HC Deb 14 April 1837 vol 37 cc1208-9
Sir R. Peel

believed the time was fast approaching when the House, by the general consent of all parties, would make some great improvement in the manner of conducting the public business. He did not impute blame to any one; but discussions had been allowed to proceed to such a length, and they had got into such a habit of adjourned debates, that nobody could feel sure when a question, even of the greatest importance, would be brought under consideration. Like the horse, of whom it was said, that it was easy to bring him to the water, but that it was not easy to make him drink, it was easy for an hon. Member to bring in a Bill, but it was not easy for him to force the House to come to a satisfactory conclusion with it. All parties ought to wait and to direct their undivided attention to the remedy of this evil. At present, the discussion of one subject was immediately followed by the discussion of another. A month perhaps intervened before the discussion of the first subject was resumed; by that time all the arguments that had been urged were forgotten, and it became necessary to repeat them. It would be highly satisfactory to the subject if some better arrangement could be made; if, for instance, they were to select two or three of the most important and pressing Bills, and perfect them before proceeding with any other. Such a course would be much more satisfactory to all concerned, than the manner in which the business was now done.

Mr. Roebuck

said, if the leading Members of the parties in that House were to make their speeches before ten o'clock, it would be found to have a beneficial effect. At present, the House was nearly emptied from soon after five o'clock until that hour, as it was well understood that no great gun would go off before ten o'clock. If it were understood that all the artillery of a debate would be discharged a little before that hour, the House would not be so deserted, nor would its time be so much wasted.

Sir R. Peel

was quite sure that all those who were expected to take up a subject, after every argument had been exhausted, would heartily concur in the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. It was a most harassing task for any one to get up after a three nights' debate, and address the House after all had been said upon the question that it was possible to advance.

Subject dropped.

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