10 AUGUST 1907, Page 2

Monday's proceedings in the Commons were occupied chiefly with the

discussion of the Premier's proposal to conclude the Report stage of the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill in three allotted days. The Premier justified this drastic resort to the method of closure by compartments on the ground that the Bill had been about three months before the Standing Committee, and twenty-two days had been absorbed by its discussion. Mr. Balfour, in a vigorous speech, condemned the proposal. The Committee—in which the closure had been asked for fifty-three and obtained fifty times—could in no sense be regarded as a reflection of the will, intelligenCe, and critical power of the House. Mr. Asquith defended the use of the guillotine as "a temporary palliative for the evils of our present Parliamentary system," and held that Mr. Balfour should be the last person to complain of its use. In the sub- sequent debate Mr. Munro Ferguson from the Liberal benches supported the demand for a more liberal allowance of time for the Report stage. The Bill had been freely olosured in Com- mittee; it was unpractical and revolutionary; it was the result of no inquiry, and there was no precedent for its main provisions. The nationalisation of land was a comparatively mild measure compared with the proposals put forward in the Bill. Mr. Lambton, Mr. Mitchell Thomson, and Mr. Long followed with damaging criticism of the proceedings in Com- mittee, and Mr. Sinclair repeated the stock arguments in favour of the Bill. Amendments, proposed by Mr. L. Hardy and Lord R. Cecil, to limit the application of the closure having been rejected, the Prime Minister's motion was carried by 176 to 53, or a majority of 123.