficial Members. The right hon. Member for Aberdeen, when the Rules of Procedure were being discussed in 1888, gave a long list 1295 of very useful measures that had been passed through the House by unofficial Members, and last night the Home Secresary had told them that in 1882, when he was an unofficial Member in Opposition, he carried an important measure of licensing reform through the House. That could not be done nowadays. The utmost misconception prevailed on the part of the public with regard to Bills introduced in that House. At the beginning of the session hundreds of hon. Members balloted for the chance of introducing Bills, but not 4 per cent. of the Bills introduced ever received satisfactory discussion; not 2 per cent. ever got into Committee: and not 1 per cent. he thought, taking an averarge of ten years, found its way on to the Statute-book. There was now absolutely no chance of an unofficial Member carrying a Bill that effected any reform of moment. By the change that had been effected, Friday had gone as a Parliamentary day, and he regretted that more than he could say. He believed that every session many of the Bills introduced by private Members, if they could find their way on to the Statute-book would greatly promote the welfare of the country. These Rules of Procedure were a blow to the efficiency and reputation of the House. The House was not raising itself in the estimation of the nation, and his complaint against the Leader of the House was that the right hon. Gentleman did not always endeavour to maintain the dignity and efficiency of the House. He urged the Leader of the House to give another day than Friday to the consideration of the Bills of unofficial Members.
§ (6.24.) MR. CRIPPS (Lancashire, Stretford)
said he hoped hon. Members would approach this question from the point of view of the efficiency and dignity of the House, rather than any other point of view, although they might differ as to the way in which that dignity and efficiency were to be maintained. There were two points involved, the efficiency of public business and of private Members' legislation, the first of which was of the greatest importance. If the House was losing its grip on the country, it was because it had not sufficient grasp of the great Imperial questions with which it had to deal. As 1296 a general rule, the business must be done by those who had control of the House for the time being—that was to say, the Government of the day. The real duty of private Members, it must be remembered, was to take part in the great national public business of the country, and therefore the first consideration with regard to the Amendment was how it affected the consideration of public business. His first objection was that it was a serious interference to take away any of the afternoons which were to be devoted to public business for the purpose of devoting them to the consideration of matters of secondary importance, and he would much rather see Friday given up to public business, than see any of the days now devoted to it taken away. Could the House afford to give up one of the best periods for the transaction of public business, when every day the reproach was being brought against them that they could not deal with matters of Imperial concern—matters which, in his opinion, ought not to be devolved upon any other body? Another question which had been raised was that of the right of private-Members with regard to private Bills. He did not think the present proposals interfered in any way with the interests and rights of private Members. The more the proceedings of the House were so regulated as to take away undue licence of debate, the more freedom would be given to private Members to take part in the real business of legislation. The great advantage of the proposed new Rules was they allowed private Members to take an interest in the business of the country, and gave them a greater opportunity of so doing than they at present had in the curtailed time at their disposal. With regard to private Members' Bills, two views had been put forward—one emphasising their importance, and the other feeling that they ought to be got rid of somehow. But, fearing that on Friday evenings they would be more likely to get a Second Reading than under present circumstances, he took a mid course between the two. He did not think the matter depended in the least on the question between Wednesday and Friday. The reason of the failure of private Members to give legislative effect to their Bills was that the temper, tone, 1297 and business of the House had undoubtedly altered with in recent years. There was not now time to carry the Bills. Moreover, there had been a great development of the feeling that if effective legislation—that was, coercive legislation, which interfered in some way with the ordinary liberty of the subject—was to be passed, it should, in the main, be brought forward on the responsibility of a Government, not of any private Member, whether faddist or otherwise. As to the question of Fridays, some Members objected to the change because they believed in the rights of private Members and liked to back up their Bills. But surely such Members could attend on a Friday just as they now attended on a Wednesday? A large number of Members, however, cared very little about private Members' Bills, but those who were complaining about Fridays being given to private Members' Bills ought surely to be the very Members to "make a House," and carry on the discussions which they declared were so desirable on such measures.
§ MR. CRIPPS
said that that, then, was just what was wanted. What was required was a discussion by parties on the two sides who were interested in the subject-matter and cognisant of the facts with which the Bill dealt.
§ MR. GALLOWAY
explained that the hon. and learned Member had misunderstood his interruption. What he meant was that the Gentlemen in favour of the Bill would attend, but the opponents would not.
§ MR. CRIPPS
thought they would get both sides. But the strongest argument in favour of the proposal of the Government was that of the efficiency of the House in the conduct of its public business, which really meant the national and imperial responsibility of Members, and from that point of view he should oppose the Amendment.
§ (6.38.) MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
said that all who had listened to the debate must have been struck by the extraordinary unanimity with which the proposal of the Government had 1298 been condemned. The hon. and learned Member for the Stretford Division entered the House in 1895; if he had entered it fifteen years earlier he would have spoken very differently about private Members' Bills. He himself could remember when a great deal of the most useful legislation carried through the House was done on the initiative of private Members. The discussions on such Bills were useful not only because the opponents and supporters of the Bills were present, but because on such occasions, as a rule, political controversy did not come in, and neither the Government nor the Opposition Whips acted, It was not the presence merely of Members who either strongly supported or strongly opposed a Bill that was required on such occasions: they wanted a good attendance of the House generally. They wanted the moderate and thoughtful men who would listen to and be enlightened by debates on subjects which perhaps they had not previously understood, and who would then give an intelligent vote on the measure under discussion. He had been present at Wednesday sittings when Bills had been so discussed on both sides in relevant and intelligent speeches that the House had been able, at the end of a four or five hours debate, to come to a decision which they could not have come to before hearing the discussion. They were the rare occasions in the House upon which speeches really affected votes. The proposals of the Government were almost certain to lead to a scanty attendance, confined to strong advocates and strong opponents of the measure to be discussed. Members who were not particularly interested would not come, because there was such a thing as temptation, and it was human nature to yield to it. If these debates were to come on on days when Members were exposed to the temptation to go into the country, they knew how many would yield to that temptation, and private Members' Bills would not get the chance they ought to have. Whether a Bill was a good or a bad one, it ought to have a proper House to deal with it. As to the general question, private Members' legislation had experienced two stages. The first was the changes 1299 of 1887, which had made it practically impossible for a private Member to pass a Bill which excited any strong opposition unless he secured the first, second, or third chance in the ballot. The second stage was that now contemplated, by which even the debates on private Members' Bills would lose their value. Latterly, they had, at any rate, afforded an opportunity of bringing forward questions which had not sufficient political momentum behind them to make it worth the while of the Government to take them up, and in that way a good deal of satisfaction was given to the country. Since the right hon. Gentleman ceased to be Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he had not very frequently been present at the debates on private Members' Bills on Wednesday afternoons, and, therefore, he perhaps did not realise how many valuable debates there had been. Under the present proposals the value of those discussions would really be lost. The paucity of the attendance and the farcical character of the whole proceedings would be such that they would excite no interest in the country, and with the loss of the value of private Members' legislation, there would also come a certain diminution in the respect felt for the House as a serious legislative body. When the country perceived that important questions brought forward by private Members were discussed in a very thin House, and that the Government took advantage of that thinness to excuse itself from delivering an opinion on those questions, the respect felt for the House as a legislative body, which already, to judge from the debate, was felt to be impaired, would be still further diminished.
§ (6.44.) COLONEL PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)
said the Amendment which had been brought forward would do much to repair the damage caused by the original proposal. That damage was of two kinds. In the first place, it would probably cause the week to end about 11.30 on Thursday night. Members would catch the night train on Thursday, with the result that Thursday night would be a slack time, and Fridays very slack indeed. The Amendment would 1300 tighten up the whole thing. Members of the House of Commons ought to take a full interest in what went on in the House. There were more important commercial and social measures discussed on Wednesday afternoons than at any other time, and it was the duty of the Government to come down upon such occasions, and state their views on those important measures. If they were bad measures, then the country should be made aware of the danger of them; and if they were good, the Government could support them. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman, even at the eleventh hour, would listen to their remonstrances. He asked the Government to allow them to have Wednesday as it was, and continue the legislative machine up to six o'clock on Friday by making it a Government day. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would make some concession to those hon. Members who felt that a very great injury would be done to the commercial, manufacturing, and social measures brought forward by private Members, and which ought to be fully discussed.
§ *(6.50.) MR. BLAKE
said it was perfectly plain what the result of the Amendment must be. What were the difficulties? The great difficulty put forward necessitating these proposals was want of time to discharge the business incumbent upon the House. That was the excuse put forward for this curtailment of the rights and privileges of the Members of this House. Difficulties in maintaining an effective House on Friday had been hinted at even when devoted to Government business. Those difficulties had, no doubt, been specially felt by this Government, because an enormous and unwieldy majority had its difficulties as well as its advantages. He could understand the Government Whips feeling a difficulty in maintaining an adequate attendance on Fridays for Government business, but did anyone suggest that under those circumstances there was any chance on nine Fridays out of every ten of maintaining a decent House for private Members? Under the present dispensation they knew what had been done on Fridays, 1301 and if there were no other change proposed than the substitution of private for Government business, the result would be most serious. There was, however, another change, which would give four continuous hard-working days before the Friday came. Therefore the difficulty would now be much greater than it was before. What must the right hon. Gentleman's real conviction be of what the House would be on Fridays when that day was set apart for private Members' business only? By the proposal which was now before them, it was practically proposed to remove one day of the week from the effective Parliamentary day, and this change counterbalanced all the advantages of such of the new Rules as could be regarded as being of any advantage at all. It made Friday a dies non. The right hon. Gentleman argued that hon. Members could make their arrangements for Fridays long beforehand, and that the new machinery was to make it easier for hon. Members to know when they should be here. He contended that these new Rules were intended to let hon. Members know how long they could stay away. At a time in their Parliamentary history when they were confessedly overloaded with business in the ordinary period of a session, the Government were deliberately proposing to throw away one Parliamentary day out of the week. It had been said that Wednesday at the present time was wasted, and it would be more convenient to give hon. Members a real holiday by enabling them to take that wasted day on Friday and go away. He could not believe that this Parliament could very long continue in the condition which would render the unofficial Members so helpless in regard to their share in public business. He did not agree with the observations which had been made as to the absolute inefficacy of the efforts of the unofficial Members. The Government constantly objected to take up Bills which did not excite violent opposition. When the Government declined to take charge of such measures, the force and impulse necessary to compel the Government to give facilities for such measures was a force obtainable only by the decision of a great majority in a very large House. At the present time they might bring a House of 1302 400 or 500 together when a measure was really ripe or over-ripe for a decision, but that chance was going to be taken away from them now. That was a practical, effective, and useful result which under the present system a private Member might attain if he was fortunate in the ballot and used his choice of a measure wisely and well, but if by this proposed change they deprived the private Member of the opportunity of obtaining a full House, they deprived him of this chance altogether. The Government were really depriving unofficial Members of the last and only chance they had of promoting effective legislation by this change. What they really wanted was more effective Parliamentary time, and to deliberately throw away one day out of the week was a course which would not raise the credit, because it was sure to diminish the efficiency of the proceedings in this House.
