HC Deb 08 July 1831 vol 4 cc999-1000
Mr. Hume

said, before they proceeded further, he wished the House would come to some understanding relative to their meetings on Mondays. He had had his name down several days, sometimes fifth, sometimes sixth, for the purpose of presenting petitions, but before he was called on, the hour for proceeding with public business arrived, and he had no opportunity to present them. There was but one quarter of an hour for that purpose by the present arrangements, and if there was no alteration made, he must refuse to receive any more petitions, and make his determination public.

Mr. O'Connell

thought the public business ought not to begin before six o'clock, which would allow an hour and a quarter for the presentation of petitions. He had more than fifty which he had found no opportunity of presenting.

Lord Althorp

had no objection to this arrangement, if Gentlemen were disposed to sit till one o'clock on Supply nights.

Mr. Goulburn

thought the noble Lord's proposal very fair.

Sir James Graham

conceived it would be beneficial to the public service if such an arrangement was made. There was considerable difficulty in conducting the business of the public departments, from the chiefs of them, who had seats in Parliament, being obliged to attend at so early an hour.

Mr. Hume

could not agree to its being made a rule, that the Committee of Supply should sit until one o'clock, although it might be allowed as a matter of convenience.

Sir James Graham

said, it must, of course, be a mere understanding, and could not be laid down as a rule—but such an arrangement would be advantageous to the public business.

Mr. Goulburn

confirmed the statement of the right hon. Baronet. The necessity imposed upon Ministers of coming down to the House so early, obliged them to neglect the business of their offices. This had been felt by every member of the Government to which he had belonged when the House sat so early as three o'clock.

Mr. Hudson Gurney

said, if some hon. Gentlemen had fifty petitions to present, and occupied the House two hours in debate upon each, he knew not how the public business was to be carried on. The only arrangement he could suggest was, to give the Orders of the Day precedence to petitions.

Mr. Benett

said, the House must afford Members an opportunity of presenting petitions and speaking on them. There were many Members who could have no other opportunity of speaking in the House.