MR. CHARLES RUSSELL
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the Government propose to move for the appointment of a Select Committee, with a view to consider the best means of promoting the proper despatch of business in this House; and, if not, whether the Government will give a day as soon as they conveniently can for the discussion of a Motion with that object, of which notice has been given?
I am afraid I cannot give my hon. and learned Friend any answer to this Question at all proportionate to the importance of the Question itself—at least in its ulterior aspects. He asks me—Whether the Government propose to move for the appointment of a Select Committee, with a view to consider the best means of promoting the proper despatch of business in this House; and, if not, whether the Government will give a day as soon as they conveniently can for the discussion of a Motion with that object?The Government have not arrived at any decision adverse to the appointment of a Select Committee; neither, I am bound to say, have they any intention of making that proposal on their own responsibility. Upon the whole, I think it is our view that the results of the numerous Select Committees which have already sat on the subject have not been such as to make us very sanguine of the utility of such a proposition on our part. It has been intimated in various forms and at various times that the present state of the House in reference to the effective despatch of Business is an extremely serious subject; and, therefore, whether by discussion in a Select Committee or 418 by Resolution of the House itself, we should think it an object of public value and importance that there should be a means of its fuller elucidation in order to impress on the minds of the House and of the country the extreme difficulty in which we are placed. I do not believe that any repressive measure, however judicious, will ever attain the whole of the object that is in view. I am afraid I cannot hope to go beyond that general encouragement to my hon. and learned Friend. He is too well acquainted with the actual state of Business to suppose that I should give him any further particulars.