§ (7.0.) MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford)
said that when they discussed this question previously, the Leader of the House distinctly divided the subject into two matters. On the question of the short sitting on Friday, he was as-adamant, but certainly his words did not lead them to imagine that so far as the allocation of business was concerned his mind was in any way so definitely made up. He would, therefore, ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether he could not still retain the opinion on the second matter which he held at that particular time. By introducing private Members' business at the middle of the week, some relief was given from the Government business, which was conducted at full pressure during the two preceding days. He did not agree with his hon. friend that private Members' business should only be discussed by those who had formed an opinion beforehand—those who were very favourable to the Bill, or those who were extremely adverse. He thought it was better that they should have the independent opinion of the House, which under this new Rule would be sadly taken away. There was another alteration in the Standing Orders which also rather confirmed the light treatment 1303 of private Members' Bilk They were asked to lay down definitely and for ever that only two sittings were ever to be given to the further stages of private Members' Bills after the Second Reading. The attitude taken up by Members regarding these Bills would be that they could only pass the Second Beading, that the discussion would be small and academic. He hoped if unofficial Members assumed that attitude, it would not be taken by the members of the Government. They would expect the Government as a whole, and not a few individuals, to come and make a House on Friday under the new circumstances. At all events, it would be the duty of the Government to give this change a fair chance. He hoped the Government would leave the House free to decide on which day private Members' business should be taken. He should have thought that an earlier day than Thursday would be better. He would feel bound to support the Amendment.
§ (7.5.) MR. WALLACE (Perth)
said that of all the speakers on both sides who had taken part in the debate, his hon. and learned friend was the only private Member who had spoken in opposition to the Amendment. He ventured to ask what would be the fate of the Amendment if the door were locked at this moment and only those permitted to take part in the division who had heard the debate. He was sure the Amendment of his hon. friend the Member for Manchester, would be carried by a large majority. The Leader of the House stated that he objected to any break in the continuity of public business. It was because the Amendment would give such a break that he cordially supported it. He agreed with the hon. Member opposite who said that the strain of four nights discussion of public business was too much to expect in this House.
§ MR. ELLIOT (Durham)
said he voted against the Government when the question of Friday or Wednesday for the short sitting was discussed. The question now was different. It was the question
§ of what was the proper arrangement of the business of the House. Although he was formerly against the Government, he was entirely in their favour on the question now before the House. He had no sympathy with those Members who spoke as if private Members' business was the most important business of the House. The most important business private Members had to perform in the House was to look after the business which the Government brought before the House. He thought as they had made the change from Wednesday to Friday it was infinitely more for the convenience of Members on both sides of the House that private Members' Bills and not Government measures should be taken on Friday afternoon.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
said that what was now proposed would have a far-reaching effect. The new Rules largely invaded the rights of private Members. The First Lord of the Treasury, in introducing the Rules, endeavoured to induce the House to believe that he introduced them in the interest of private Members. What would be the result of not acceding to the proposition of the hon. Member for Manchester? The hon. Member for North Islington had called attention to what occurred last Wednesday week. What occurred then would occur continually if the Amendment was not adopted. Last Wednesday week a Bill, bristling with contention and affecting a large number of friendly societies, was read a second time after a debate which lasted an hour and a quarter. The result was that the discussion of the measure was scamped. The House should bear in mind that under the altered Rules there would be four long working days, and that the strain would be such that Members would be more anxious to get away for the week-end than they had been hitherto.
§ Question put.
§ (7.15.) The House divided:—Ayes, 145; Noes, 174. (Division List No. 89.)
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hammond, John||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Harwood, George||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Brigg, John||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hayden, John Patrick||Price, Robert John|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Priestley, Arthur|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Rea, Russell|
|Caine, William Sproston||Helme, Norval Watson||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Caldwell, James||Holland, William Henry||Reddy, M.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Jacoby, James Alfred||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)|
|Channing, Francis Allsten||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Joicey, Sir James||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jordan, Jeremiah||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Joyce, Michael||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Kearley, Hudson, E.||Runciman, Walter|
|Crean, Eugene||Lambert, George||Russell, T. W.|
|Cremer, William Randal||Levy, Maurice||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Delany, William||Lough, Thomas||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lundon, W.||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Kean, John||Tennant, Harold John|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart||M'Kenna, Reginald||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Edwards, Frank||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Thomas, J. A (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Elibank, Master of||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tomkinson, James|
|Ellis, John Edward||Mooney, John J.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Emmott, Alfred||Moulton, John Fletcher||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Murphy, John||Wallace, Robert|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nolan, Joseph Louth, South)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Field, William||Nussey, Thomas Willans||White, Luke (York, E. R,)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary. N.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, Fred W. (Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||O'Dowd, John||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O' Kelly, James (Roscommon. N.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Malley, William|
|Grant, Corrie||O'Mara, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Galloway and Mr. Banbury|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bousfield, William Robert||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Aird, Sir John||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Brotherton, Edward Allen||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brymer, William Ernest||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bull, William James||Dickinson, Robert Edmond|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bullard, Sir Harry||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Butcher, John George||Doughty, George|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Elliott, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G'rald W (Leeds||Chapman, Edward||Finch, George H.|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.)||Charrington, Spencer||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Clare, Octavius Leigh||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-|
|Bignold, Arthur||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon|
|Bigwood, James||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Garfit, William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Bond, Edward||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc)||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W.||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Majendie, James A. H.||Shaw-Stewart. M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Green, Walford D. (Wednesbnry||Milvain, Thomas||Smith, H C (North'mb, Tyneside|
|Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morgan, David J. (Walthamstow||Spear, John Ward|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Morton, Arthtur H. A. (Deptford)||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Muntz, Philip A.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Murray, Rt Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M 'Taggart|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Heaton, John Henniker||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Helder, Augustus||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Henderson, Alexander||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Parkes, Ebenezer||Valentia, Viscount|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Pease, Herbt. Pike (Darlington)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.)||Pemberton, John S. G||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Percy, Earl||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Pierpoint, Robert||Whiteley, H. Ashton-und.-Lyne|
|Hoult, Joseph||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Purvis, Robert||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Randles, John S.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Knowles, Lees||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Lawson, John Grant||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Younger, William|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristols.||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Lowe, Francis William||Round, James|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Rutherford, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Aunstrther.|
|Lucas, Reginald, (Portsmouth)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
§ (7.25.) MR. CHANNING
said he did not intend to argue the question raised by his Amendment at length, because it would raise a discussion of a somewhat similar nature to that in which the House had just taken part. His Amendment would involve taking the whole of the Tuesday sitting for private Members' business, and would necessarily compel the Government to take Government business on Friday. He begged to move.
In line 3 to leave out the words 'evening sittings,' and insert the word 'sitting.' "—(Mr. Channing.)
§ Question proposed "That the words 'evening sittings' stand part of the Question."
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said he would like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House would not accept this Amendment.
§ MR. NUSSEY (Pontefract)
asked why the First Lord should not accept this Amendment. Surely the Government 1308 should be quite honest in their dealings with private Members; or did they want to insist that private Members had no rights at all? They must know that it would be utterly impossible to have any private Member's Bill discussed properly on a Friday afternoon. When a Government with a small majority was asked to give extra facilities for the discussion of a particular subject, such as the eight hours day, they were granted; but were it not for the large attendance on Wednesday afternoons, he was quite sure that no Government would have yielded in such cases. It was a great pity that the Government would not accept the Amendment. It would be a great advantage not only to the Government themselves, but also to the officials and servants of the House, not to have four days running at full pressure, and he would therefore support the Amendment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It is quite clear that this Amendment only differs from the last Amendment to the extent of giving to private Members, in addition to the afternoon sitting, the evening sitting as well. All the arguments which have been used, as I thought conclusively, 1309 against the last Amendment apply equally to this Amendment. I think we have discussed this question sufficiently, and that we ought not to be asked to re-open it.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
said the Amendment as it stood was perhaps more than private Members might be justified in asking for, but it pointed to the fact that the little bits of evenings which it was proposed to give for the discussion of Resolutions would be altogether unsatisfactory. That was found to be the case under the Rules as they stood at present, and the additional point alluded to was one which would make things worse.
§ MR. LAMBERT
said that the one argument which the right hon. Gentleman should take into consideration was that hon. Members might be debarred from bringing forward a Resolution at all by a Motion for the adjournment. The right hon. Gentleman said that he had used conclusive arguments against the Amendment; but considering that the Government majority fell to twenty-nine, he thought it conclusive that if the Government had only a reasonable majority the right hon. Gentleman would not have been able to carry his proposal. He would support his hon. friend's Amendment, because it seemed to him to be a proposal which would give private Members something.
