HC Deb 26 March 1874 vol 218 cc341-2

Moved, That the Select Committee appointed to consider and report whether any of the matters referred to in the Letter of the Lord Chief Justice to Mr. Speaker [March 19] demand the further consideration of the House do consist of the following Seventeen Members.—

Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Goschen, Mr. Solicitor General, Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen, Mr. Spencer Walpole, Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Stephen Cave, Sir Charles Forster, Sir Seymour Fitzgerald, Sir Henry James, Viscount Holmesdale, Sir Edward Cole-brooke, Sir Graham Montgomery, Mr. Massey, Viscount Crichton, Mr. Attorney General, and Mr. Roebuck.


said, he wished to bring under the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) one or two points in connection with this subject, the more particularly as the Government was mainly responsible for the appointment of the Committee of Privilege. If that House was to appoint a Committee of Privilege for every case that arose it might find itself landed in great inconvenience and great difficulty; and he wished to suggest to the House, and especially to the Prime Minister, that, as the Government was responsible for the appointment of a Committee of Privileges at the beginning of every Session, they should before next Session consider whether it would not be better to appoint a Standing Committee of Privileges, which would be able to deal promptly with any case that might arise. It was evident that a question of Privilege might arise demanding the immediate attention of the House. It was not very seemly that so much delay should have occurred in the present instance, although, doubtless, it was unavoidable under the circumstances. But further questions of Privilege might arise in which party considerations were concerned, and then it might be extremely difficult for the right bon. Gentleman to name a special Committee which would give satisfaction. In his opinion, it would be much better that the Committee should be appointed at a time when there was no question before the House, for such a Committee would be more likely to inspire confidence than one nominated after a case had arisen for inquiry. He did not wish the right hon. Gentleman to give a definite answer now; but he thought himself entitled to ask the right bon. Gentleman to take his suggestion into consideration.

Motion agreed to; Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Five to be the quorum.