HC Deb 29 November 1852 vol 123 cc712-3

said, he was about to solicit the indulgence of the House while he alluded, in a few words, to a matter personal to himself. He had had the honour of being for nearly ten years a Member of that House; he now found himself in a situation which he never before had experienced—that of having twice stated that he would not do what he afterwards had done. He had declared on two occasions that he would not vote upon the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, in the division which had taken place on last Saturday morning; but his name, nevertheless, appeared in the division list as having voted on that occasion. He felt, therefore, that he stood in the position of having broken his word with the House; and, in justice to himself, he was most desirous to assure the House that his having done this was entirely unintentional. He fully intended to have left the House, and not to have voted at all on the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, and to this intention he should have faithfully adhered were it not that having been unexpectedly locked in, he was obliged to vote. This explanation he felt to be due alike to the House and to himself, for he was jealous of his own honour, and he knew that the House paid a just regard to the character and conduct of its Members. He hoped, therefore, that this House would pardon the liberty he had taken in thus trespassing on their attention.


said, he wished to put a question to Mr. Speaker with reference to the order of their proceedings. It would be in the remembrance of the House that, on last Saturday morning, after the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. C. Villiers) had been considered and divided on, another division was taken on the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston). He was informed that, while the division on the latter Motion was being taken, three Members of the House—namely, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General (Sir F. Kelly), the noble Lord the Member for West Surrey (the Earl of March), and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesex (Mr. B. Osborne), were concealed in the room at the back of Mr. Speaker's chair. Me did not pretend to conjecture for what reason those three Members were so concealed, but he should like to know whether the room in question was a place of legitimate retreat—to which, whenever a Member of the Government might not like to vote with the Government, he was to be at liberty to retire? He should also like to know whether the division of Saturday morning had been properly taken, or whether the three Gentlemen in question might not have been, and ought not to have been, brought to the table, and compelled to say "aye" or "no" to the question?


Any Member who may be in either of the rooms at the back of the Chair, at the time of a division, is clearly entitled not to vote. Ever since the House has assembled in its present chamber, it has been ruled that the two rooms behind the Chair are out of the House; and this being so, the House has clearly no power to compel Members to vote who may choose to retire to those rooms.

Subject dropped.

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