Hide Articles List

16 articles on this Page

[No title]

[No title]












[No title]

[No title]



and yet there were lengthy speeches ^.e home and foreign policy Ministers, their policy with regard tO Ireland, and a large number of extraneous issues. With regard to the second—a subject of which the whole country is now pretty well eaned-the elected of Northampton Is where he was at the commencement of the session, and we hope very little J^ore of the time of the House of Emmons will be devoted to him. As to the third, it has produced a very un- pleasant antagonism between the two houses; it has consumed iour nights allotted to the Government; and not- withstanding the censure by one house 'Of another-for censure.there has un- doubtedly been-the House of Lords has not only been stopped in its pro- ceding with its inquiry, but it is now evident that a good deal more dis- cussion on the Irish Land Act has afready sprung, and will yet spring Out of the action which their Lord- ships have taken. A remarkable fact in connection Wit. the slow progress of public business is that nothing has yet been done in respect to the Ministerial scheme for facilitating that business, ^he lengthy discussiors to which we have referred have prevented Ministers bringing forward their proposed rules of procedure. Monday, the 20th, has been talked of as the day for commenc- Ing this discussion but even this late Period is doubtful, as the Army and ^avy Estimates, and other Ministerial financial arrangements will have Previously to be disposed of, and Meanwhile as to practical legislation little or nothing has been done. This lanientable delay of public business need not to be looked at from a party Point of view, and, on the contrary, it IS a state of affairs which both the great political parties should unite to obviate. It must be admitted, however, that this condition of parlia- mentary business is in itself a strong argument in favour of some alteration with regard to the rules of procedure, and when the debate comes on, Minis- ters will be able, in taking a retrospect of the session thus far, to employ an Unexpected argument to enforce their views It is now pretty generally agreed on both sides of the house that cc something must be done," and the point of difference is what that "some- thing should be. It is understood that theConservativeswill sternly oppose the Cloture by an absolute majority, and it is well known that even some Liberals are opposed to it, so that it is not at all improbable that the Govern- ment may express their willingness to make some modification in this respect. We have no wish, however, to attempt to anticipate the course which this debate will take, and will only add on this subject that this debate will assuredly be a protracted one, but that the time will not be wasted if some arrangements can be arrived at for facilitating the progress of parliamentary business for the future. In connection with these proposals, however, there is one reform which would be an immense boon to the public. A large proportion of the business of the House of Commons is of a private nature-dealing with railways, canals, highways, and so on -which might be better disposed of by commitees, the house subsequently ratifying their decisions. There is yet another reform which was some time ago aimed at by Mr Edward Clarke Q.C., who proposed that bills which, had passed their second reading in the House of Commons might be rele- gated to the next session of the same Parliament, and then be taken up at the committee stage. This would very materially advance the progress of public business. At present a great part of the time of one house, and sometimes of the two houses, is thus absolutely thrown away, and all the work has to be done over again. The main argument against Mr Clarke's proposition was that it would be un- advisable to entertain it while the whole subject of procedure was await- ing consideration, and it must be confessed there was great force I.ln the objection. It is to be hoped, however, that sooner or later this idea may be carried out. The House of Commons, under the whole existing system of procedure, is evidently unequal to its work, and it is advisable that all un- necessary delays should be removed.