HC Deb 24 June 1853 vol 128 cc733-4

said, he begged to call attention to the manner in which the public business of the country was conducted. He never knew it to have been conducted in a manner so objectionable as during this Session. Night after night they had been sitting until two or three o'clock in the morning passing Bills of very great public importance, without scarcely any person being present except some hon. Members whom the Government could induce to remain. The time allowed to Members after such a long attendance in the House was not sufficient, and, what was still more worthy of attention, Bills of great importance, and Reports, were presented to the House, and no time was allowed for the consideration of any one of them, so that Bills of great public consequence were frequently passed which six Members of the House had never read through. The Members of that House were held responsible by their constituents for the passing of any Bills that were injurious to the country at large, though it was impossible for them to attend to them. They adjourned this morning at three o'clock; they sat again at twelve o'clock; they might expect that that would be a common occurrence during the remainder of the Session; and he hoped Her Majesty's Government would take the matter into their serious consideration.


said, he must own that he differed very much from the hon. Gentleman. He had always thought that it was a matter of great satisfaction to consider that that House did, in fact, perform more business, and go through more important duties, than he believed any other Legislative Assembly had ever done. If the hon. Member would go through the various Bills that came before them in the course of the Session, he would find that business of the greatest and highest importance was brought before the House, and that there were many Members of the House who took great interest in those measures, and were competent to discuss them, and give their opinion upon them. With respect to the complaint that the time of the House was taken up for so many hours in the day, there was only one alternative to remedy it, and it was one which he did not think the House would be ready to adopt. Instead of crowding the business at that period of the Session, they might finish at twelve o'clock at night, and go on and continue their sittings through the whole year. However severe it might be to sit at twelve o'clock in the morning, and until two or three o'clock the next morning, he did not believe that any Bills of great importance were passed without attention being paid to them. If a Bill were much discussed on the second reading, and the opinion of the House was pronounced by a large majority, the subsequent stages were generally passed over without observation. In like manner when a Bill had gone through Committee, and the sense of the House was taken on all its clauses, there was generally very little discussion afterwards; but he did not think it could be said that the business of the House was neglected, or that due attention was not paid to it.

Motion, that the House at its rising do adjourn till Monday next, agreed to.