HC Deb 16 July 1835 vol 29 cc634-5
Lord John Russell

said, that it had been agreed on Tuesday night, that the Select Committee upon the Petitions relating to the city of York and borough of Yarmouth should be appointed to day. He had been asked both by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Wason) and the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) to propose the Members of the Committee: he had replied that the duty was unpleasant, and that he had undertaken it unwillingly in the Ipswich case, but he did not on that account intend to decline it. In selecting the names, he had thought it better not to be guided by the suggestion of the hon. Member for Ipswich, but to adhere to the rule he had laid down to himself in the Ipswich case,—namely, that of appointing Members who had taken no active part in the discussion. He could not concur with the hon. Member for Ipswich that the Members connected with York and Yarmouth ought to form part of the Committee; but he was inclined to agree with his noble Friend, the Member for Liverpool (Lord Sandon) that such individuals would be open to suspicion, and could not so well resist influence and solicitation. He intended that the number should be more limited than in the Ipswich case, and that the Committee should consist of only nine, instead of eleven. He hoped that the individuals selected would enter into a regulation to attend punctually upon the inquiry from day to day; but at the same time it would be necessary to fix a limit for the quorum, which, he suggested, should not be less than three. He intended also to move, in order to secure a strict attendance, that should a Member of the Committee be absent for two consecutive days, his name should be reported to the House, that another might be substituted, and he discharged from further duty. Hitherto, he thought that too loose a method of proceeding had been usually adopted with regard to Select Committees. Many Members were sometimes named—perhaps twenty-five or thirty—when only three, four, or five attended. This was a practice it was expedient to check as much as possible on all occasions, but especially on the present, when it was essential that the Members appointed to inquire should be daily present.

The Committee was appointed.