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Civil Services

Volume 91: debated on Tuesday 19 March 1901

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Class V.£
Vote 3.Colonial Services212,300
Vote 2.British Protectorates in Uganda, etc.200,000
Class VII.
Vote 1.Temporary Commissions9,000
Class II.
Vote 23Stationery and Printing110,000
Vote 27Secretary for Scotland, Office of100
Class III.
Vote 2.Miscellaneous Legal Expenses400
Class IV.
Vote 5.Wallace Collection3,333
Vote 8.London University70
Class V.
Vote 1.Diplomatic and Consular Services15,800
Vote 6.Treasury Chest Fund66,108
Class VI
Vote 1Superannuation and Retired Allowances10,000
Vote 5.Savings Banks and Friendly Societies Deficiencies51,758
Class VII.
Vote 2.Miscellaneous Expenses4,600
Vote 6.Local Loans Fund4,337
Vote 7.Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (Visit to the Colonies)20,000
Vote 8.Funeral of Her late Majesty35,500
Vote 2.Inland Revenue20,000
Vote 3.Post Office130,000
Vote 4.Post Office Packet Service10
Total Civil Services and Revenue Departments£893,316

I rise to put a question as to the position in which the House now stands under the operation of what is admitted to be an unexampled and unprecedented proceeding.

The right hon. Gentleman contradicts me when I affirm that it is unprecedented. I was unable to be here yesterday, but I read in the reports of the proceedings that the right hon. Gentleman himself said there was no precedent. Therefore I am justified in saying that it is unprecedented by the words which came from his own mouth. I wish to know how is the Committee to deal with this Vote? Now far is it allowed to discuss a Vote on the subjects which the order Paper contains? There are a great many items grouped in the one Vote. Is the Committee at liberty to discuss and to vote upon all the subjects severally contained in the Paper? Under the old system. even with the prospect of the guillotine in the end, the House was allowed to discuss and divide on every Vote. Is the Leader of the party opposite going to give under this new proceeding the same facilities to the House as have hitherto been enjoyed in dealing with Supplementary Estimates? Can an Amendment be moved on every subject contained in the Order Paper, and can a division be taken upon each question? If anybody may move an Amendment upon any matter contained in the Paper, and take a division upon it, we shall know how to proceed. But in that case I do not see exactly how it is worth while to revolutionise the financial principles upon which the House always proceeds in this matter.

I desire to ask whether the procedure of the House with regard to the Civil Service Estimates as now drawn will not be precisely the same as the procedure with which the House is perfectly familiar in regard to Supplementary Estimates for the Army and Navy, both of which contain items of the utmost difference, and whether it is not also the same as the procedure, with which the House is familiar, in dealing with the Excess Votes, in which case both the subjects; and the accounting officers are different.

On the point of order I would remark that in the case of the Army and Navy the items arc all under one official head. In the case we have before us there are many official heads of Departments.

I think the House will wish to follow the same procedure as it does in the case of Votes on Account. The question there is put in one lump sum. and the, question in this case is put in one lump sum. In both cases the Votes are divided into a number of items. Of course I shall endeavour, as far as I possibly can, to call hon. Members who wish to address the Committee in the order in which the items come.

As you have cited the. question of a Vote on Account, I desire to ask whether the effect of moving a reduction with regard to an item low-down in the list would be to exclude the moving of a reduction with regard to an item higher up in the list, and whether it is not entirely open to you to call Members who wish to speak, if you see fit, without regard to the exact order in which the Votes are taken.

I shall make a point of endeavouring to call hon. Members in the order in which the items come, because I bear in mind the rule of the House that if an item low in the list is taken it is impossible to go hack to a former one.

The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the question of my right hon. friend in regard to the possibility of having successive divisions upon what are really separate Votes although now lumped together in one Vote. Would it be possible to have a series of discussions and divisions on the items as they occur?