HC Deb 05 February 1851 vol 114 cc143-4

On a Motion to appoint a Committee to regulate the Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms,


said, he wished to say a few words on another matter. Those who had, yesterday, accompanied the Speaker to the House of Lords, would recollect the disorderly manner in which the Members had been compelled to follow him, and what danger the Speaker himself had in finding his way there. He thought this was highly derogatory to the dignity of the House. Even when they did arrive at the House of Lords, there was not room enough below the bar to contain one-quarter of the Members. He happened to be the twenty-fifth after the Speaker, but both sides of the bar were so filled that he neither saw the Queen nor heard Her voice. It was an eternal disgrace to the House and to the country, that they had expended so much money on a place so ill suited to carry on the business of the country. Could no means be adopted by which decorum could be preserved in future? He recollected that, on one occasion, the coat of a Member of the House, who now filled a high office abroad, had been torn, and that his shoulder had been dislocated. That was in the Old House; but it was as bad, or worse, in the New House. What he wanted was, that a Committee should be appointed to consider of such arrangements as would enable them to go to the House of Lords as became their character and position. If there was only room for a hundred Members, lots might be drawn to ascertain who were to accompany the Speaker, that order might be preserved, and that they might be able to conduct themselves as other men, soberly and decently, and not like a mob. He was himself knocked against the corner there, his head was knocked against the post, and he might have been injured, if a stout Member, to whom he felt much obliged, had not come to his assistance. But, after all, it was no laughing matter, it concerned the character of the House; and he was sure it could not but be a cause of deep regret to the right hon. Speaker that more order and better accommodation for the Commons of England should not be insured at the bar of the House of Lords. He would, therefore, suggest that the Government should make some arrangement with the House of Lords that better accommodation should be afforded to the Members of the House of Commons; while the Commons should at the same time determine the number of Members who should attend on these occasions. He recollected that, in order to prevent any indecorum on the occasion of the House accompanying the Speaker on Her Majesty's coronation, lots were drawn by the Members, and it happened most extraordinarily that his name was drawn first. By that arrangement the Members marched out three and three, and all the House attended, and every thing was conducted in the most becoming manner. This was a matter to which he had on a former occasion called the attention of the House. He had no hesitation in saying that, when hon. Members came crowding against the stone pillars of the New House (the building of which reflected great disgrace on all concerned in it), they would be in great danger of sustaining serious injury; he therefore would entreat the noble Lord to adopt some measure which should protect hon. Members from incurring that risk, and at the same time prevent the recurrence of such a disgraceful scene as that which took place yesterday at the bar of the House of Lords.