§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Marquess the Leader of the House whether he can make any statement about the progress of business?
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, as I ventured to tell your Lordships yesterday there are two Bills which we had in mind to pass—the Safeguarding of Industries (Customs Duties) Bill, which is about to be read a first time, and the Land Settlement (Facilities) Amendment Bill. I informed your Lordships yesterday that I understood that the Safeguarding of Industries Bill would be certified by Mr. Speaker as a Money Bill, and upon that understanding your Lordships were willing that it should be put through all its stages, if necessary, to-day. But that is subject to a condition which I am about to state. I also said that I understood that the Land Settlement Bill was in the same position. We are under great difficulties in dealing with this particular provision in the Parliament Act, because we do not know until a Bill is actually through the House of Commons whether Mr Speaker will certify it or not, and it has turned out, in fact, that it is not a certified Bill. Therefore it is placed in another situation. At the same time, unless some facilities are given to it—some facilities, I mean, by the suspension of Standing Orders—it cannot get through before the Prorogation. That is how those two Bills stand.
Since I addressed your Lordships on business yesterday, very grave representations have been made to me with respect to a Bill which has just reached us from another place called the Education (Scotland) Bill. I suggested yesterday, speaking on your Lordships' behalf but not so much as the member of the Government who for the moment very 1580 unworthily occupies the position of Leader of the House, that I thought it was much too late to take that Bill, but a very strong representation has reached me from another place. It appears that this Bill is accepted as an agreed Bill there by the three Parties—the Unionist Party, the Liberal Party and the Labour Party. The Scottish Department is most anxious to have this Bill passed. I still felt very great reluctance to ask your Lordships to suspend the Standing Orders in any respect on this Bill—and, indeed, it is very difficult to discuss it at this time of year if the Standing Orders were not suspended—but, in deference to this very strong pressure of which the Prime Minister was the voice, I thought it right to consult some of the most influential members of the House and with their consent I am going to ask your Lordships to give facilities to enable the Bill to get through. I ought to add that in its main lines and so far as the bulk of it is concerned, it passed this House two years ago; therefore it is not absolutely new to the House. It has had certain modifications, but those are of a minor character. Broadly speaking, it is the same Bill as that which passed through this House two years ago. In those circumstances I propose to submit the Bill to your Lordships' consideration. It is open to the House to do what they like with it.
But all this involves a sitting to-morrow, Friday, which it had not been the intention of the Government to propose. I should therefore propose that we sit to-morrow. There is business of considerable importance that has to be transacted to-morrow on the legal side of your Lordships' House, and after conference with my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack I have arrived at the conclusion that it would be impossible for the House to sit for legislative purposes earlier than the usual time, or we might make it four o'clock. That is the earliest moment at which it will be possible to sit to-morrow. Therefore at the adjournment to-night I shall propose that we adjourn until that time to-morrow. This arrangement has one reaction upon the other Bills. As we are to sit on Friday it does not seem necessary to take all the stages of the Safeguarding of Industries Bill and Land Settlement Bill to-day. Therefore I shall propose to 1581 move the Suspension of the Standing Order, but shall ask your Lordships' consent only to use that Motion with respect to the First and Second Readings for to-day, leaving the other stages to be taken on Friday and Monday, which are still open to us. I hope I have made the position clear.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
My Lords, in the circumstances I think the request of the noble Marquess as to the Scottish Education Bill is a reasonable one. It is a Bill that is approved by all Parties in the other House, as I understand My noble friend Lord Beauchamp will be able to confirm me in that. It is a Bill that makes no organic changes, it has nothing about block grants, it is all details, and therefore, speaking for myself, I should offer no opposition to the proposal so to deal with it. I presume the noble Marquess will move the First Reading to-day.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I propose to take the First Reading of that Bill to-day and the other stages on Friday and Monday, and to take the Second Reading to-day of the Safeguarding of Industries Bill and the Land Settlement Bill and the remaining stages on Friday and Monday.
§ VISCOUNT HALDANE
When will the noble Marquess take the Second Reading of the Scottish Bill to-morrow? It is no use those of us who are interested in that Bill being kept late at night. Can it be taken first?
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, I willingly fall in with the suggestions made by the noble Marquess, but as he knows I have an almost constitutional objection to the suspension of Standing Orders and especially in regard to certified Bills under the Parliament Act. 1582 There are certain delays that are possible under that Act and it is open to your Lordships to make certain suggestions. I should be very sorry indeed if it became the custom of your Lordships' House to pass a Money Bill through all its stages under Standing Orders as a matter of course. I hope that will not be the custom in future. I am glad to think that under the suggestions made by the noble Marquess to-day that will not be done. I agree with the suggestion he made as regards the Scottish Education Bill, which is a non-contentious Bill. We shall do what we can to forward its progress during this Session. Friday afternoon is not generally a convenient time, but in the circumstances I do not see that any other course is open to the noble Marquess. The Land Settlement Bill, which is not a certified Bill, is one on which my noble friend the Marquess of Lincolnshire holds some strong views and if he finds it necessary to move a Motion in regard to it I hope the noble Marquess will allow me to inform him of the fact through the usual channels.