§ (7.35.) MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
said he agreed with the Leader of the House that there was no use in discussing the Amendment at any great length, but at the same time they ought to know exactly where they were. As he understood the Amendment, it proposed that a whole day should be devoted to private Members' discussions, but he desired to point out that the Government would have no scruple whatever in appropriating a private Members' day, even if the Amendment were carried. There was no security whatever that an unofficial Member would obtain a whole day for a discussion in which he was interested. He felt very strongly on that, because there were a number of hon. Members in the House for the purpose of championing certain measures, and who were recognised as 1310 the mouthpieces of certain grievances. They were arriving at a state of things under which the private Member was becoming a nonentity. He would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, especially as many of his own supporters had expressed similar opinions, to have regard for the rights of unofficial Members. If the Government were to be the only legislators in the British House of Commons, it would mean that all reform would be stopped, and that all questions which the Government did not take up would be absolutely silenced, as there would be no opportunity whatever of ventilating them in the House of Commons. The result would be that if a Government with cast-iron notions—and there were such Governments—came in, no one would have a chance, except Ministers, of bringing in any measure, however much the community might be interested in it. He thought that the House was arriving at a very dangerous state of things, and that hon. Members did not quite realise their position. Parliamentary legislation was on its trial, and unless economic and commercial problems, which were considered by other countries, but which were never touched upon by the Government, and which under the Rule before the House would be absolutely shut out, were given consideration, the result would be that the House of Commons would be turned into a mere machine for voting money to carry on the Government. What was called the public mind would be absolutely silenced under the new Rules. As a Member of the House who had endeavoured to fulfil his duty to the best of his ability, he considered the Rule before the House one of the most dangerous that could be introduced. It would stop progress, hinder development, silence the unofficial Member, and put on the Government, the burden of all legislation. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider the many weighty reasons against this proposal. He quite agreed that it was a non-political matter. It affected hon. Members opposite just as much as his hon. friends. The pendulum of politics would swing from one side to the other, and Tories or Liberals might be in office, but the vast majority of the people outside ought to be protected by the voice of the 1311 unofficial Member. He would seriously ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider the position in which the House would be placed if unofficial Members were to be altogether silenced. The result would be that many hon. Members would remain away, as they would not have the smallest opportunity of voicing the opinions of their constituents, although their constituents might think that was due to neglect on their part. He could not give a silent vote in favour of the Amendment, because he had pledged himself to certain measures which he had promised, not only his constituents, but a large number of voters generally, to bring before the House; but he had had no opportunity whatever of doing so. Indeed, private Members might as well be in Timbuctoo for all the chance they had. They were sent to the House with certain missions, which they were unable to fulfil by reason of the peculiar Rules by which they were governed. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider the reasons which he, as a practical man, put before him; and that private Members would be given an opportunity of expressing the opinions which they had pledged their constituents to bring forward.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said as far as he was able to understand, the position at which they had arrived, although it was, rather difficult, was that all that had been decided up to the present was, that unless the House otherwise ordered, it was to meet every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at two o'clock in the afternoon. The Amendment, as he understood it, would, if carried, alter the Rule to read that, unless the House otherwise ordered, Government business should have precedence at every sitting except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
§ MR. CHANNING
said that, with consequential Amendments, his Amendment would give all Tuesday to private Members, leaving Wednesday to the Government, and in that way there would be a continuous sitting for one purpose.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said he assumed that if the Amendment were carried, the 1312 Rule would read that Government business should have precedence at every sitting except the sittings on. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. The effect of the Amendment would be to restore to private Members the precise-position they now occupied under which Tuesday was for private Members Motions, and Wednesday for private Members' Bills.
§ (7.45.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said the proposal of the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment simply came to this, that instead of two evening sittings given for private business, there should be one whole sitting, and the point the House had to decide was whether it was in the interest of public business that private business should occupy one whole sitting, instead of two evening sittings. So far as the Government were concerned, if this Amendment was carried, their position would be very much the same as if it were rejected. The Amendment was in entire accord with the inner and secret meaning of the new Rules. The First Lord of the Treasury had been living in a political lotus land, and his great desire in proposing these Rules was to have as little business done as possible, and have as much leisure as possible. Having been in the penal servitude of this House for twenty years, the old Adam in him rose and cried out to him to support the right hon. Gentleman in these proposals, but he would not listen to that cry. He was violently and ferociously opposed to-these proposed Rules, and he would support the Amendment of his hon. friend. What would happen under the Rules? At nine o'clock on Tuesday and Wednesday the House was called upon to discuss private business; no count out could be moved until ten o'clock, but in a large number of cases, at one-minute past ten on those days, a count would be moved by some Member on the pounce, and the sitting would be gone. If the object of the right hon. Gentleman was to reduce private business in the House to a nullity and an absurdity, he could not have done worse. Every hon. Member had some experience of evening sittings, as they took place at certain times of the year, 1313 and he asked whether, in the experience of the House, they were ever effective. By the Amendment the Government lost nothing; they lost a morning sitting on Tuesday, and got an evening sitting for it on Wednesday. But the right hon. Gentleman did not think the evening sitting on Wednesday was sufficient compensation for a morning sitting on Tuesday, because he thought the evening sitting was too small a thing to be taken in exchange. Either the evening sitting was no good at all, or it was an effective sitting; if it was no good, it was of no use to private Members; if it was an effective sitting, then the exchange offered was a fair one. No greater heresy was ever preached than that this House was merely for the purpose of discussing the proposals of legislation by the Government. During the last two years, by excluding private initiative in the House, it had been impossible to discuss across the floor of the House the policy with regard to the subject that was nearest the heart of the nation. In the face of such a state of things as that, the right hon. Gentleman came to the House with a suggestion which reduced private initiative to a mockery and a delusion. This assembly exercised a far more important function as the grand inquest of the nation than as a legislative machine. What chance would there be for a private Member to raise a question in which he was interested under the new Rules? He would, no doubt, get other Members also interested to support him, and then, at eleven o'clock, other Members would turn up, not having heard a word of the arguments, for the express purpose of voting against him. Under such a Rule as the right hon. Gentleman proposed, the House would discuss questions on which the mind of the country was fixed under conditions which reduced the debate to a nullity and absurdity. He seriously believed that if the House ceased to be the faithful and ever-ready echo of the grievances, wrongs, needs, and even the passions of the country, it would cease to fulfil one of its greatest and most important functions. It was because he believed the Rules, without such changes as that proposed, would 1314 derogate from that great function of the House, that he should support his hon. friend.
§ *(8.2.) MR. DISRAELI
said that if the Amendment were carried it would take the House back to exactly the same position as they were in a few years ago; it would give Members the whole of Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. ["No ".] He did not say that that was wrong, but merely that after weeks of discussion, by a turn of the wrist they were brought back to that position. The longer these resolutions were discussed, the more it appeared that the House was to be brought down to a very dull level and a most dreary routine. One of the principal charms of the House of Commons had been its variegated atmosphere, but now they were to have four days on end of dull routine work, and he greatly regretted that such a change should be made.
§ MR. BROADHURST
said that many Members on that side of the House had been supporting the Government in regard to some of their proposals, and in return they were entitled to receive some consideration. He had supported the Government in the last division in the fond and delusive hope that Fridays might be taken for Supply and one day in the week given to private Members. The only time left under the new Rule for the discussion of Motions would be at a late hour, when very few Members were present and all effective debate was really out of the question. It would be almost impossible for a private Member to keep a House after ten o'clock. Reference had been made as to the necessity of there being opportunities for the discussion of social questions. The Motion on the Paper, in the name of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, was of first-class importance. For a Motion of equal importance, affecting the Army or the Navy, a day would be immediately granted. The question affected the life savings of nearly a million people, and although those savings, involving the future welfare of the people and their provision for old age 1315 and so on, were in danger of destruction, the Government would not accord an opportunity for the discussion of the matter, and if this Rule was passed there never would be an opportunity. The First Lord ought really to make some concession to the necessities of the people, either by accepting the Amendment or by reversing the decision just arrived at, and giving private Members one day in the week in exchange for Friday.
§ *(8.9.) MR. BLAKE
pointed out that the House had already decided to give private Members the fag-end of the week for their Bills, and the present proposal was to give them the fag-ends of two intermediate days for the discussion of their notices of Motion and Resolutions. In addition to the disadvantage to private Members, there was a Parliamentary disadvantage, of a very serious character, involved. This parcelling out of days into two sittings was not conducive to the efficient conduct of public business. The opportunity of taking more than one of the two daily sittings for continuous debate was of great importance. If the time was not wanted, it need not be used—the closure would end the debate; but the opportunity ought certainly to subsist in the interests of the efficient working of the House.
§ MR. O'MARA (Kilkenny, S.)
said the time given to private Members was not really so great as appeared at first sight. At the two evening sittings it was possible there might be two Motions for adjournment. If, however, the present Amendment were accepted, so
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bignold, Arthur||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor).|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bigwood, James||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bond, Edward||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Boulnois, Edmund||Chapman, Edward|
|Austin, Sir John||Bousfield, William Robert||Charrington, Spencer|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Balcarres, Lord||Brotherton, Edward Allen||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Bull, William James||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. T. (Manch'r||Bullard, Sir Harry||Corbett, A. Cameron, Glasgow)|
|Balfour Rt Hon Gerald W (Leeds||Butcher, John George||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Balfour, Kenneth R (Christch||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
§ that private Members had one whole day, private bills would, at any rate, have an opportunity of being adequately discussed after one Motion for adjournment had been moved. He regretted the mover of the Amendment had not explained its meaning more clearly, so as to have prevented certain misconceptions on the other side of the House. There was no wish to secure more than the whole of Tuesday for private Members, as a consequential Amendment would be moved to leave out Wednesday. Certainly one whole day would be of much more use to private Members than two evening sittings. After sittings of five and a half hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Members would approach the consideration of private Members' Bills tired and fagged out; many Members would not come down at all, the opportunities for busy-bodies to move "counts" would be largely increased, and Bills which did not excite great general interest would be deprived of all chance of discussion by the House being counted out. If the Rule were passed, not more than three hours at most could be devoted to a private Member's Bill; consequently, such measures as the Eight Hours Bill, the Pure Beer Bill, and the Marriage with a Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, would never be able to receive that discussion which some Members considered adequate. He should certainly support the Amendment.
§ (8.16.) Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 149; Noes, 97. (Division List No. 90.) (8.30.)
