HC Deb 30 June 1854 vol 134 cc957-9

said, he wished to take this opportunity of calling the attention of the House for a few minutes to a subject which affected the personal comfort of hon. Members. He did not know exactly to whom he ought to address the question he was about to put, whether to his right hon. Friend the First Commissioners of Works, or to the right hon. Gentleman in the chair. He was deeply anxious that everything should be done which could at all contribute to the personal comfort of hon. Members, but he had some difficulty how to frame his question, for fear of offending against the rules of order. The subject to which he wished to refer, was the accommodation, or rather the want of accommodation, provided for the personal comfort of Members of the House of Commons, in what was to be described, in Parliamentary phraseology, as "another place." He was sure many hon. Members would be disposed to agree with him, when he said that, upon some occasions, the inconvenience which was felt by hon. Members when they were attending to what passed there, was very great. On a recent occasion, when certain explanations were given upon a subject of very great European importance, the Members of the House of Commons were unable to find that accommodation which was necessary to enable them to hear what passed. The galleries appropriated to their use only provided accommodation for a very few Members, but below the bar, there was a space which it was understood might be occupied by Members of the House of Commons, anxious to hear what was going on. Upon the occasion to which he alluded, such a crowd assembled in that space, that, speaking from experience, he could say that he was never more hustled on going into a theatre than he was then. Certainly, there were more persons present who were not Members of the House of Commons, by a great many, than there were Members; and, at the time such inconvenience was being experienced, the large galleries, which he believed were consecrated to Ministers of foreign Powers and foreigners of distinction, were perfectly empty. In the gallery in the House of Commons to which foreigners were admitted, Peers were admitted as well, and it did not seem unreasonable that a similar indulgence might be granted to Members of that House in another place. He thought that, if a representation were made in the proper quarter, either by the First Commissioner of Woods and Works, or by Mr. Speaker, some means would be taken to remedy an evil which certainly interfered with the performance of what might be considered a portion of the Parliamentary duty of Members of that House.


said, he quite concurred in the observation of his noble Friend with regard to the want of accommodation for Members of the House of Commons attending on important occasions in another place. On the particular occasion referred to, he himself was compelled to listen to the explanation of a distinguished statesman on his knees. He thought, however, that if a treaty were to be entered into between the two parties, it should be one of reciprocity. Looking at the nature of the accommodation provided for Peers in that House, it did not seem to him that hon. Members had much right to complain; for there was not a half or quarter of the room set apart for noble Lords that was provided in another place for Members of the House of Commons.