HC Deb 12 February 1839 vol 45 cc348-50
Mr. Brotherton

rose to move, "that it is desirable that no new business should be brought on, likely to create debate, after twelve o'clock at night, except under urgent circumstances." It was fortunate for him, that he could bring on this motion, it being five minutes to twelve, without violating the principle he wished to lay down. His object was to ascertain, by the feeling of the House, whether he was likely to be supported in his objections against mid- night legislation? To general opposition to his views he should feel bound to submit, although he had long entertained a hope of breaking up a system that was injurious alike to the health of Members and the real service of the public. If his motion were negatived by anything like an unanimous vote, he might feel inclined to save himself from the personal inconvenience of moving adjournments of the House night after night; but not otherwise. To continue the practice was, in his opinion, most unwise, as well as unjust; for after midnight the House might be said to be sitting with closed doors—the reporters worn out, and the Members sleeping about on the benches and; it was only in the Legislative Assemblies of this country that midnight laws-making was attempted to be defended. On these grounds, and on others, which he would not detain the House to consider, he moved for leave to bring in the Bill.

Sir E. Codrington

supported the motion. On an occasion of his wishing to oppose the passing of a Bill, which was to him an exceedingly obnoxious one, he had attended the House four or five days until two o'clock in the morning; and on the last day, or rather night, he was assured there was no chance of the Bill being passed; and yet, on the following day, he learnt, to his great surprise, that it had been read a third time and passed at half-past two in the morning.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, he thought the matter ought to be left to the discretion of the House. At all events, it was quite useless to pass such a resolution as this, as to which there would be a dispute every time it was attempted to be enforced. For instance, as to the words "urgent business," there would always be a discussion on that question; and so with regard to the words "likely to create a debate." There would be always a debate of half an hour to decide whether the subject was "likely to create a debate" or not.

Viscount Dungannon

concurred with the last speaker, that the adoption of the motion would lead to endless disputes. Every Member would naturally consider his own measure to be of urgent necessity, and universal exceptions would entirely put aside the rule. The effort would be found to be futile and useless.

Mr. Brotherton

would take the opinion of the House, as a means of, in some measure, deciding his future conduct. He had net the slightest objection to amend his motion if the principle were retained. Having met the constant opposition of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Dungannon), he was prepared still to expect it; but by that, nor by any other individual opposition, he would not be guided, unless it were sustained by the general opinion of the House. He should, therefore, press for a division.

The House divided—Ayes 19; Noes 26:—Majority 7.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Salwey, Colonel
Aglionby, Major Scholefield, Joshua
Brocklehurst, John Sharpe, General
Duke, Sir James Sinclair, Sir George
Dundas, C. W. D. Style, Sir Charles
Finch, Francis Talfourd, Mr. Serj.
Gibson, Thos. Milner Vigors, Nicholas
Gillon, Will Downe Warburton, Henry
Hector, Cornthwaite
Hume, Joseph TELLERS.
Jackson, Mr. Serjeant Brotherton, J.
Morris, David Codrington, Admiral
List of the NOES.
Baring, F. Thornhill Lockhart, Alex. M.
Blewit, Reginald J. Morpeth, Lord Vict.
Clerk, Sir George Murray, rt. hon. J.
Dungannon, Lord Norreys, Sir Denham
Ferguson, Sir Rob. A. Perceval, Colonel
Gladstone, W. E. Pringle, Alexander
Grant, F. W. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Grimsditch, Thomas Shaw, rt. hon. Fred.
Hastie, Archibald Sibthorp, Colonel
Hodgson, Richard Wallace, Robert
Holmes, William Worsley, Lord
Hope, hon. Charles
Hope, Geo. W. TELLERS.
Inglis, Sir Robert Maule, hon. Fox.
Jervis, John Steuart, Robert