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Houston, Robert Paterson||Randles, John S.|
|Doughty, George||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Knowles, Lees||Ritchie, Rt Hon Chas. Thomson|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lawson, John Grant||Round, James|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rutherford, John|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Lowe, Francis William||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Finch, George H.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Smith, H. C (North'mb, Tyneside|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Macdona, John Cumming||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Spear, John Ward|
|Galloway, William Johnstone||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Garfit, William||M'Calmont, Col. HLB (Cambs.||Stewart Sir Mark J. M 'Taggart|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||Majendie, James A. H.||Tritton, Charles Ernest.|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Tuke, Sir John Batty.|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc)||Milvain, Thomas||Valentia, Viscount|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Moore, William (Antrim, N).||Walker, Col William Hall|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morgan, David J. (Walthamst'w||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morton, Arthur H A (Deptford)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Muntz, Philip A.||Whiteley, H. (Aston und. Lyne|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Midd.||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Williams, Rt Hn J. Powell-(Birm|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashfo'd||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Wortley, Rt Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Orr-Ewing. Charles Lindsay||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Helder, Augustus||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Henderson, Alexander||Parkes, Ebenezer||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n|
|Hobhouse, Henry, (Somerset, E.||Percy, Earl||TELLERS FOR THE AYES, Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Hope, J. F (Sheffield, Brightside||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Hoult, Joseph||Purvis, Robert|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Hammond, John||O'Malley, William|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Mara, James|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Helme, Norval Watson||Pickard, Benjamin|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Holland, William Henry||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bell, Richard||Hope, John Deans (File, West)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Black, Alexander William||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Reddy, M.|
|Blake, Edward||Jordan, Jeremiah||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Brigg, John||Joyce, Michael||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Kearley, Hudson, E.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Levy, Maurice||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Caldwell, James||Lundon, W.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Campbell-Bannermann, Sir H.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Cogan, Denis J.||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, Donal|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Kean, John||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Thomas, JA (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tomkinson, James|
|Delany, William||Mooney, John J.||Wallace, Robert|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Moulton, John Fletcher||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Murphy, John||Weir, James Galloway|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Nolan, Joseph (Louth South).||White, Patrick (Meath, North|
|Fenwick, Charles||Norman, Henry||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nussy, Thomas Willans||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Field, William||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Grant, Coorie||O'Dowd, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES, Mr. Channing and Mr. Lough.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
§ (9.0.) MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid) moved after the word "morning," in line 6, to insert the words "Government Bills." He said that, as matters stood, Tuesday was the property of the private Members, though the Government had the right to put down Government Bills, in advance, in competition with private Members. Under the new Rules it was proposed to give two evenings to private Members in place of Tuesday, but upon looking into the Rules it was found that notices of Motions were, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, to have precedence of Orders of the day, after which Government Bills would have precedence; so that if the Government wished to cut out a private Member's Bill they had only to put down a Government Bill in advance, which would take precedence after the notices of Motion. If the private Members were going to give up the whole of Tuesday for two evenings, those two evenings should be allotted entirely to private Members, and there should be no risk of the Government taking precedence. All his Amendment suggested was that notices of Motions and public Bills other than Government measures should have precedence of the Orders of the day. He thought the Amendment must commend itself to the House, and he could see no reason why so reasonable an Amendment could be refused, although no doubt the right hon. Gentleman would come into the House later, and, without having considered the matter at all, would reject it and put the Government tellers on for the division, in which he would vote against it.
In line 6, after the word 'Motion,' to insert the words 'and public Bills other than Government Bills.'"—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. GRANT LAWSON,) Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk
said the hon. Member opposite appeared very suspicious of Governments generally, and his Amendment was based on the idea that the present Government desired to act in a malevolent way towards all private Members. He thought his right hon. 1320 friend would be quite prepared to accept the Amendment, and in his absence he should raise no objection to it. He therefore accepted this and the next Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Amendment made, in line 6, by leaving out the words "Orders of the Day," and inserting the words "Government Business."—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)
said that many of these Rules and Orders which were required by certain statutes to be laid on the Table of the House were in substance legislative proposals, and affected private rights, but at present they could only be discussed after twelve o'clock on a Motion for an Address to the Crown, which was a very inconvenient practice. He did not say that the method he proposed was the very best for dealing with questions of that kind, but he did say that in some form or other they ought to give a little more attention to such important matters. Private Members' evenings were already liable to be broken in upon by matters of great importance on Motions for the adjournment of the House, and it was only fair that those who desired to call attention to grievances from which they might suffer, by reason of the Rules and Orders, should have a better opportunity than they now had of bringing them to the attention of the House.
In line 6, at the end, to insert the words, 'But when a Member has given notice to move an Address to the Crown that a statute, scheme, Rule, or Order which by law is required to be laid upon the Table of the House may be rescinded, varied, or otherwise dealt with, and has set the same down for an evening sitting on which notices of Motions have precedence of Orders of the day, he shall be entitled to precedence over other notices of Motions.' "—(Mr. Tomlinson.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *(9.20.) SIR CHARLES DILKE
thought that the reasons given by the hon. Gentleman for the acceptance of the Amendment were almost conclusive arguments for its rejection. The further cut into private Members' time would be 1321 another step towards the destruction of the remnant of time which they got, and he protested against further opportunities being given to rob private Members of their time.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
considered the matter one of great importance, having regard to the manner in which the time of private Members would be limited, and he opposed the Amendment. He also expressed the hope that some representative of the Government would give expression to the views the Government had upon the question.
§ * SIR FRANCIS POWELL (Wigan)
said that some of them had rather painful recollections of proceedings which had taken place after midnight when discussions had arisen respecting Orders in Council. He thought that was the weakest point in our whole present procedure, and that the manner in which those discussions had been conducted had not contributed either to the strength or the credit of the House. If the Amendment were adopted, it would alleviate the mischief and give them an opportunity of thorough discussion. It must be borne in mind that the number of proposals of that character had increased, especially in relation to secondary education, affecting not only the schools but also the universities. There was at this moment a most important change being made in Cambridge relating to the emoluments of the head of one of the chief colleges. That was a change of an important character, which certainly ought to be open to discussion by the House if any Member thought it worth his while to introduce such a subject to their notice. He therefore thought the proposal of his hon. friend an eminently wise and sound one, and that it would tend to improve the procedure of the House and to remove what he believed to be a great mischief.
§ MR. O'MARA
said he trusted the Government would not accept the Amendment, and also that they would express their views of the situation. At present there was quite enough opportunity for discussing these questions after twelve o'clock, and if this Amendment were passed, it would only mean that it would be used for the purposes of obstructing private Bills. He had known 1322 such a thing to happen before, when an inoffensive private Bill was only passed after much discussion, not because anybody objected to the Bill, but because they had great objections to the one that followed it. Members of the House were not above using their powers of obstruction in this way, and he strongly objected to giving them this further opportunity for obstructing private Bills.
§ (9.30.) MR. GRANT LAWSON
said it appeared to him that this was very much a matter upon which private Members should at any rate express their views. It was merely a question of what they would do with the time on private Members' evenings. If they preferred to discuss academic Motions, which very often led to no result, instead of discussing Addresses to the Crown, it was for Members to say. He did not think it was a matter on which the Government should take a strong line either for or against. As had been pointed out, if the Amendment were adopted it would be open to the opponents of a Motion to move an Address to the Crown on some of the numerous Papers lying on the Table. That would be an encroachment on the time the Government were anxious to give to private Members, and therefore they could not accept the Amendment.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said that so far as the Amendment took away from the time allotted to private Members, it ought certainly to be opposed. But there were other evening sittings than those allotted to private Members. In this particular case, the notices of Motions would really be Government business, having reference to Government action, and there ought to be a reasonable time for their discussion between the hours of nine and twelve o'clock. The evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday, however, must be kept for private Members, and if these Motions were to be discussed, let it be on either Monday or Thursday. He therefore proposed to move an Amendment giving effect to that suggestion.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
said that that would not be in order, as under paragraph (a) of the Standing Order, Government business was to have precedence on Mondays and Thursdays.
§ MR. CALDWELL
asked whether it would not be possible to move his Amendment as a kind of proviso, seeing that these Addresses to the Crown were really Government business.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
pointed out that paragraph (b) proceeded to lay down how the evenings which had been excepted from Government business were to be dealt with, so that the only evenings before the House were those of Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
§ (9.35.) MR. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)
hoped the Government would accept the Amendment. They seemed very ready to accept Amendments from the other side of the House, but when their warmest supporters pressed upon them the importance of accepting an Amendment of this kind, they raised objections to so doing. His hon. friend had had some experience, as a Charity Commissioner, of endeavouring to force through schemes of which, in his heart, he did not approve, and he knew the difficulties with which private Members were faced in keeping a sufficient number of Members in the House after twelve o'clock to defeat the schemes of his Radical colleagues. On one occasion in the Parliament of 1895 the Government Whips actually endeavoured to empty the House at twelve o'clock in order to prevent the bringing forward of a scandalous scheme with regard to a Welsh charity, in connection with which the Charity Commissioners experienced an overwhelming defeat, which he believed his hon. friend did not altogether regret. He could not understand why the Government refused to accept this Amendment. The hon. Member for Preston was not one who would in any way abuse the forms of the House for the purposes of obstruction; he had never known him either to propose or to oppose a Motion except on the highest grounds of public policy. The Government ought really to consider their most loyal and constant supporters, and not turn their backs on this Amendment, seeing they had just accepted one from the hon. Member for Lanarkshire. It was said that it would interfere with the opportunities of private Members to discuss academic Resolutions. He ventured to think that very little would 1324 be lost to the nation by the abolition of the majority of the discussions which took place on Tuesday evenings; the only object they served was to satisfy the local newspaper and the particular Member and his supporters. The House ought to assert its rights against the shuffling through of objectionable forms of legislation in the guise of schemes which had to lie on the Table for forty days. They were merely the attempts of Government officials—who were generally the enemies of all progress—to do by schemes what they could not do by legislation. He was astonished that the leaders of the Unionist party, who had some experience of the opposition they had to meet with from the-permanent officials when they came into' office, should deprive Members of the opportunity of criticising and upsetting such schemes. It would be a confession of weakness on the part of the Government to abandon them entirely to the mercies of the permanent staff, by giving them no opportunity except after midnight of discussing these matters. He appealed to the Government to remember that there was such a thing as the loyalty of their supporters, which might be strained beyond endurance.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he had listened to the diatribe of his hon. friend with profound astonishment. He had never heard it put forward before as a principle of Parliamentary discussion that when an Amendment was accepted from one side they ought to accept one from the other. They must consider Amendments on their merits, irrespective of the quarter from which they came. For the hon. and learned Member to say that if they objected to this Amendment it was because they desired to be trampled on by the permanent officials, was really to make statements bordering on the grotesque. The immemorial rule of Parliament had been for these discussions to come on at the end of business. He did not think that was very convenient; he, admitted they all had to sacrifice some of their well-earned rest to discuss these schemes after twelve o'clock, but that was not the point. The point was whether they should so alter the Rules of the House that, for the first time, the privileges of private Members should be eaten into for the purpose of discussing 1325 these schemes. It was desirable as far as possible to preserve the two evenings under the Rule for private Members. The Government bad been abused for diminishing the rights of private Members, and it was undoubtedly the case that the paper rights of private Members were largely intrenched upon by the new rules, but the consideration the Government gave for that was that they hoped the two nights would not be disturbed by Government interference. The Government would not come down in future, as they had constantly been obliged to do in the past, and say they required the whole of the time for Government business. They desired as far as possible to give private Members the full security of the proposed alterations. He did not say the security was complete, nor could it be. But to allow a new invasion of the kind suggested was surely to trench upon the ancient privileges of unofficial Members to a degree which the House could hardly be asked to tolerate. The abstract subjects put down for discussion upon those occasions often led to very little result. Perhaps they were rather empty and sometimes mischievous. He should be sorry to see any greater limitation put upon those privileges than the new Rules imposed. He admitted that the Rules were a great interference with the nominal privileges of unofficial Members, but he maintained that their real privileges would be greatly extended. In the interests of the House generally, the Amendment, although there might be much to be said for it, ought on the whole to be rejected.
