HC Deb 21 November 1837 vol 39 cc121-4
Sir Eardley Wilmot

wished to call the attention of the House to the want of accommodation for the Members of the House of Commons in the House of Lords. He was ready to admit that the presence of the Members of that House in the other House was a matter of permission, not of right, but having had that permission for some time, and having lately met with great difficulties and inconveniences in going into the other House, he wished, if possible, to remedy the evil. It would be recollected, that in the former House of Lords, the Members of this House were accommodated both behind the throne, and below the bar of the House. The accommodation near the throne was taken away, but that he did not complain of; what he complained of was that which happened to himself and others who might have a wish to go into the House of Lords, that they could neither get within sight or hearing of their Lordships, the space at the bar being constantly filled by strangers, chiefly parliamentary agents. This House did every thing in its power to accommodate the House of Lords, and that House ought in return to do something to prevent the inconveniences which Members of this House experienced when they went to the other House. He had a motion on the order-book on this subject, but it was suggested to him that some means might occur to the Speaker by which a communication might be made to the other house which would render the motion unnecessary. If such communication were made and not attended to, he would certainly make a motion by which he would endeavour to put the two Houses on an equal footing as to convenience; and if the other House refused to afford convenience, he would use his privilege as a Member of this House to object to convenience being afforded to the members of the other House. He would ask the Speaker whether he thought the subject could be settled without making any specific motion.

The Speaker

said, that the hon. Baronet must be aware that this was a matter in which the House of Commons had no positive right to interfere. It was a matter which entirely reted with the courtesy of the other house. Whether the other House would be inclined to afford additional accommodation upon a communication being made to them, was a matte which must rest entirely with themselves. The House might, if it thought proper, deprive the other House of the accommodation now afforded them; but that would be an extreme case. This House could have no control in the matter referred to by the hon. Baronet.

Mr. Williams Wynn

said, that the House must be aware that they stood in rather a peculiar situation, inasmuch as they had turned the House of Lords out of the House in which they used to assemble. They should recollect that the present House of Lords was a much smaller House, and the question really was, whether the House of Lords had it in their power to afford other accommodation than that now afforded. If they had the means, he had not the least doubt but that they had the wish to do so.

Mr. Wakley

was glad the subject had been noticed, as he thought the arrangements in both Houses were very different. He did not see why any difference should exist in the nature of the accommodation afforded by one House to the other. If Members of this House went to the House of Lords to gratify their curiosity, no seat was provided for them, they were under the necessity of standing at the bar, and frequently the number of strangers were so great that the Members of this House had no opportunity of seeing or hearing. Again if they took bills to the other House eight members must go and present them, whereas, if they came from the other House, they were sent by a messenger. This was done, not from any old custom, but in conformity with the written rules of the other House. Again, in conferences—

The Speaker

called the hon. Member to order. There was no question before the House.

Sir E. Wilmot

said, his motion, if he had made one, had nothing to do with the subjects referred to by the hon. Member for Finsbury. The only object he had in view was to afford convenience to the Members of this House attending the other House as other strangers. He was very loth to make his motion, because he was informed from good authority that, after what had been said here last night, it was very possible that something would be done for the convenience of the Members of the House of Commons. This being the case, he was only anxious to give publicity to the feelings of the House, in order that their convenience might be consulted. He did not think it necessary at present to bring the matter before the House.

Subject dropped.