HC Deb 26 March 1847 vol 91 cc537-40

House in a Committee of Supply.

On the Question that 50,000l. be granted towards defraying the expenses of the New Houses of Parliament,


observed, that while they were voting away millions in order to accommodate Parliament, their own House appeared to be entirely forgotten. The accommodation at present provided for Members of the House of Commons was wholly inadequate. He viewed with great regret (though probably his taste might be in fault) the style of the New Houses of Parliament. He did not approve of the ephemeral gaudy appearance which they now presented; and he had hoped they would have had a House, without the frippery, but exhibiting all the taste of the period of Louis Quatorze. There appeared, as far as he could understand, to be no proper estimates prepared as to the expense of the whole construction; neither did there appear to be any responsible person in control of the works. Was Mr. Parry the only responsible person? or if not, who was? He would be glad to hear from the noble Lord the Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests, who the responsible person was; whether any definite estimates had been made of the expense of completion; and whether there was to be any fitting accommodation prepared in the House of Lords for the Members of that House? He would object to vote the money required until he obtained answers to those questions.


said, that with respect to the distribution of space in the interior of the House of Lords he could not assume the responsibility, as he believed the distribution of space in both Houses was arranged under the supervision of Committees of both Houses appointed for the purpose. So far from there being less space in the new House of Peers for the Members of that House, he was informed the area below the bar in the old House, which was of ample dimensions, was 604 superficial feet, and in the new House 950 superficial feet, being an increase of nearly 300 feet. In addition to this accommodation, there would be, what did not exist before, seats in the gallery for the accommodation of Members. He would not enter into the question of taste with the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume); but when that hon. Gentleman had alluded to the ornaments of the reign of Louis XIV., he could say that in his (Lord Morpeth's) opinion, and in the opinion of many other persons much better calculated to form a just estimate, the taste displayed in the exterior and the interior of the New Houses of Parliament would not yield to that of any other era, be it what it might.


would be glad to know what plans there were of the Houses. He should like to be present when the Speaker went up to hear Her Majesty's Address, as he feared the vaunted 900 feet would not be sufficient to save hon. Gentlemen from that disgraceful squeeze which generally ensued upon the attendance of hon. Members at the other House. He certainly should object to the vote, until he knew how the money was to be expended. Was it to adorn with additional gilding the House of Lords, or to complete the House of Commons?

Vote agreed to.