§ Read a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee of five Members, three to be nominated by the House and two by the Committee of Selection:
§ "That all petitions against the Bill presented three clear days before the meeting of the Committee be referred to the Committee; that the petitioners praying to be heard by themselves, their counsel, or agents, be heard against the Bill, and counsel heard in support of the Bill:
§ "That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records:1427
§ "That three be the quorum."—[Mr. Joseph Pease.]
§ Mr. BOOTH
I regret very much that the right hon. Gentleman did not give some explanation of this Bill when he introduced it. We are accustomed on Fridays to pay particular attention to the legislation before us. What I am anxious about is that the Committee should be a fair Committee: for the Bill will be a good Bill if it is sent to a fair Committee. Cannot the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster give some indication as to what will be the composition of the Committee? It is not a matter which should be left to the party whips solely. I have the greatest confidence in the right hon. Gentleman, but if he is going to suggest five lawyers I shall feel compelled to vote against it. This is not a lawyer's question. Lawyers have a way of arranging these things so that they get very well remunerated. We must consider the common people. We have been considering the litigants in India. Let us consider the poor people in this country who are compelled to have recourse to these courts for justice. I am afraid if we have distinguished lawyers from either side of the House put on the Committee we may have a very startling result. I know the right hon. Gentleman can be fair to the common people, and I make this appeal that he should give some indication, particularly as he did not see his way to give a word of explanation about this highly important measure.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the DUCHY (Mr. Joseph Pease)
It was not out of any lack of courtesy that I did not make any statement in regard to this Bill. It is one of a somewhat technical character, and it is aimed at getting rid of certain abuses which have crept in in connection with the Civil Court. I believe the proposals in the Bill will secure that end. It is necessary that a locality should have an opportunity of being heard if they so desire before the Hybrid Committee. I am not responsible for the Committee, but I have been asked to be a member of it. Who the others are I cannot say. Two of their names will appear on the Notice Paper, I imagine, early next week, being the two members who will be associated with me and members who may be appointed by the House. The other two will be appointed by the Committee of Selection, and over that we have no control. In the event of the Bill coming back from the Hybrid Committee practi- 1428 cally in the shape in which it now is the House will have a further opportunity of discussing it in Committee.
§ Question put, and agreed to.