HC Deb 29 January 1817 vol 35 cc99-100
Mr. Wynn

rose to call the attention of the House to a subject which he conceived was extremely worthy of their notice, namely, the alteration of the usual form of proceeding, and the accommodation supplied to the managers of the House of Commons in their conferences with the Lords. He understood, from ancient usage, that, on a conference of the two Houses, they met in the painted chamber, where the Lords sat on one side, covered, and the Commons stood on the other side uncovered; but yesterday he observed, for the first time, that the seats of the Lords were elevated, there was no table in the room, and the managers of the Commons were placed outside the bar. This alteration of the usual form certainly required some explanation, more particularly as the House had yesterday thought proper to notice, that it was contrary to custom for the Lords to send a message to the Commons by their clerk-assistant. He had no reason to believe that the Lords intended any disrespect to the managers of the Commons on this occasion; but that the want of the usual accommodation must have arisen from some mismanagement in the board of works. He had thought it his duty, however, to mention this occurrence to the House, in order that the Commons might not be deprived of their undoubted privileges.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

should be one of the first to resent any departure from the respect due to the managers of the Commons. But the suddenness of the occasion appeared to him the probable cause of the alteration of which the hon. member complained.

The Speaker

observed, that the House was very properly jealous of its privileges, especially in its intercourse with the other House. It was now 159 years since the forms of conferences between the two Houses had been settled as they now stood, and he thought it would be proper to send a message to the Lords, to desire to have the same accommodations afforded as before. If any member would propose a motion of that nature, it could not fail to prove welcome.

Mr. W. Smith

stated, that there was not the slightest degree of ill humour in the gentlemen of the Commons during the conference. Had there been there were other grounds of complaint which might have been brought forward. He had seen some of the highest officers of state among his majesty's ministers kept waiting for a considerable time, before any of the lords made their appearance.

Mr. Wynn

thought that it would have been the duty of the managers on the part of the Commons to have retired immediately when they found that they had to wait, had not the importance of the subject detained them. He concluded by expressing his intention to propose a motion of the nature suggested by the Speaker.

Lord Stanley

said, he was in the House of Lords at the time when the conference was demanded. No sooner had their lordships heard that the Commons were in attendance than they immediately went out to meet them. The messengers would also have been sent much earlier to the Commons, had not the Lords waited in the hope of getting a master in chancery.