HC Deb 25 May 1880 vol 252 cc487-9

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Standing Committee be appointed to control the arrangements of the Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms in the Department of the Serjeant at Arms attending this House."—(Sir William Dyke.)


said, that he should like to know whether he should be in Order in mentioning a matter under the jurisdiction of the Committee, for, otherwise, he must move the adjournment of the House for that purpose?


said, that if the hon. Member desired to make any observations relevant to the subject before the House he would be in Order in doing so.


said, that for several years past hon. Members of that House had experienced great inconvenience from the limited accommodation provided for smoking. The custom of smoking was pretty universal; but the space allotted for that purpose in the House was very restricted. If it were entirely devoted to the use of hon. Members it might be sufficient; but hon. Members were allowed to bring their friends into the room, and it frequently occurred that one hon. Member had as many as four or five friends with him, and then, if six or seven hon. Members were present, it was all the room could accommodate.


said, that he rose to Order. He wished to ask whether the allocation of the rooms in that building was not a matter totally distinct from the functions of the Committee?


said, that the hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. Macartney) was entitled to address the House upon the question which he brought forward. The observations which he was making, however, were not quite relevant to the question, and he must ask him to confine himself to the subject actually before the House.


said, that he believed the Committee was appointed to superintend the refreshments of the House, and refreshments were taken in the Smoking Room, sometimes of a very stimulating kind. What he wished to say was that if the Committee directed their attention to this matter it would be a great advantage to hon. Members of that House.


said, that he had gathered from the ruling of Mr. Speaker that the observations of his hon. Friend (Mr. Macartney) were not out of Order. He would wish to support what he had stated with regard to the serious want of adequate accommodation both for hon. Members and their friends in the Smoking Room downstairs. He himself had been debarred from making use of the Smoking Room solely in consequence of the crowded state in which he repeatedly found it. It was crowded, not with hon. Members, for whose use he imagined it was intended, but crowded by strangers, friends, probably, of hon. Members, and properly introduced into that portion of the building. But their presence in the Smoking Room rendered it quite impossible for hon. Members to discuss, as they might desire to do whilst taking refreshment, questions which might afterwards arise in debate in that House. It must be apparent to hon. Members how exceedingly difficult it was for them to go downstairs into the Smoking Room, and to confer upon questions which would afterwards arise in debate, in the presence of strangers whose interest in the subjects, through their not being Members of the House, it was difficult adequately to estimate. That was one question which would arise for the consideration of the Committee. But there was another question which, he took it, came entirely within the terms of Reference, and that was the quality of the articles supplied for the use of hon. Members in the Smoking Room. He was not to be nominated a Member of that Committee; and, therefore, he should not have an opportunity of laying his views on the subject before them. The present was the only occasion which he could take of doing so. The complaints with regard to the quality of the articles supplied in the Smoking Room were numerous, and he thought well founded. There was also another complaint with reference to the question of attendance. It frequently happened that those who had ordered some light refreshment such as tea and coffee in the Smoking Room had to wait eight, ten, or fifteen minutes before they were supplied with the beverage which they required. He was not going to conclude with a Motion; but as that was the only occasion on which he could bring the matter before the Committee, he hoped that hon. Members opposite would not grudge him a few minutes for the discussion of a question of such vital importance to the comfort of hon. Members. There was also another point to which he wished to call attention. He wished to point out that the name of his hon. Friend the Member for Kent, who appeared as one of those proposed for the Committee, was not actually stated.


said, that the Motion before the House was as to the appointment of the Committee, and not as to the hon. Members who should compose it.

Question put, and agreed to.

Standing Committee appointed, "to control the arrangements of the Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms, in the department of the Serjeant at Arms attending this House:"—Mr. ADAM, Sir EDMUND FILMER, Sir WILLIAM DYKE, Mr. EDWARDS, Sir GABRIEL GOLDNEY, Sir ARTHUR HAYTER, Lord KENSINGTON, Mr. MUNTZ, Mr. RICHARD POWER, Mr. MAURICE BROOKS, Sir HENRY WOLFF, Lord HENRY THYNNE, and Mr. MONK:—Five to be the quorum.