HC Deb 04 March 1836 vol 31 cc1221-3
Mr. Barlow Hoy,

on the Order of the day being moved for the House resolving itself into a Committee of Supply, rose, pursuant to notice, to call their attention to the want of success which had attended the new plan for dividing, by sending the Members into different lobbies at opposite ends of the House. Under the new prac- tice a division had taken fifteen minutes, although there were only sixty-three members at one side, whereas, under the old practice, he had known a division disposed' of in three minutes, when the numbers were 134 on one side, and fifty on the other. In another case only four minutes were occupied with a division in which the numbers were 198 and fifteen. Taking the average sittings of the House at eight hours a-day, he had calculated that the waste of time consequent upon taking divisions under the new plan would in a session of six months consume a whole week. He could not conclude without adverting to one other division which occupied twenty-seven minutes; it was true that on that occasion there were 400 Members in the House. The hon. Member moved "that the practice of taking divisions of the House in two lobbies be discontinued."

Mr. Ward

did not consider the subject so much a matter of life and death, as that the proceedings of the House should be stopped on the question of going into a Committee of Supply for the purpose of considering and disposing of such a motion. It would be most extraordinary indeed if they were to rescind such a resolution as that after only a fortnight's trial—which certainly could not be considered a fair trial. He was ready to acknowledge, that if the publicity of divisions could not be obtained without such an expenditure of the public time as that which the hon. Member opposite described, the idea had much better be abandoned, but he entreated that the plan should' first be fairly tried, at all events.

Mr. Warburton

was opposed to a return to the old system which was one of doubt confusion, and obscurity, and he should certainly vote against the motion.

Lord John Russell

admitted, that great difficulties lay in the way of taking divisions, and that considerable errors had occurred even under the new system; yet, at the same time, that system had worked much better than he had expected, and he thought the House was bound to give it a longer trial.

Mr. Barlow Hoy

replied, he was the advocate for publicity in the fullest extent; but as the House seemed to entertain the opinion that the new plan had not received a fair trial, he would, with the permission of the House, withdraw his motion for the present, and bring it forward again in a few weeks.

Mr. Ward

submitted, that as the motion had been brought forward, the House was bound to pronounce an opinion upon it one way or other.

Mr. Rice

said, he must remind hon. Members that by voting now against the motion, they would not be precluded from taking the matter again into consideration at a future period.

Sir Robert Peel

could not concur in thinking that the House was bound to pronounce an opinion upon a motion after the hon. Member who had brought it forward expressed a desire to withdraw it.

Lord John Russell

was on principle most decidedly opposed to the motion being withdrawn. He strongly objected to the practice of hon. Members bringing forward motions on all kinds of subjects when the House was about to resolve itself into a Committee of Supply- He wished to limit this practice as much as possible, and on these grounds he objected to the motion being withdrawn.

The motion was put and negatived.

The question was again put that the House resolve itself into a Committee of Supply.

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