*(9.47.) MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said that the First Lord of the Treasury had thrown over his colleague the Under Secretary of the Local Government Board, who had absolutely blest this Amendment. The criticism made by the Under Secretary of the Local Government Board was that after all this was a matter to be settled between private Members themselves, and he said that the Government desired to know their opinions. He left the impression upon the House that if private Members were in favour of this Amendment the Government would have no opposition to offer. Now, the First Lord of the Treasury had raised a very serious objection to this Amendment, 1326 and he claimed that it was unnecessary, because his proposal only interfered with the paper rights of private Members and not with their real rights. The First Lord of the Treasury by these Rules made certain of the time for Government business at the beginning of the day, but left no certainty to private Members for their time, and in this respect he was like the bedfellow who complained that the other fellow took his share of the bed out of the middle and left him to take his share out of the two sides. As a private Member, he supported the Amendment, because it would really give' effect to what always was the intention of Parliament, that when a scheme was ordered to lie on the Table for forty days there should be some reasonable opportunity to challenge it. These schemes, referring to matters which could not wait, had a natural right to precedence over ordinary notices of Motion. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that questions of this sort could only be raised after twelve o'clock. If this Amendment were accepted, it would give hon. Members facilities for challenging questions of this kind, and if the right hon. Gentleman really wanted to know the opinion of private Members he ventured to say that this was a very reasonable proposal to give him that opportunity. He was aware that this course might take some time out of the discussion upon some other Motions, but he thought these matters ought to have-precedence. He felt a certain amount of diffidence in discussing this Amendment, because when they came back to the discussion of the sittings of the House they might find themselves hampered by what they had done. After the reception this Amendment had met with from the right hon. Gentleman's colleague on the Front Bench, he was very much surprised at the handling which he had just given to it. His belief was that no private Member would complain of Motions like those to which he referred having precedence over other Motions. He felt very strongly that those matters which were pressing, and which could not be postponed, were entitled to precedence.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITELEY
hoped the House would support the First Lord of 1327 the Treasury and reject this Amendment. One hon. Member opposite had accused the Government of "squashing" private Members, and he had described the process. If this Amendment were carried, it would not only "squash" the private Member, but it would pulverise him as well. Two short periods at the end of the sittings on Tuesday and Wednesday certainly could not be described as affording full facilities for the many matters which
|Bowles, T. Gibson,(Kings Lynn)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Levy, Maurice||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid)||Mr. Tomlinson and Mr. H. C. Richards.|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Abraham, William (Cork. N. E||Channing, Francis Allston||Furness, Sir Christopher|
|Abraham William (Rhondda)||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Garfit, William|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Chapman, Edward||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Charrington, Spencer||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Ambrose, Robert||Clancy, John Joseph||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cogan, Denis J.||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby (Salop|
|Arrol, Sir William||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Austin, Sir John||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitzroy||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Grant, Corrie|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Craig, Robert Hunter||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cranborne, Viscount||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Crean, Eugene||Gunter, Sir Robert|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Cremer, William Randall||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton||Guthrie, Walter Murray|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch||Crossley, Sir Savile||Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G.'(Mid'x|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hammond, John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Delany, William||Hardy, Laurence (Kent Ashford|
|Bell, Richard||Dickson, Charles Scott||Haslott, Sir James Horner|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Bignold, Arthur||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.|
|Bigwood, James||Donelan, Captain A.||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley|
|Black, Alexander William||Doogan, P. C.||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Blake, Edward||Doughty, George||Helder, Augustus|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Bond, Edward||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Henderson, Alexander|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Duke, Henry Edward||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Duncan, J. Hastings||Higgingbottom, S. W.|
|Brigg, John||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.|
|Brodrick Rt. Hon. St. John||Elliott, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Holland, William Henry|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Emmott, Alfred||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside|
|Brotberton, Edward Allen||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hoult, Joseph|
|Bull, William James||Fenwick, Charles||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Billiard, Sir Harry||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Ffrench, Peter||Jameson, Major J. Eustace|
|Burns, John||Field, William||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Butcher, John George||Finch, George H.||Joyce, Michael|
|Caldwell, James||Finch, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Knowles, Lees|
|Campbell, John (Armagh S.||Fisher, William Hayes||Lambert, George|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Lawson, John Grant|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Cavendish V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Flower, Ernest||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Fuller, J. M. F.||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.|
§ private Members desired to bring before the House. He entirely differed from what had been said by the hon. Member for Finsbury, for he thought even those academic discussions instituted by private Members were of great interest to the country generally.
§ (9.58.) Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 7; Noes, 265; (Division List No. 91.)
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Spear, John Ward|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)||O'Dowd, John||Spencer, Rt Hn C. R (Northants|
|Lough, Thomas||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon N.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Lowe, Francis William||O'Malley, William||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||O'Mara, James||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Lundon, W.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Sullivan, Donal|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Tennant, Harold John|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Parkes, Ebenezer||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Partington, Oswald||Thomas, J. A (Glamorgan, Gower|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n||Tomkinson, James|
|M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|M'Crae, George||Pemberton, John S. G.||Valentia, Viscount|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|M'Kean, John||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wallace, Robert|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Purvis, Robert||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Randles, John S.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Reckitt, Harold James||White, Luke (York. E. R.)|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Reddy, M.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Milvain, Thomas||Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Reid, James (Greenock.)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-und Lyne|
|Mooney, John J.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Whitaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Williams, Rt Hn J. Powell-) Birm|
|Morgan, David J. (W'lthamstow||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Wilson, Jonh (Durham, Mid)|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Robinson, Brooke||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Muntz, Philip A.||Round, James||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.|
|Murphy, John||Russell, T. W.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Rutherford, John||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Schwann, Charles E.||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South).||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Norman, Henry||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Younger, William|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny.)||Smith, H. C (North'mb, Tyn'side||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks)|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
§ *(10.10.) MR. DISRAELI moved as an Amendment the omission of Sub-section C, which gave Government business precedence after Easter at the evening sittings on Tuesday. Of the proposals which had been brought before the House in regard to the Rules, this was the one which after all affected more fully than any of the others the procedure in relation to the time of private Members. The proposal was that after Easter the time of the House should fall automatically into the hands of the Government without their asking the House in the ancient and constitutional way for the time, and getting it in the usual manner by a majority. A Motion for this purpose had always been the vehicle by which the Government had been enabled to state their plans and answer the questions of Members before the time was given up to them. It was proposals such as these that made them feel the Leader of the House was treating the House with callous indifference, which 1330 made other hon. Members on that side of the House than himself feel with the greatest bitterness about these Rules. This Rule ought not to be passed; the House ought to keep its control upon the Ministry. One after the other these Rules tended to the exaltation of the Executive at the expense of the Members of the House. The Rule now proposed placed the Executive in the position of being able to take the whole time of the House without offering any reasons for doing so. He ventured to think that that was a most unconstitutional position for any Government to take or for the House to allow itself to be placed in.
To leave out lines 7 and 8."—(Mr. Disraeli.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'After' stand part of the Question."
§ (10.15.) THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. AKERS DOUGLAS,) Kent,
1331 St. Augustine's
said he did not think his hon. friend had made out any case for the omission of this sub-section. It was not a new proposal, because it had been the practice of the Government for many years past to take the greater portion of the time for Government business at a late period of the session. He did not think that on that balance private Members had anything to complain of. Under the Rules which the Government were now proposing private Members would have greater certainty as to their time during the session than they had hitherto had. He was sorry the Government could not see their way to accept the Amendment of his hon. friend. He did not think the hon. Member was serious in bringing it forward.
§ MR. ERNEST GRAY (West Ham, N.)
said that it must be remembered that Easter was a movable feast, and if the House met comparatively late in a year when Easter fell early, private Members' time would be cramped into the smallest possible space, and if this Rule were adopted, there would be no opportunity in the future of criticising the use which the Executive had made of the time the House had already placed at their disposal. They all knew that hitherto grievances had been ventilated and criticism passed on the conduct of public business when the Government asked for additional time, and it seemed to him that this was an unreasonable proposition to place before the House. He was bound to say that while he had steadily supported the Government on these Rules he could not remove from his mind the uneasy feeling that this proposal would put the House into bondage, and hand it over body and soul to the Executive of the day. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, in introducing the new Rules asked his supporters to treat them as though they were sitting on the left of the Speaker. He had been looking at this Resolution from that point of view, and he asked what would be their position when another Executive was in office making use of the fetters with which they were asked that day to bind the House. If the Amendment went to a division he should feel compelled to vote for it.
