HC Deb 22 March 1847 vol 91 cc271-3

wished to ask the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests a question which appeared to him very important, not only to that House, but to the country. That House was required to attend Her Majesty whenever summoned; and it was most desirous that the Speaker of the House should go up to the House of Lords with that decorum consistent with the high character which should attend every proceeding of that House. He might refer to past periods, not very far distant, when the House proceeded to the House of Lords, when summoned, in a way consistent with the high character which the House should maintain; but now the personal safety of hon. Members, especially as regarded their coats, was altogether neglected; for he had seen several injured in their progress to the Upper House. He did not allude to any part of the Speaker's habiliments; but it was perfectly well known that the House was greatly inconvenienced, and great risk attended those who accompanied the Speaker. It became then a matter of great importance that that House should meet with decent attention when summoned to the other House. He had put a question to the noble Lord at the head of the Woods and Forests on this subject on a former occasion, and since then he had been to see what accommodation would be afforded at the bar and in the gallery to the Members of that House wishing to be present at the debates in the other House. Taking the whole space under the bar, which was to be occupied by the Speaker and that House when summoned to the other, it would not hold one tithe of the number of Members; and he asked if they were to submit to be placed in such straitened circumstances? They must come to one of two conclusions—either not to go at all, or to appoint a certain limited number to go; but, if a certain number went, they must be appointed by ballot, and that was an objectionable course for such a purpose; but one of these courses would be necessary, as the compartment could not contain more than twenty-two without considerable pressure. Mr. Barry admitted that the limits were narrow, and said that there was not much room at the bar, but then the gallery would afford sufficient accommodation. The gallery certainly might afford accommodation to those who wished to attend the debates in the other House; but he objected that the Commons of England, when summoned to the other House to attend Her Majesty, or for other purposes, had not proper accommodation below the bar. He considered it to be a just ground of complaint, that, after so much expense on this building, and after so long a delay, the place was not calculated to accommodate more than thirty Members. He thought that this was a matter of serious consequence; and he trusted that some steps would be taken to remedy the inconvenience, and that provision would be made in time for that purpose. This was a serious ground of complaint; and the persons who had neglected to provide proper accommodation for that House should be called to account. He, therefore, put the question to Her Majesty's Government, in the hope of getting a satisfactory explanation.


wished, before the noble Lord replied, to put another question to him, which was connected with this subject. In the present House of Lords there was a gallery appropriated to Members of that House, but strangers were constantly being placed in it. He wished to ask the noble Lord, whether, in the place intended for Members of that House in the House of Lords, provision should not be made to keep it exclusively for Members?


had mentioned on a former occasion, that the accommodation to Members of the House of Commons would be on the same footing as at present; but it was on a larger scale in the New House. It was impossible to look for such a space before the bar of the House of Lords as would accommodate all the Members of that House, nor did he think that it would be advisable to attempt to provide it. It should be remembered that the new House was a room for the transaction of business, and must not be of an incon- venient size. With respect to the question of the hon. and gallant Member for Carlow, he thought that it was a very proper question; and while the Members of that House had access to the bar of the other House, they should be separated from strangers. Besides the space below the bar, there would be a gallery provided with seats; and in the course to be pursued by the other House, he was sure that the House of Lords would show every complaisance to that House.


thought that there should be a Committee appointed to superintend its arrangements, and that the Members should not appear there like a rabble, altogether inconsistent with the dignity of the House.