§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD (for Mr. BROADHURST)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, when the Government are considering the question of Reforming the Rules of the House, they will consider whether some rearrangement of the business hours of the House cannot be made in order that the House might generally rise by midnight?
Sir, in answer to the Question, I have to say that undoubtedly the very late average of Sittings in the House of Commons, which has greatly changed since the time when I first entered Parliament, is a subject that will have to be considered, no doubt, in connection with other matters; but I do not think that it is one which it would be very easy to deal with by any positive Rule. It is much more likely that relief to be got by the House will be from the adoption of a more effective general system for the management of Business.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
asked whether it was a fact that the English House of Commons was the only Legislative Assembly in the world which met in the evening; whether it did not sit later than any other Legislative Body; and whether, in connection with that subject, the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government would introduce any measure for relieving the Imperial Parliament of the management of local affairs—a measure which the right hon. 614 Gentleman in his Mid Lothian speeches said he would not only not object to, but would rather gladly welcome?
I am not sure I gathered exactly the purport of the Question asked by the hon. Member. I believe there is no doubt that the Sittings of the House of Commons are later than those of any Legislative Assembly, certainly than the general practice of Legislative Assemblies; but, at the same time, this has been a gradual concession to necessity. There were times when we met very early indeed. I imagine it has been, on the whole, a concession to necessity, and I doubt if it can be greatly changed.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
pointed out that the right hon. Gentleman had not replied to his Question respecting the management of local affairs.
I can only say that I adhere entirely to the sentiment of the speech of the Mid Lothian campaign.