HC Deb 16 July 1869 vol 198 cc20-1

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Why gentlemen should be admitted into the Strangers' Gallery before prayers, the ladies being obliged to sit on the staircase or stand about in the passage outside their gallery till after the House is made; and, whether, if it is essential to continue this practice, he will have seats placed outside for their accommodation?


, in reply, said, he had already stated to the House that he had been a witness, on the previous day, of the painful state of things described in his hon. Friend's Question. He could, however, scarcely do anything in the way of affording greater convenience to the ladies visiting the Gallery allotted for their use. That could certainly not be done by opening the door earlier, because the ladies would come down sooner for the purpose of securing front seats, and the same state of things as at present would continue to exist. So far as a waiting room was concerned he would merely observe that there was no place in which chairs could be put for ladies to sit down. The only suggestion he had to make in connection with the matter was one which it depended on the Serjeant-at-Arms to carry into effect, and that was that in future when Members balloted for admission for ladies to the Gallery they should receive a number corresponding with the number of the chair assigned to them. If that were done ladies need not come down to the House before the debates commenced, and they would not suffer the inconvenience to which they were now exposed.