§ (10.20.) MR. LAMBERT
said he-should feel bound to support the hon. Gentleman in his endeavour to curb the Government in seizing the time of private Members; and he was very glad to hear hon. Members opposite were waking up to a realisation of the fact that they were parting with their ancient privileges. He did not think that any reasonable man in the House would say that three nights before Easter and two nights after Easter were more than sufficient for the ventilation of grievances by private Members or the initiation of legislation. The discussions on these occasions were not always academic and many useful measures had been passed by the lead of private Members.
§ MR. CALDWELL
supported the Amendment because it would compel the Government, if they wished to take the Tuesday evenings between Easter and Whitsun, to come to the House and satisfy it that that time was required in the interests of the country. What hardship was there in that? For everybody knew that the Government never had any difficulty in carrying a Motion of that kind. If this new Rule were passed, and the House did not meet until the middle of February the Government might take away nearly half the private Members' time before Easter. The House would do well, he thought, to give effect to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Altrincham, leaving it on the Standing Orders that Tuesday was a private Members' night, and that if the Government wished to appropriate it they must show cause.
§ *(10.25.) SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
said that some hon. Members seemed to forget what the chief reason was for the alteration in the Rules of the House. It was that excessive discussions prevented the progress of public business and the whole country had wondered that Parliament had not reformed its procedure long ago. The hon. Member for Mid Lanark had said that the Government could get the time for their business if they showed cause, but the hon. Member knew that when the Government made such a demand half an evening or more was 1333 wasted in threshing out subjects already settled, and so much of the time gained by the demand the Government had made was lost in useless discussion. He ventured to think that hon. Members were bound to make some sacrifice in the public interest and it was primarily expedient that their discussions should be shortened. He was sorry that the hon. Member for Altrincham, in moving his Amendment, had thought it necessary to charge the First Lord of the Treasury with callous indifference to the feelings of the private Member. There never was an accusation less deserved, for he maintained that the First Lord of the Treasury had shown the utmost consideration for the opinions of Members. Indeed, if any charge could be laid against him, it might be that the right hon. Gentleman had shown himself somewhat irresolute in his desire to meet their wishes. By the scheme before the House, one evening would be left for private Members' Motions, and if hon. Members had matters to bring forward which were exciting great public interest they might do so by coming down to the House after enjoying an hour and a half for dinner. By the proposals of the Government, private Members would have, after Easter, two days a week for submitting Motions and having Bills discussed. If they were in earnest in reforming the proceedure of the House, he ventured to think that the passing of these Resolutions would relieve them from reproaches which had been cast upon them.
§ (10.32.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said that if the light hon. Baronet was of opinion that the new Rules were going to seriously accelerate the work of the House, he was living in a fools' paradise. He would call the right hon. Baronet's attention to the fact that he had expressed an opinion entirely at variance with that expressed by the First Lord of the Treasury, because the First Lord of the Treasury very wisely said that he did not look to these Rules to accelerate business, or to put down the Parliamentary offence of obstruction. Therefore, he did not think the right hon. Baronet was entitled to bring that forward as a serious argument. The right hon. Baronet, repeating another statement of 1334 the First Lord of the Treasury, said that a private Member would, under the new scheme, be safeguarded in a way which did not now exist. Did anyone ever hear such nonsense? Why, when the First Lord of the Treasury made that statement, he, being a man possesed of a sense of honour, had no sooner made it, than he began to laugh at it himself, because having referred to the securities to be given to private Members, he immediately added "for what they are worth." Borrowing the now historic phraseology of the Lord Chancellor, who described the war which was costing many valuable lives every week "as a sort of war," the right hon. Gentleman now spoke of the safeguards of private Members "for what they are worth." They were worth absolutely nothing. The hon. Member for North West Ham very properly appealed to Members on his own side to remember that a Conservative Government would not always exist. There were such things as Liberal administrations who desired to pass a great deal of legislation, and he ventured to say that Members of the House would live to see the day when a Liberal Government would attempt to pass measures which hon. Gentlemen opposite would consider against the institutions of the country. What would happen? Hon. Gentlemen need not wait to know. Under the Standing Order as it was, Tuesdays belonged to private Members. During the present session not a Tuesday had been given to private Members, except a miserable rag of an evening which was got by the accidental fact that the Government had discharged all its business sooner than was expected, and so impressed was the House, that hon. Members celebrated the occasion by defeating the Government. Although Tuesdays belonged to private Members, not a single Tuesday, except the miserable rag he had mentioned, had been given to them during the present session. Yet the memories of hon. Members were so short that they actually believed, in spite of the First Lord of the Treasury having spoken with his tongue in his cheek, that the new Rule would be a solemn covenant and ordinance which no Government would ever dare to depart from. Even in the very next session, if the First Lord was in his 1335 present position, it was quite possible, nay, it was quite probable, that the very first thing he would do, owing to exigencies of getting money or carrying on the war, would be to take away at the beginning of the session these sacred and indestructible two evenings in the week which he now declared were as sacred as Magna Charta. They knew these two evenings would be taken away by the Government if they wanted them. Tuesdays were taken away during the present session, but they were taken away by Resolution. What did the First Lord now propose? He would ask hon. Members to project their minds to next session. Next session the First Lord might ask the House for Tuesdays and Wednesdays before Easter. After Easter he would get Tuesdays automatically, without even asking for them. The hon. Member for North West Ham very properly pointed out that Easter was a movable feast. He did not profess to be able to tell what the periods were within which the feast could be moved. That was a theological question, which no one except the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich could solve. He would express no opinion on it, except to say that he thought Easter Sunday might come a fortnight, three weeks, or four weeks earlier one year than in another. The House might meet in February, and Easter Sunday might be towards the end of March, so that private Members would only have three or four Tuesdays altogether before Easter; and after Easter, Tuesdays would fall to the Government automatically. He should be sorry to accuse the First Lord of callous indifference to the feelings of anybody. He was sure he would not show callous indifference even to the feelings of the hon. Member for King's Lynn, though he occasionally must feel restless under the scourge of that very keen Parliamentary satirist. But he thought the right hon. Gentleman showed a great deal of callousness to the rights of private Members. He was not surprised at that. He was perfectly sure that the right hon. Gentleman was convinced that there was no such absurdity as a private Members' Motion. That was the natural, traditional, and inevitable feeling of the official mind, whether Liberal or Conservative. Therefore, the right hon. 1336 Gentleman was not concerned when he was told that he was interfering with the rights of private Members. To him that was another way of putting down a nuisance; but private Members who thought of something else than passing Government measures with the greatest rapidity thought it worth while to fight for their rights, and he thought the Party opposite would be forgetful of some of their best traditions if they allowed the Government to deprive the House of the remaining right of private Members.
