HC Deb 01 August 1867 vol 189 cc604-6

said, he wished to call the attention of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer to what had taken place on Tuesday evening. He (Mr. O'Beirne) had an important Motion to bring forward which stood first on the Paper; but the Speaker had only been a few seconds in the Chair when an hon. Member moved that the House be counted. When the new arrangement as to Morning Sittings was made it had been felt that it was likely to operate unfairly to private Members having Notices to bring forward, but the right hon. Gentleman rather thought that Members would return at nine o'clock refreshed and invigorated. There had been two or three counts-out, and on the last two Tuesdays such a proceeding was very inconvenient. His object was, to see whether he could not get an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that such an inconvenience should not again occur. He could tell hon. Members what was well known, that the Government had the means at their disposal to keep a House if they thought proper to do so, and he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would prevent the repetition of an occurrence which was so full of inconvenience to private Members. The hon. Member concluded by moving the adjournment of the House.


I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman. I much regret that the House was not made on the night he refers to. I must say in vindication of myself that I was present on the occasion—and I may add that I have never been absent on these occasions. I think I was justified in the anticipation I originally expressed when the arrangement for these Morning Sittings was made; but we must remember that the Session is very far advanced, and that at this period there is always greater difficulty in making a House than at other times. I made inquiry as to the "count-out" on Tuesday, and the cause of the great failure of business on that occasion, because I had received an assurance from my Colleagues and the Gentlemen who support the Government that they would be present, and I find that a great number of Gentlemen, who were more than sufficient to make a House, were on their way here, and would have arrived a few minutes after the time when the House was counted out. I very much regret what has occurred, and so far as I can influence the House, the hon. Gentleman may rely upon it that I shall always be present and do all I can to obtain a House. I have been always opposed to counting the House, as nothing tends more to delay — and in an unsatisfactory manner — the transaction of public business.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

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