HC Deb 22 February 1878 vol 238 cc259-60

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Select Committee on the Merchant Seamen Bill do consist of Seventeen Members."— {Sir Charles Adderley.)


moved, as an Amendment, that the Committee should consist of 19 Members. He complained that the Committee had been so struck as not to include a single Irish Member; and, in order to rectify the omission, he would suggest to the President of the Board of Trade that he should add the name of the hon. Member for Limerick, who not only represented a mercantile marine constituency, but had given a great deal of attention to mercantile marine law. He complained that there were several other cases in which Irish Members were either altogether excluded from, or were not given their proper representation on, Committees; and pointed out that there was a danger that the injustice might be repeated in the huddling through of lists that should have been struck before.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "Seventeen" in order to insert the word "Nineteen,"—{Major Nolan,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed," That the word 'Seventeen' stand part of the Question."


, in reply, said, that the Committee which had been constituted with the greatest care, and with the view of securing those hon. Members most acquainted with the subject of the Merchant Seamen Bill, was already too large, and that the addition of two more names would make it unmanageable. An Irish Member had been appointed—the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. J. Corry); and the peculiar views of hon. Gentlemen opposite on Home Rule would also be represented on the Committee by the hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. Hamond), whose name he was about to add.


said, he was surprised that the President of the Board of Trade should have run the number of his Committee so close that the addition of another name would practically destroy its operation. As there were principles involved in the Bill against which he and some of his hon. Colleagues had thought it right to make a stand on a former occasion, it was highly desirable that the Irish Members should be represented on the Committee; and as the President of the Board of Trade would not relent, he appealed to the grace, generosity, and wisdom of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to concede the request of the Amendment.


said, if Irish Members had a grievance in the matter, Scotch Members had even a greater one. With such important ports as Glasgow, Leith, Aberdeen, and Dundee, Scotland, ought to be represented on the Committee; and, whether he was supported by his hon. Colleagues or not, he should insist upon the addition of a Scotch Member.


strongly complained of the method of appointment to Committees, upon which young Members were scarcely ever placed. Some hon. Gentlemen were Members of four or five Committees, sitting at the same time; therefore, it was impossible they could give a proper attention to their duties. While this was occurring, there were other hon. Members having nothing to do who were willing and able to serve, and who would be of considerable use.


said, he had, on a former occasion, made the observation that no one could tell on what principle the Committees were struck. He was sure there were a number of industrious Members who would be very glad to take their share in the Committee work of the House.


suggested to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that in order to avoid a division, he should consent to add one Irish and one Scotch Member to the Committee.


promised, if the Amendment were withdrawn, to consider the addition of two names.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Main Question put.

Ordered, that the Select Committee do consist of Seventeen Members:—Mr. HAMOND and Mr. MACDONALD added to the Committee.