§ (10.44.) MR. CHAPLIN
said that he for one would support the Amendment on the ground that the proposal of the Government was another attack on the few remaining rights and privileges left to private Members. He thought that the division which had been taken earlier in the evening showed that private Members were beginning to realise the serious position in which they would be hereafter placed if these Rules were carried in the form in which they stood on the Paper. If private Members, like the right hon. Baronet the Member for North-East Manchester, were inclined to throw their rights away, why then there was an end of the matter. But he did not wish to see private Members deprived of their rights, and it was for that reason that he would most earnestly press on hon. Members to seriously consider, before they fettered themselves, whether the proposal as it stood should be accepted. The right hon. Baronet gave as a reason for supporting the proposal, the serious character of the obstruction which had prevailed in this House for many years, and with reference to which the whole country was wondering why no effective steps had hitherto been taken by the House itself. But the right hon. Baronet was reminded by the hon. Member who had just spoken of something which he appeared to have forgotten, viz., that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury pointed out with perfect frankness that he did not claim for the Rules that they would put an end to obstruction, and that that was not the object with which they were put forward. It was idle, therefore, to speak of the necessity of stopping obstruction, 1337 and to call on hon. Members to accept the proposals before the House for that purpose. He should be very sorry indeed to support the view that his right hon. friend the Leader of the House had shown anything like callousness to the feelings of hon. Members. He thought his right hon. friend, as far as the feelings of the House were concerned, had done all that could be done, or could be expected to be done, by the Leader of the House. But when they came to consider the rights of private Members, he thought his right hon. friend had shown an absolutely complete indifference to them, at which he was not surprised, because when it became a question of priority between the Government on one side and a private Member on the other, naturally the Government tried to get all they possibly could. The Government came forward with those proposals because they wanted to get more time for themselves; but, on the other hand, private Members desired to retain as many of their privileges as they could. His right hon. friend the First Commissioner of Works said he could not believe that the Amendment was seriously put forward. For his own part, he hoped most sincerely that that Amendment and the next would be seriously pressed by private Members on both sides of the House with all the earnestness they could command. His right hon. friend said that the proposal was not new. That might be true in one sense, but the proposal was now to be carried out in a totally new way. Hitherto, private Members' days could only be obtained by the Government after discussion and by the assent of the House, but in future the process would be absolutely automatic. His right hon. friend the Leader of the House admitted that what he called the paper rights of private Members would undoubtedly be largely entrenched upon by the new Rules, and he pointed out that there would be compensation in the fact that the Government would not, in future, take away the remaining rights of private Members. How did his right hon. friend know that? What guarantee could he give to the House of Commons upon that point? So long as his right hon. friend remained a Member of the present Government, he could give that assurance.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said the right hon. Gentleman could not, because he would not be so foolish as to bind himself for all the time he would be in office.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said he understood that the argument of his right hon. friend was that the Government would not take away the remaining rights of private Members.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said that a statement made by the Leader of the House for the purpose of obtaining the support of his followers on a particular proposal should be considered as something more than a pious hope, and as a guarantee, so far as it could be given, for his own Government. Of course, his right hon. friend could not give a pledge as regarded future Governments, as no Government was immortal. He saw absolutely nothing whatever to prevent any future Government proposing to apply the provisions of Section D of this particular Rule to Easter instead of to Whitsuntide if they thought their necessities required it. He would give the House one little illustration from his own personal experience last session of the difficulties in which private Members would be placed. He was interested in a little Bill called the Beer Bill. For nearly the whole of the session, he was sorry to say, he felt it his duty to be continually pestering his right hon. friend and asking him to give facilities to get that Bill to a Grand Committee. Those facilities were refused and refused, until at last he thought to himself that the time had come when really something should be done. He consulted his friends and hon. Members who were in favour of the Bill, and before the day came on which the Government intended to ask for all the days after Whitsuntide, he issued a rather strong whip to his friends and to the supporters of the Bill asking them to refuse, to consent to the Motion of the Government unless a distinct promise were made in the direction he desired. He was glad to say he was successful so far as the Government was concerned, but he did not think he would have got what he did if he had not secured the support of a number of Gentlemen on that occasion 1339 That would be impossible in the future if the proposal before the House were accepted. It was really nothing more nor less than an additional attack on private Members and a further curtailment of their rights. As he had already said, it rested entirely with private Members to say whether or not they would assent to the change being made. If they did assent, he personally would very much regret it in the interests of the House of Commons itself, as well as in the interests of private Members, and he also believed in the best interests of the country, for
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Dyke, Rt Hon. Sir William Hart||Malcolm, Ian|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r||Milvain, Thomas|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Finch, George H.||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Arrol, Sir William||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fisher, William Hayes||Morgan, David J. (W'lthamstow|
|Bagot, Capt, Josceline FitzRoy||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Mount, William Arthur|
|Balcarres, Lord||Flower, Ernest||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Gordon, Hon J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Murray Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(S'lop||Nicol Donald Ninian|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Line.)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Bigwood, James||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry||Pease, Herbert Pike (D'rlington|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.)||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Bond, Edward||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Penn, John|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gunter, Sir Robert||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Purvis, Robert|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Randles, John S.|
|Bull, William James||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ash'frd||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Butcher, John George||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Richards Henry Charles|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edwd. H.||Heaton, John Henniker||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Helder, Augustus||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (D'rbyshire||Henderson, Alexander||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Robinson, Brooke|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Higginbottom, S. W.||Round, James|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Hoult, Joseph||Rutherford, John|
|Charrington, Spencer||Houston, Ropert Paterson||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Knowles, Lees||Seely, Maj J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawson, John Grant||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareh'm||Shaw-Stewart, H. M. (Renfrew)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Smith, H. C (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Spear, John Ward|
|Cross, Herb-Shepherd (Bolton)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Macdona, John Cumming||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Doughty, George||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B. (Cambs||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
§ he did not think it was desirable, whether the Government belonged to one party or to the other, that the initiation of all business and of all legislation should rest in the hands of the Government and the Government alone. It was because he held those views most strongly that he would warmly support his hon. friend if he went to a division.
§ (10.55.) Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 182; Noes, 130. (Division List No. 92.)
|Tritton, Charles Ernest||Willox, Sir John Archibald||Wyndham, Ht. Hon. George|
|Tuke, Sir John Batty||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Valentia, Viscount||Wilson, John (Falkirk)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Walker, Col. William Hall||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)||Younger, William|
|Warr, Augustus Frederick||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne||Wortley, Rt Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Williams, Rt Hn J. Powell-(Birm||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Dowd, John|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||O' Kelly, James, (Roscommon, N|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Malley, William|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc, Stroud||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Mara, James|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hammond, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Palmer, George Wm, (Reading)|
|Austin, Sir John||Hayden, John Patrick||Partington, Oswald|
|Barry, E. (Cork. S.)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Bell, Richard||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Black, Alexander William||Helme, Norval Watson||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Blake, Edward||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Prics, Robert John|
|Bowles, T. (Gibson (King's Lynn)||Holland, William Henry||Priestley, Arthur|
|Brigg, John||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Rea, Russell|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Reddy, M.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Joicey, Sir James||Redmond, John E (Waterford)|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Jordan, Jeremiah||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Burns, John||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Caine, William Sproston||Kearley, Hudson E.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Caldwell, James||Lambert, George||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Russell, T. W.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Levy, Maurice||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lough, Thomas||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Chaplain, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lundon, W.||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Cogan, Denis J.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Crae, George||Tennant, Harold John|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Kean, John||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||M'Kenna, Reginald||Thomas, J. A (G'amorgan, Gower|
|Delany, William||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Tomkinson, James|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Wallace, Robert|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mooney, John J.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Moulton, John Fletcher||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Edwards, Frank||Murphy, John||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Elibank, Master of||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Ellis, John Edward||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.|
|Emmott, Alfred||Norman, Henry||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Field, William||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Ernest Gray.|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
§ *(11.8.) MR. GIBSON BOWLES moved to omit paragraph (d). Under the Standing Orders the Government were entitled to only four-tenths of the time of the House, while as a matter of fact they always obtained nine-tenths of it. But how did they get it? By permission of the House, after coming down, making the request, and making out a case. There had always been periods when the Government required time beyond that given by the Standing Order, but it had been necessary that the Government should show that the business they had to do was more than could be dealt with in the time allotted. That Standing 1342 Order had never been an impediment to any Government getting the time they wanted. The question the House had now to consider was whether they should release, not this Government alone, but all Governments for ever, from the necessity of making out a case for taking the whole of private Members' time. Whether the power given by paragraph (d) was conferred or not, the Government would always be able to get the time they required. The very first line of the Rule showed that it was contemplated that on any emergency they should come down and ask for the time. That was quite reasonable, and the whole of his conten- 1343 tion was that the House should keep its ancient rights over its own business, that it should not hand those rights over to the Government by Rules such as that now proposed, by which hard and fast lines were laid down as to what should be done before and after Easter, and before and after Whitsuntide. The Rule had no elasticity; it left no power in the hands of the House. The House would have no control over its own business, but would become little more than a mere registering machine for saying "Aye" or "No," according to the dictates of the Government of the day.
In line 9, to leave out paragraph (d)—'After Whitsuntide, Government business shall have precedence at all evening sittings, and at all Friday sittings except the sittings on the third and fourth Fridays after Whit Sunday.'"—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)
§ Question proposed—"That the first word 'after' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. CHANNING
cordially supported the Amendment. He welcomed it the more because it raised a wider question than that involved in the Amendment he himself had on the Paper. Every Member who had been in the House during the last seven years could recall many instances in which the discussion of the position of public business had been a real benefit to the whole House, and even to the Government itself. Amongst others, mention might be made of the Education Bill of 1896, when such discussions had been of real and essential value to the House in asserting its right and in helping or checking the Government, where check was necessary. He had been present at most of those discussions for the last fifteen years, and none of them ever went to any serious length, and those questions had usually been disposed of after one or two hours discussion. Those opportunities had hitherto been employed in useful criticism of public business, in checking mismanagement and directing the channel of public affairs in an effective manner. He thought hon. Members ought to safeguard the right of the House to take its share in the conduct of public business.
§ * MR. DISRAELI
contended that if the Government wanted more time, they ought to take it in a constitutional manner. At a certain period of the 1344 session they always had what was known as "the massacre of the innocents," which was followed by an explanation of what the Government intended to do. He held that this course was necessary and was not a waste of time. His right hon. friend the Member for North-East Manchester was very severe upon him for saying that the First Lord of the Treasury had abused the feelings of the House with callous indifference, but what he meant was that the right hon. Gentleman had abused and forgotten the traditions and history of the House, which were the property of every Member. He should certainly support this Amendment if it went to a division, because he believed that such discussions were a distinct advantage.
§ MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
said that it was in the general interest of the House to leave this time to private Members. The settled policy of the Government seemed to be to take the time of the House from unofficial Members. If hon. Members would enquire, they would soon find how many useful things had been passed and initiated by private Members. He might mention in this connection the Fair Wages Resolution.
§ (11.20.) MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
thought that some Minister ought to get up and say a few words upon this very drastic change. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that no case had been made out for the Amendment, but it was the duty of the Government to make out a better case for their proposal. A very great principle was involved in the present Amendment, and this was a debate in which they were fixing an important Standing Order of the House under which they would work perpetually. He agreed with what had been said by the hon. Member opposite in regard to "the massacre of the innocents." The Government had got all the time they could get, and there was no reason why they should waste time explaining measures which could not be proceeded with. This was a question which involved the principle of the control of the House over the Ministry, and the Ministry should not forget that they were still the servants of the House. He was quite willing to accept a 1345 compromise upon this matter, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider whether it was not possible for him to get at least one of the proposals contained in the Amendment. He appealed to the Government to make some defence of the very strong position they were taking up.
§ (11.25.) MR. ERNEST GRAY
agreed with the right hon. Baronet the Member for North-East Manchester in his statement that the public took a keen interest in the procedure of the House. One thing which he found very keenly commented upon outside was in reference to Bills which had reached the Third Reading, and had passed all but the Third Reading at a certain stage of the session. When that stage was reached, the Rules of the House prevented the measure being taken, and he had heard this Rule described outside as idiotic. In the past, when the Government came to ask for the whole time of the House at Whitsuntide, it was generally possible to bargain with them for facilities for certain private Members' Bills. Under this new Rule the Government would be relieved of all such responsibility. A Bill might have passed its Second Reading, and be merely awaiting the Third Reading, and the measure might be lost altogether simply because no opportunity could be found for bringing it forward. The public were keenly interested in private Bills, and, while it might be perfectly true that a large number of Motions were a waste of time, it was equally true that a few important measures had certainly originated with private Members, some of which had afterwards been taken up by the Government, who generally got the whole of the glory for such legislation. Those opportunities were likely to disappear now, for such legislation would be crushed by a Standing Order which had no elasticity, and such a Standing Order was not fitted to modern requirements. It was because he could not contemplate with equanimity Standing Orders which were so rigid, and which were not adaptable to any change in circumstances, year by year, that he was opposed to this proposal. His opposition was not raised in a spirit of obstruction, but simply because he was afraid the proposal which had been put forward would not make for the progress 1346 of public business, and would arouse irritation amongst various classes of the community, who were deeply interested in measures which the Government might not think fit to take up.
