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Morning Sittings

Volume 142: debated on Friday 13 June 1856

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On the question that the Resolutions be reported,

said: Sir, before the House resumes, I wish to call the attention of the noble Lord at the head of the Government to what took place this morning. I understand that two Bills connected with Ireland were appointed for Tuesday morning—the first day on which we are to have a morning sitting. Now the noble Lord will recollect that I have already given up two occasions that offered for bringing on my Motion with reference to National Education; I forbore bringing it on when I was entitled to do so, for the convenience of the Government, and I forbore as well taking a Supply night for the purpose. I therefore took my chance of the ballot, and it fell out that my Motion stands for Tuesday evening. I need scarcely, however, point out to the noble Lord, that if we are to have a morning sitting upon Tuesday, which will occupy several hours, Members will have become far too exhausted to enter upon a second debate in the evening. I therefore put it to the noble Lord whether the first of the morning sittings ought not to be postponed until Thursday.

said, that the question before the Committee was "that he should report progress."

I only raised the discussion which the right hon. Gentleman has suppressed after having previously consulted Mr. Speaker as to the proper moment for calling attention to the subject.

Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

said, in reply to the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, he must state that it was usual about that period of the Session to have morning sittings, and what the Government proposed was not only to have sittings on Tuesday and Thursday mornings next week, but to continue them to the end of the Session. A morning sitting did not preclude the possibility of discussion in the evening; the House could meet then an hour or two later; and if the right hon. Gentleman's objection were allowed, the hon. Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. H. Baillie) might equally object to the morning sitting proposed for Thursday next. The right hon. Gentleman must feel, on reflection, that his argument would do away with morning sittings altogether, and deprive the Government of the means of bringing the Session to an end at a reasonable period.

said, he thought the noble Lord rather misapprehended the cause of complaint of his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge. It certainly seemed to him that his right hon. Friend had a claim to secure a fair opportunity for the discussion of the important Motion which he was about to bring forward, he having already lost his opportunity in order to facilitate the course of public business, and to afford convenience to the Government. But the cause of complaint was not confined to that. They were now about to adopt morning sittings without the fair and ample notice which was usual when such a change in the conduct of public business was about to take place. Besides it appeared to him that they were commencing the practice rather earlier than usual. There might be reasons to justify the Government in having recourse thus early to morning sittings, but then sufficient notice should have been given of their intention to do so. As regarded the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. H. Baillie), he should say the very fact of that and any other important Motions having been fixed for Tuesday and Thursday next was a very good reason why the Government ought to have postponed the morning sittings until after the next week at all events. In any case he thought it would have been more courteous and convenient if a notice of, say a week, had been given of the intention to commence morning sittings so soon as Tuesday next.

I must inform the right hon. Gentleman that there is no question before the House.