HC Deb 16 November 1852 vol 123 cc216-7

said, he did not know whether the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. Villiers) was present, but if he was not, perhaps some hon. Friend of his was who could give him an answer. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had yesterday expressed an opinion that it would be convenient to the House that the terms of the Motion of which the hon. Member had given notice, should be communicated to the House at as early a period as possible. He had expected that yesterday they would have been furnished with its terms; but they had not, and now another day had elapsed and the terms of the Motion had not been placed before the House. Tomorrow (Wednesday) the House would only meet for a morning sitting, when it was not usual to communicate such Motions of importance to the House. On Thursday the House would not meet at all, and unless they were furnished that night with the terms of the Motion, they could not have them before Friday, if even then they might count on possessing them. He was sure the hon. Gentleman or some of his Friends would answer this inquiry. But hon. Gentlemen must feel that a Motion of that kind ought not, as far as its expressions were concerned, to be kept from their knowledge.


then put the question that the House do now adjourn.


said, that before the House adjourned he begged to take the occasion of his hon. Friend the Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Wilson Patten) being placed in the Chair of the Committees of the House, to advert to a subject which he had on a former occasion brought before the House. The House had enjoyed the services of its Speakers for an unusully long time without a single day's interruption of the proceedings. During the last seventy years, there had been but two occasions on which the illness of the Speaker had caused an interruption to the proceedings of the House, and then two subsequent occasions on which the Speaker, on account of the death of a near relative, had been obliged to absent himself. But, with these exceptions, the attendance of the Speaker had been unin- terrupted. However, they could not always rely upon the continuance of such unbroken services; and it was obvious that the absence of the Speaker from illness or any other cause, without there being any person to supply his place, might occur at a crisis of our history when it might be of vital importance to the constitution of the country that the House should be sitting. It was in the recollection of many that the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act being deemed necessary, that measure was on one occasion passed, he believed, through all its stages on one day. If, at the period of such necessity, Mr. Speaker had been ill, there could have been no House; and a Bill essential to the welfare, and even to the safety, of the State, could not have become law. No provision had been made for the appointment of a Speaker under those circumstances, and he now submitted both to the present leader of the House, and those hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side who had lately formed the Administration, whether it were not expedient to provide for such a contingency. The details of such a provision he would not presume to specify; but he thought they might obviate the difficulty by appointing two Privy Councillors on each side of the House, who, in case of any contingency such as he had referred to, might supply, as far as it was in the power of man to supply, the loss which the House and the country would sustain by the absence of the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair. If that were a fit suggestion to make, he thought it better to make it at a time when there was little likelihood that they would be deprived of the advantages of the Speaker's presence.

The House adjourned at half-after Six o'clock.

Back to