HC Deb 19 February 1868 vol 190 cc983-4

said, he rose to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to consider whether any alteration could be made in the arrangements of the House, so as to enable a greater number of Members to hear and take part in the proceedings. The House would recollect that the Committee appointed last year to consider that subject took a certain amount of evidence and had certain plans laid before them; but, in consequence of the lateness of the Session and the difficulties of the question, they found it impossible to come to any definite report. They accordingly unanimously agreed only to report the evidence, and to recommend that the Committee should be re-appointed. In pursuance of that recommendation he made the present Motion, and he proposed that the instructions to the Committee should be the same as those of last Session.


said, that the Motion now made by his right hon. Friend was somewhat different from the Notice he had placed upon the Paper. He (Colonel French) hoped the Committee would not confine their inquiries to the House itself, but that they would take into consideration the expediency of making alterations in the refreshment department and other parts of the building, with the view to their improvement, and the greater convenience of hon. Members.


said, that the Instruction to the Committee was to consider the arrangements of the several rooms and offices of the House.


said, that there was a danger in heaping too much work upon the shoulders of the Committee. It appeared to him to be far better to appoint two separate Committees to investigate all the matters referred to by the hon. and gallant Gentleman. He was sure that the experience of everybody proved that, when Committees were overloaded with subjects, they never arrived at satisfactory decisions.


said, that if two such Committees were appointed they might come to conclusions with respect to the alterations to be made in the building which would be entirely at variance. He was, besides, of opinion that the Committee, for the re-appointment of which the right hon. Gentleman opposite moved, would have no difficulty in dealing with improvements of the kind suggested by the hon. and gallant Gentleman.

Motion agreed to. Select Committee appointed, "to consider whether any alteration can be made in the arrangements of the House of Commons, so as to enable a greater number of Members to hear and take part in the proceedings; and to consider the arrangement of the several rooms and offices attached to the House, and the means of access to the same, with a view to the greater convenience of Members in the discharge of their duties, and how better accommodation can be provided within the precincts of the House for the transaction of Departmental Business, during the Sittings of the House, by Members holding Offices in the Government."—(Mr. Headlam.) And, on March 6, Committee nominated as follows:—Mr. HEADLAM, Lord JOHN MANNERS, Mr. WILLIAM COWPER, Mr. TITE, Mr. BAZLEY, Viscount CRANBORNE, Mr. HANKEY, Sir FREDERICK HEYGATE, Lord ELCHO, Mr. CARDWELL, Mr. BAILLIE COCHRANE, Mr. DARBY GRIFFITH, Mr. JOHN BRIGHT, Sir CHARLES LANYON, and Mr. BERESFORD HOPE:—Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Five to be the quorum.

House adjourned at Four o'clock.