§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
I beg to ask the Leader of the House, the First Lord of the Treasury (1) what Supply will be taken on Friday; (2) when he will be able to make any announcement to the House with regard to the Easter holidays; and (3) whether the Motion which stands first on the Paper for today, relating to the London Water Bill, is not contrary to the understanding that the first business at the present sitting should be the contracts for the Army in South Africa. I do not know whether it will take any time at all, but, if it does, it will, I think, be contrary to the understanding.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The business for next Friday will not be Supply in the strict sense of the word, but will be the discussion on the Army scheme which was, I understand, promised at the time when I was not able to be present owing to indisposition. As regards the second Question, I shall be able, I hope, to give an answer, and also to give the House a prospectus of the business before the Easter holidays if the right hon. Gentleman opposite will be good enough to repeat the Question to morrow. As to the third Question, I understand the Motion relating to the London Water Bill is of a formal character [" Oh, no "] and has been put down for the convenience, not of the Government, but of those who oppose the Government Bill. I understand, too, that those, or some of those, who are 177 opposing the Government Bill were consulted about the Motion, and that they gave their concurrence to it. I am informed that if that Motion is not taken today or tomorrow, great inconvenience to the opponents of the Bill will ensue. I entirely agree, however, that if it is a matter which the House is going to discuss, it would be contrary to the understanding arrived at between the two sides, and it must, at whatever cost of personal inconvenience to hon. Gentlemen opposite, be deferred till another day.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
The understanding was perfectly clear that the first business today was to be a formal stage of the Appropriation Bill, and then the debate on the Remounts Question.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
The Motion about the London Water Bill must give rise to long debate. It is a matter of controversy on which my hon friend the Member for East Mayo takes a strong view.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
If the statement of the hon. Member is accurate, as I do not doubt it is, of course it is quite impossible that the Loudon Water question can have precedence. I greatly regret it, however.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the President of the Local Government Board told us on Friday last that this Motion would not be taken before Thursday?
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I do not know to what statement the hon. Gentleman refers; I never made it. On the contrary, I told the hon. Gentleman what has been stated by the right hon. Gentleman, that it was to the interest of the opponents of the Bill that it should be taken at once. The terms of the Motion had been agreed with the London County Council and the representative of the Water Companies, and had it been possible I should have moved it last Friday.
§ MR. ERNEST GRAY
inquired if it were true that the Education Bill was to be brought in next Monday.