§ (11.30.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said that the fears entertained by his hon. friend were wholly illusory. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that by the Standing Orders proposed the Government were destroying the possibility of starring private Members' Bills, or of giving such facilities as were given last year to the Children's Bill. There was no basis whatever for those fears. The action taken by the Government in this matter was not prompted by that idea, and the hon. Gentleman was wrong in his recollection of what actually took place at the end of the session. He seemed to suppose that "the massacre of the innocents" took place upon a demand of the time of the House, which would be removed by this proposal. Never on that occasion had he made what was called an announcement of the policy of the Government in regard to the dropping of Bills. That had always been reserved for a far later period of the session. It was a very painful operation, but he was afraid it would have to be done under the new Rules as under the old Rules. That was the occasion which was usually chosen by successive Governments for announcing the course to be pursued with regard to Bills which had been brought before the House. The object of this portion of the Standing Orders, as of other portions, was to endeavour to do two things—to bring the Standing Orders of the House into some conformity with the unvarying practice of the House, and to so arrange the Standing Order that more of the rights of private Members should be preserved than had been or could be preserved under the existing system. He did not go into the second of these topics now, for that was more appropriate to the earlier clauses of the Standing Order which had already been passed. The rights of private Members were in abeyance at this moment, they were in abeyance last session, and also at the time when hon. Gentlemen opposite were in office. Never after Whitsuntide, except in connection with two or three Wednesdays, had any Government found 1347 it possible to give privileges to private Members' Bills, nor in his opinion was it desirable that this should be done. If the work of the session could be got through in a short time, let them, in heaven's name, adjourn early, and not be carrying on after Whitsuntide discussions of private Bills, which from the nature of the ease, so far as the Bills were concerned, could not come to any fruition in the course of that session. He did not admire, as some hon. Gentlemen appeared to admire, the debates that had taken place on the demand of successive Governments for the time of the House He thought they were extremely fruitless, monotonous, and barren of new ideas or useful criticism. He thought the time occupied on them was wholly wasted. He submitted that those who talked so glibly of the dignity of the House showed in this case a somewhat faint regard for it, because surely it could not be for the dignity of the House that they should keep upon their Standing Orders Rules which in the memory of every man in the House had never once been regarded or left unmodified in any session. They should make the Standing Orders of the House conform with the practice.
§ (11.36.) MR. CHAPLIN
said that after the refusal of the last Amendment this Amendment was more than ever necessary. The practice of which his right hon. friend spoke was comparatively quite a modern practice. If he understood the right hon. Gentleman aright, he said that not in the memory of any man in the House had any Government allowed private Members to interfere with the right of the Government to take the time of the House after Whitsuntide.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I said that a session had never passed in the memory of any man in which the amount of time given by the Standing Orders to private Members had not been modified.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
did not think his right hon. friend was right even in that. Certainly in the earlier sessions in his own experience the rights of private Members were not interfered with, and the attempts which were now made to rob them of these rights would not have been submitted to. He utterly denied that in the earlier days of his experience 1348 of the House there was anything approaching to the practice which his right hon. friend now said was invariable. It had only grown up in modern days. He should certainly support the Amendment.
§ (11.40.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
thought the Leader of the House was not entirely mindful even of the history of his own Parliamentary lifetime, when he described these discussions as quite fruitless. Such Motions gave to the Opposition a desirable opportunity of criticising the use the Government had made of their time, and the power of calling the Government to account for the conduct of the business of the Departments. The whole bent of the right hon. Gentleman's, mind was that all criticism of the Government was futile. He took the opposite view. What happened when the Motion to appropriate private Members' time was before the House? It was true that the Motion was always carried, but the discussion gave the opponents of the Government a desirable opportunity for criticising the action of the Government. The more frequently the House could bring the Government to account, the better chance there was that the affairs of the Empire would be properly conducted. In a democratic assembly like this, they ought to have every opportunity for bringing the action of administrative Departments before the attention of the House. He instanced the debate on the case of Miss Cass, and its result, as one of the greatest triumphs of that House as the guardian of the liberties of the humblest citizen.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he had not referred to Motions for adjournment; the Cass case was raised on a Motion for the adjournment.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said his second point was that the fate of the Government might hang in the balance on one of those Motions in question. They had had that evening a very interesting chapter from that volume of reminiscences which he hoped the right hon. Member for Sleaford would some day give in extenso to the world. The right hon. Gentleman wanted a particular Bill to be brought before the House on a particular day, and he showed how he got that opportunity for discussing his 1349 Bill by bringing pressure to bear on the Government, and by proving that there was a sufficiently large number of Members of the House who would support the Bill and were anxious for its discussion. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to the Child Messenger Bill, but he himself maintained that some of the most useful legislation passed by the House had been brought in by private Members. He himself had been able to pass the Labourers' Dwellings Act for Ireland, which had covered that country with proper sanitary cottages instead of dog hovels. Then the hon. Member for South Shields had been able to pass a Bill which had revolutionised the position of children in this country. These and many more Bills had become law because the private Members who introduced them had the support of hon. Members in the House and of public opinion outside, and so were able to bring pressure on the Government. If they removed from the Government the necessity of coining to the House to get the time of the House, they, therefore, deprived a Member, however backed up by public opinion, of the opportunity of putting pressure on the Government to get a day for the discussion of any measure. One of the great faults of the present Rule was the omnipotence it gave to private Members to delay legislation.
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cavendish, V. C. W. (D'rbyshire||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Flower, Ernest|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wrc'r||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Arnold-Foster, Hugh O.||Charrington, Spencer||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gore, Hn. G R C Ormsby-(Salop|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon|
|Balcarres, Lord||Colomb, Sir. John Charles Ready||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Green, Walford D. (W'dnesb'ry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs.|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cranborne, Viscount||Gunter, Sir Robert|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hamilton, Rt Hn. Lord G (Mid'x|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Crossley, Sir Savile||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dickson, Charles Scott||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Bond, Edward||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanl'y|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Doughty, George||Helder, Augustus|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Douglas, Right Hon. A. Akers-||Henderson, Alexander|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Bull, William James||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Hobhouse, Henry. (Somerset E.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Hope, J. F. (Shefield, Brights'de|
|Butcher, John George||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Hoult, Joseph|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (M'nc'r||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Finch, George H.||Knowles, Lees|
§ He saw the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich and the hon. Member for Mid Lanark present. These were the true masters of the House, the true leaders of the House. The right hon. the First Lord of the Treasury was under the hallucination that he was the Leader of the House. Why, he was only the humble slave and follower of the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich and the hon. Member for Mid Lanark. That might seem a joke or a paradox, but everyone knew that it was perfectly true, and that these hon. Members were perfectly omnipotent over the fate of private Bills. The House might possibly sit until late in August—although he hoped it would not. That meant that for three months of the Parliamentary session there would not be one scrap of time left to the private Members: and the right hon. Gentleman invited them to follow the example of Japanese politicians of old, who committed personal suicide. He thought it was a marvellous thing that the right hon. the Leader of the House was able to propose a revolution of that kind on the whole procedure of Parliament without even dignifying it by raising his hat.
§ (11.53) Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 179; Noes, 118. (Division List No.93.)
|Lawson, John Grant||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants. Fareh'm||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Spear, John Ward|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Leveson-Glower, Fred'rick N. S.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Parkes, Ebenezer||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Un.|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)||Pemberton, John S. G.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Loyd, Archie, Kirkman||Penn, John||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Pilkington, Lieut-Col. Richard||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Macartney, Rt. Hn. WG Ellison||Purvis, Robert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Macdona, John Gumming||Randles, John S.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Whiteley, H. (Asht'nund, Lyne|
|M'Calmont, Col. H L B (Cambs.||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|M'Killop, James,(Stirlingshire||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Robinson, Brooke||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Mildmay, Erancis Bingham||Round, James||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Milvain, Thomas||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Wodehouse, Rt Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Rutherford, John||Wolff', Gustav Wilhelm|
|Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C B. Stuart|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Morgan, David J. (Walth'mst'w||Sandys, Lieut. Col. Thos Myles||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Seely, Charles, Hilton (Lincoln)||Wyndham-Quin, Major H. W.|
|Mount, William Arthur||Seely, Maj. J E B (Isle of Wight)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Younger William|
|Muntz, Phillip A.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute||Simeon, Sir Barrington||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Smith, H. C (North'mb Tyneside|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||O'Malley, William|
|Allan, William, Gateshead||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Mara, James|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Hammond, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hayden, John Patrick||Partington, Oswald|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Heyne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Helme, Norval Watson||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Bell, Richard||Holland, William Henry||Perks, Robert William|
|Black, Alexander William||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Blake, Edward||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Price, Robert John|
|Brigg, John||Joicey, Sir James||Priestley, Arthur|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jordan, Jeremiah||Rea, Russell|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Joyce, Michael||Reddy, M.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Kearley, Hudson, E.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Burns, John||Lambert, George||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Caine, William Sproston||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Caldwell, James||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Levy, Maurice||Russell, T. W.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Lough, Thomas||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Lundon, W.||Sheenan, Daniel Daniel|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Chaplin, Right Hon. Henry||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Spencer, Rt. Hn CR (Northants|
|Cogan, Dennis J.||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, Donal|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Kean, John||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Kenna, Reginald||Thomas, David Alfred (M'rthyr|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Thomas, J. A (Glamorgan Gower|
|Delany, William||M'Laren, Charles, Benjamin||Tomkinson, James|
|Denny, Colonel||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Mooney, John J.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Murphy, John||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Edwards, Frank||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Ellis, John Edward||Norman, Henry||Wilson, Fred W. (Norfolk. Mid.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.|
|Field, William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Gibson Bowles and Mr. Disraeli.|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||O'Dowd, John|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Debate arising.1352
§ Debate adjourned till Thursday.
§ Adjourned at five minutes after Twelve o'clock.