HC Deb 22 February 1842 vol 60 cc806-9
Mr. Pendarves

moved, that leave of absence be given to Major Vivian, on account of "urgent private business."

Sir R. Peel

thought the reason given rather vague and indefinite. At the time when the election committees were about to sit, something more ought to be stated than urgent private business.

An Hon. Member

having remarked that the illness of a member of the family was one reason.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Hutt

then moved "Leave of absence to Mr. Granger, going the circuit."[Loud cries of "No, no."}

The Speaker

decided that the noes had it.

Mr. Jervis

was about to make some observation, when he was called to order, and

The Speaker

said, the hon, and learned Gentleman must be aware that there was no question before the House.

Mr. W. Patten

moved that leave of absence be granted to Sir Hesketh Fleetwood, on the ground of ill health.

Mr, C. Buller

wished to call the attention of the House to the hardship of refusing leave of absence to Mr. Granger. Although he did not advocate the absence of any Gentleman on account of professional business on circuit, he thought it must be the object of the House to make the attendance on its duties as convenient to the lawyers as they could —to lawyers as well as other hon. Members of the House. When the question arose, last Session, for granting leave of absence in a similar case, this suggestion was made; that as it was in the power of the general committee of elections to place different Members upon different committees, as the matter was not now settled by ballot, and their personal attendance was not required, the practical course would be, that if it was known a number of Gentlemen were going circuit, not to let them miss their turn altogether, but place them on those lists which would not be called on during the continuance of the circuits. That rule was founded in common sense, and one which the House ought to be ready to adopt on the present occasion. The northern circuit would begin on Wednesday, and counsel must go down; and as the lists were not made out, they could not tell to which they might belong. If the convenience of the lawyers was to be consulted, they ought to be placed on those lists which would not interfere with their circuits.

Mr. Jervis

believed he was now perfectly in order in making a few remark. He admitted, that he had some interest in the matter, but that was no reason why he should not express his opinion on the subject. During the last Session the matter was discussed and decided by a vote of the House, and ought not to be disposed of in a summary manner now, unless the circumstances were different. He did not see what inconvenience could result from giving leave of absence to Mr. Granger and some few other Gentlemen. Barristers certainly could not be excused from being put on the panel; but the committee had the power of substituting other Members and reserving them for a future occasion.

Sir G. Grey

said, if leave of absence Gentleman must be aware that there was should be refused to barristers by the House, the general committee would be troubled with applications from York, Lancaster, and other places on the circuit, by hon. Members, who would throw themselves on the consideration of the committee. If Gentlemen were bona fide going on circuit, it would be much better to give them leave, and place their names on another panel after their return.

Mr. Murphy

trusted he should not be considered indelicate in first appearing before the House in a matter affecting his own interests. But this subject also affected the interests of a great number of other hon. Members. If their object was to escape the duty of attending the committees altogether, the case would be very different; but as no inconvenience could arise to the House, he trusted the indulgence would be granted.

Lord Mahon

thought the application on the present occasion perfectly just and reasonable. The indulgence now claimed was granted to hon. Members during the last Session, and surely some reason ought to be given for departing from that decision.

Lord G. Somerset

said, it was not possible for the committee to make the selection until the commencement of the ensuing week, and in a few days afterwards they would be able to select the panels. He, therefore, suggested that leave should not be given until after the appointment of the chairman's panel, and until after the general panels should be appointed. This certainly could not give much inconvenience to hon. and learned Gentlemen, and it was certainly his wish to give them every possible facility consistent with their duties to the House.

Lord J. Russell

thought the House was generally agreed as to the object they should have in view. There was, in the first place, a desire not to give an undue exemption to Members of the learned profession from the duties to be performed in election committees, and concurring in that opinion he joined in opposing the indulgence on the grounds which had been stated; but he concurred in the opinion that every accommodation which could be given to the members of the learned profession, which was not inconsistent with the performance of their duties, ought to he granted. It was certainly of the utmost importance to Members of that profession to be excused from attending, if they were debarred from attending. Such being the case, he thought, as to the particular mode in which the object should be carried into effect, that it had better be considered by the different Members of the general committee. His hon. Friend near him thought that the most convenient mode was to grant leave of absence, and afterwards, in arranging the panel, specify the names of those Members who should not be called on to serve immediately. The noble Lord was of a different opinion —viz., that the members of the committee should consider the most convenient mode in which the object could be effected. Whilst the House was agreed as to what the object should be, he thought the members of the learned profession might rest assured that, whilst the House did not mean to give them particular exemption from the duties of election committees, it was incumbent on the House not only to consider their interest, but the interests which might be committed to their care.

Leave given to Sir Hesketh Fleetwood.