asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has now considered the Motion standing on the Paper in the names of the hon. Member for Twickenham and others; and if he can give a day for its discussion—"That this House views with grave concern the present state of India, and urges upon His Majesty's Government to take immediate steps to re-establish law and order in that country."
Yes, Sir. As I said on Monday last, we have carefully considered the Motion, but it- is not possible for me to find a day for the Motion within the limits of the present sittings of the House, and I am bound to say that in the opinion of His Majesty's Government the present moment is not opportune for such a discussion. I understand there is general agreement to bring the business of the House to a close not later than seven o'clock to-morrow evening. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I have been led to understand that there is general agreement as to the proposal of the Government to bring our business to an end by then. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!" and "There is to be another Session of this House!"] I should perhaps add that, even if there were time, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, the moment is not opportune for such a discussion.
May I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware—I am sure he is—of the very grave anxiety felt by many Members of this House in regard to this matter, as there has been no Debate on Indian affairs this year, and will he give us an undertaking that the Indian Vote, the salary of the Secretary for India shall be set down as early as possible next Session so that we may have an early Debate?
Yes, Sir. Of course I am reluctant to give such an undertaking in regard to the programme of a Session of Parliament which has not begun. I recognise, however, the full force of what my right hon. Friend has said. Since the salary of the Secretary for India was placed upon the Votes of the House in order that the House might discuss the matter, the House has had no opportunity so to do. I think, however, my hon. Friend has made out a good case for putting the Vote down at an early date, so that the earliest possible opportunity may be given next Session.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say why this House is never allowed to discuss a question of vast importance like this, whereas in past years the House of Commons has always been given the opportunity of discussing Indian affairs, and especially when there has been a grave state of unrest?