(by Private Notice) asked the Leader of the House whether he is aware that the Local Government and other Officers' Superannuation Bill has now passed through all its stages in both Houses, except for some formal drafting Amendments which have been made in another place and which have to be considered by this House, and whether, in these circumstances, he is prepared to give time for the final stage of this Bill this Session, so that it may become law before the House adjourns?
Very strong representations have been made to me, not only in regard to the Local Government and other Officers' Superannuation Bill, but also on the subject of the Ecclesiastical Tithe Rentcharges (Rates) Bill. I am placed in some difficulty, which the House will see, because I have made a statement to the House, and I am very anxious to keep, in the spirit, at any rate, all such statements as to business. In my statement on the 25th July with regard to business, I definitely stated that the Government could not afford facilities for private Members' Bills during the remainder of this portion of the Session, reserving the question of the Autumn Session for a later decision; and I have, naturally, hesitated to comply with these urgent requests. I think, how ever, that the House will agree that these two Bills stand in a different position from all the other private Members' Bills as they have passed through all their stages in this House, and only require consideration of the Lords Amendments
As regards the Bill mentioned by the hon. and gallant Gentleman, I have satisfied myself, as far as I can, by inquiry through the usual channels, that there is agreement as to the treatment of the Lords Amendments, and that no controversy will arise. I do not mean that there will be agreement with the Amendments made in another place, but that there will be agreement in this House as to the proper method of treating the Amendments made in another place. I believed, until a few minutes ago, that the same thing applied to the other Bill which I have mentioned, but within the last few minutes I have seen reason to doubt whether that is so, and I cannot, therefore, speak with confidence; but if agreement is reached, among those interested, in time, and if it, proves to be the case that no controversy arises in this House on either of these Bills, then I should propose to give an opportunity for their consideration to-morrow night: but it can only be on the clear understanding that no controversy arises, and that no objection is taken to this variation from the programme which I announced to the House the other day, and by which I am boned if any hon. Member, or any section of opinion in the House, desires to hold me to it.
With regard to the Ecclesiastical Tithe Rent-charges (Rates) Bill, if it can be passed without controversy, so much the better, but I have not had an opportunity of fully considering what the Lords Amendments really mean, and it is all subject to that consideration.
Most certainly. What I understood was that those in charge of the Bill in this House thought that many of the Amendments—controversial Amendments introduced in the other House—were wrongly imported into the Bill and could not be sustained, and that they themselves would either move or agree in their rejection, and that, therefore, controversy would arise; but I shall not take either Bill if I have any indication that the House thinks that it is a breach of faith with it, or if I have any indication that controversy will be aroused by them.