HC Deb 22 June 1836 vol 34 cc705-7
Mr. Wason

was desirous of drawing the attention of the House to a resolution which had been agreed to last night on the motion of the hon. Member for Middlesex, to this effect:—That the Committee on the Bill do again re-assemble, for the purpose of reporting to the House specially the preamble of the Bill, and the evidence and reasons in detail on which the resolution, "that the preamble had not been proved," was adopted, the House considering as contrary to the practice of Parliament, the resolutions of the Committee last reported," that the reasons upon which the Committee came to the resolution that the preamble had not been proved," can only apply to those Members who voted on that proposition. He thought that the Committee had great reason to complain that such a resolution should have passed the House, without proper notice having been given, which would have enabled the Committee to ex plain some circumstances which, left unexplained had a direct tendency to imply censure on them. He said the proceeding adopted towards this Committee was unprecedented. The only case at all bearing on it, for he had examined for precedents, was in the 66th volume of the Journals, in which notice was taken of the irregu- larity with which a Report had been furnished, and the course adopted was, to negative the Bill. He asserted that a Committee of that House had a right to pass any resolution it thought proper, so that it did not reflect on any Member of the Committee. He concluded by calling on the hon. Member to withdraw the re solution until the parties had sufficient notice, or else he should be under the necessity of moving that the motion be rescinded.

The Speaker

This involves a question, which relates to the order of proceedings in this House. Here is a resolution brought up from a Committee, in terms which distinctly go to establish the principle, that only a portion of that Committee are to decide upon a point at issue. Such being the case, the Committee were directed by the House to re-assemble, (the attention of the House having been drawn to the circumstance,) in order that, when, they should re assemble, they might rescind a proceeding for which, as the hon. Gentleman has stated, there is no precedent whatever, because the Committee took upon itself to do that which it had no power to do. Such, I am sure, will be the opinion of the House. I merely wish to say, that what the House clearly has to do is, to take care that the Committee do re-assemble, in order that they may strictly adhere to the rules and regulations of the House, they being under the direction of the House. If the Committees of this House had the power to limit their own powers, which they have not, the case would stand in a different light. This right not being vested in them, on what ground can a portion of a Committee act independently of the other, so far as to exclude the other portion? Here is a list fixed by the House, to whom this Bill is referred, and I am confident this House will never sanction any such proceeding as that of a Committee coming to a resolution that a portion only of that Committee shall vote upon a question which has been referred back to them. Upon the face of the Report last made, there is an evident irregularity. If any regulations are to be imposed upon a Committee, other than those already established by the House, it can only be done by the House itself, not by any portion or division of the House.

Mr. Wason

said, that the resolution did not bear out the construction put upon it by the House. The inferences drawn were not quite correct.

Mr. Hume

begged the attention of the House while he read the order, from which would be seen the force of the judicious observations which had fallen from the Chair. The hon. Member stated the proceedings in the Committee, and argued from them that the motion which he had made was the most proper course to pursue, as it afforded the Committee an opportunity for giving the reasons which induced them to adopt the resolution in the form in which it was submitted to the House.

Sir James Graham

thought that what had been complained of most was, that a resolution should have passed that House which hon. Members conceived implied censure on them, without sufficient notice having been given to those more immediately interested.

Mr. Hume

did give notice, but the motion was omitted for one day to be put on the orders. However, as his hon. Friend had complained of not being sufficiently informed of his (Mr. Hume's) intention to move for the re-assembling of the Committee, he should not persevere in insisting on the motion, but would consent that it be postponed until to-morrow, if his hon. Friend thought he would gain anything by occupying the time of the House further with it.

The order for the re-assembling of the Committee was discharged.

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