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Parliament—Business Of The House

Volume 218: debated on Friday 20 March 1874

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inquired of the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether it was his intention that the House should sit to-morrow, and, if so, at what time and for what business?

thought it would be convenient if the First Lord of the Treasury would also state what was likely to be the course of business next week, and at what time they were to be released from their arduous labours?

I am not surprised at the feeling of astonishment—I hope it may not be described as even a more painful sentiment—which has been shown on an allusion being made to a proposal that the House should meet to-morrow. The fact is, however, that the claims of Public Business are at this moment so exigent that I must not only ask this House to meet to-morrow, but we must use our influence to induce the august Assembly which sits in "another place" to meet likewise on a Saturday—I mean on Saturday week. I will point out the mode in which I think the claims of Public Business, however exigent, may be met—but it is only with the aid of the cordial support of the House that they can be met successfully. We propose that the House should assemble at 12 o'clock to-morrow, and we shall at that sitting introduce the Excess Votes for 1872–3, and the Supplementary Estimates, amounting to £315,000, for 1873–4, and shall ask, moreover, for a Vote of Credit on account of the Ashantee War. On Monday we propose to go into Committee of Supply, when we shall ask for a Vote on Account for two months. On Tuesday, with the assistance of the House, and by hon. Gentlemen showing friendliness and forbearance, we may take the Report of Supply, and the Bill framed upon it may be read a first time. On Wednesday the second reading of that Bill may be taken, on Thursday we may go into Committee on it, and on Friday we may take the third reading. This House need not meet on Saturday. If we can induce the august Assembly in "another place" to meet on Saturday, the Lords, by suspending their Standing Orders, may pass through the Bill, and on Monday, the 30th, in that case, it would receive the Royal Assent. The Secretary for War and the First Lord of the Admiralty may also, on the 30th, move a Vote for the number of men required for the public service, and on Tuesday the report on that subject may be agreed to. That is precisely the last day of the financial year. Now this can be done with the forbearance and assistance of the House and in no other way. I think the requirements of the public service authorize that forbearance on the part of the House, and I trust it will be exercised. It is only by using judiciously every moment of our time, by sitting at unusual hours, and by both houses responding readily to the appeals we make, that we can hope to succeed in accomplishing this financial tour de force. With regard to the question of which the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge has asked as to the period of relaxation which he needs, I may say that if we can carry out the business I have mentioned by Tuesday, the 31st, I shall then move, if it be agreeable to the House, that we adjourn from that date till Monday, the 13th of April. And perhaps I may be allowed to take this opportunity of saying that on Thursday, April 16, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to introduce his Budget.