HL Deb 12 December 1934 vol 95 cc247-8

My Lords, before your Lordships commence the business which appears on the Order Paper for to-day, may I ask the noble Viscount the Leader of the House when he proposes that the House should resume the debate on the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Bill which was adjourned last night? May I tell your Lordships my reason for pressing the noble Viscount? I know that there are difficulties in the way, but I do venture to urge upon my noble friend and upon your Lordships that it is essential that we should resume that debate as quickly as possible, and before your Lordships' House adjourns for the Recess. I do not know whether my noble friend would wish to have any assistance in the matter, but if I might make a suggestion for him to consider, it would be that in the circumstances in which we are placed, owing to pressure of time, if the House could sit on Friday of this week, however inconvenient it may be, it would be better than allowing this matter to stand as it does at present, adjourned over a period of, perhaps, two months.


My Lords, I am very much obliged to the noble Marquess for asking me the question. The matter has naturally engaged my attention and that of my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack since the adjournment yesterday evening. As the noble Marquess has pointed out, exigencies of time render it impossible for the debate to be resumed on any of the ordinary days for the sitting of the House between now and the adjournment for the Christmas Recess. Every day is already fully mortgaged by necessary business. The conclusion I had reached is the same as that which I think the noble Marquess has reached—namely, that if we are to discuss the matter at all before Christmas we must have a meeting of this House on Friday next.

I was very unwilling to suggest that course, because I realise that it is very short notice and that it is always inconvenient for your Lordships to meet on a Friday, especially at this season of the year; but I do feel, as my noble friend feels, that it is very undesirable that the statements which were made yesterday should remain undealt with on behalf of the Government for so long a period as must necessarily elapse if we are to wait until after the Christmas Recess, that is to say, at any rate for nearly two months. Accordingly I was proposing to ask your Lordships to be good enough to meet at the usual time of a quarter past four on Friday of this week; and I do that with the more confidence because I see that there is no Motion down for the rejection of the Bill on Second Reading, and I therefore do not anticipate that there will be a Division on Second Reading. I have no certain information, but I should think that very improbable; and what is most desired is that an opportunity should be given for a statement to be made by my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack in reply to the arguments and the allegations brought forward yesterday by the Lord Chief Justice. I think that the most convenient course, therefore, will probably be to ask your Lordships to meet at a quarter past four on Friday, in order to resume the debate, and I hope that the House will then be able to complete the Second Reading stage. If that he done, the subsequent Committee stage can, I think, quite conveniently, and must of necessity, stand over until after we resume in January or February.


I presume that my noble friend has considered meeting earlier than a quarter past four on Friday and has found that it is not possible to do so?


Unfortunately judicial business will be going on.


I am very much obliged for what my noble friend has said.

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