HC Deb 04 February 1852 vol 119 cc161-2

moved the usual Sessional Orders.


accordingly read them seriatim.

On the Order respecting Votes in Committee of Supply,


proposed to add to the Standing Orders, "and that no Vote for money be taken in Committee after midnight." During the last four or five Sessions a practice had gained ground of money being voted when the House was almost empty, at a period when nobody expected that any question of importance could possibly come on. It was not so much the fear of abuses being committed under such circumstances, which would be checked in the presence of a larger number of Members, which induced him to make this proposition, as the fear of the appearance it would have with the country, if they adhered to their ordinary course in this matter. He was anxious that a fixed rule on this subject should be laid down and adopted, because it was extremely inconvenient, when the money votes came on, for any man to rise and oppose a vote. When the Tories were in office for twelve or fourteen years, he had never allowed a single farthing to pass after twelve o'clock. He had been blamed for relaxing his insistence on that rule; and, thinking that equal justice should be done to both parties, he hoped the House would agree to his proposal.

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."


most cordially agreed with what had fallen from the hon. Member for Montrose. He had seen public money voted away when only fifteen Members were present, and some of them asleep on the benches. He thought, therefore, it was high time that some step should be taken, and he, for one, would always be happy to oppose any attempt at abuse in this respect by Ministers.


trusted the House would not agree to the Amendment of his hon. Friend. He was afraid serious inconvenience might ensue if they laid down an inflexible rule that no vote of public money should be taken after twelve o'clock, and he did not think that any inconvenience had been experienced from the present practice such as would justify them in laying down such a rule. The usual course was, that no money votes were moved by Government after twelve o'clock. Occasionally it might happen that a few votes were taken after twelve o'clock; but that was done only with the approbation of the House, and when any strong objection was taken they were withdrawn. Under these circumstances it seemed hardly advisable, after so many years experience in Committees of Supply, to apply this inconvenient restriction by a sessional order. With respect to the complaint of his hon. Friend (Mr. Hume), that votes were often taken when forty Members were not present, it was only necessary to remark that it was competent to any Member who objected, to have the House counted, and it would then be impossible to proceed with the vote.


said, that no doubt cases might occur which it would be desirable to treat as exceptions to the general rule which he wished to be laid down, and then the standing order could be suspended, as in similar instances.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Another Amendment proposed, at the end of the Question, to add the words, "and that no new Vote for Public Money, if opposed, be taken after twelve o'clock at night."


supported the Motion. He stated at the same time, that as he could not expect that if the House negatived the present Motion they would agree to that which he had given notice (that the Speaker should leave the chair at twelve o'clock), he would not in that case bring forward his resolution.

House divided:—Ayes 64; Noes 146: Majority 82.

Main Question put, and agreed to.