HC Deb 31 January 1854 vol 130 cc108-10

Sir, I have to request the permission of the House to put a question to Her Majesty's Government. I am quite aware that it is unusual to address any question to a Minister of the Crown upon the first day of the Session. I have no desire unnecessarily to infringe that rule, but I hope that the House will consider that circumstances justify me in making this an exceptional case. Sir; I have received information with respect to an intended proceeding in Convocation to-morrow, which makes me desirous to put a question to the noble Lord opposite on that subject; and as Convocation will sit at ten o'clock to-morrow morning, I hope that this will be considered a sufficient excuse on my part for deviating from what I am quite aware is the usual practice of the House upon this day. The question which I wish to put to the noble Lord is this—and as I have given the noble Lord notice of my intention, I trust that he will give me a distinct answer to the different parts of which my question will consist. I have reason to believe that communications have passed between Members of Convocation and the Prime Minister with respect to intended proceedings on the part of Convocation to-morrow; and I have reason also to believe that, in consequence of those communications with the Prime Minister, it is intended that Convocation to-morrow morning shall proceed to the transaction of business. I therefore wish to ask the noble Lord whether the Earl of Aberdeen has given his consent to such a course as I have indicated being taken by Convocation to-morrow? That is the first part of the question I wish to put. The other part of the question I wish to put is, whether, on the other hand, it being known that such an intention exists on the part of Convocation, it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to prevent the transaction of business by Convocation to-morrow, by the interposition of the authority of the Crown?


I have seen my noble Friend the Earl of Aberdeen on this subject, and can have no difficulty in answering the question of the right hon. Gentleman. It has been the usual practice for Convocation to meet on the summons of the Crown, and to be prorogued by the Archbishop; that has been the usual course with respect to Convocation. The Earl of Aberdeen has communicated to those Members of the Convocation whom he has seen, that he thinks it would not be desirable to depart from that usual course, and he is of opinion that the prorogation should take place to-morrow in the usual manner. Therefore the right hon. Gentleman will see that the noble Lord at the head of the Government has nothing to do either with the proceeding or not proceeding by Convocation with business to-morrow. What he has said is, that it is desirable that the Convocation should be prorogued in the usual manner, and that, therefore, unless a necessity should arise, the interposition of the Crown should not take place. I may say further, though it does not enter into the right hon. Gentleman's question, that if Convocation shall be continued beyond to-morrow, and shall be adjourned to another day, then the Earl of Aberdeen will consider that that case of necessity has arisen, and that the interposition of the Crown should take place.

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