HC Deb 07 March 1882 vol 267 cc388-9

I rise, Mr. Speaker to a point of Order, and to invite your ruling upon the terms of a Notice of Motion, which appears to-day for the first time upon the Paper, and which I will now read to the House— Mr. Labouchere—House of Lords: That the House of Lords is useless, dangerous, and ought to be abolished. The questions I wish to submit to you, Sir, with all respect, are these—Is it competent for one Branch of the Legislature to discuss the abolition of the other? Is the Motion one which you, Sir, ought to be asked to put from that Chair; and is the Notice one which ought to be permitted to remain one day longer on the Paper? With respect to the good taste and propriety which dictated it—["Oh, oh!" and "Order!"]


Perhaps, Sir, I may be permitted to explain. The words are words which have already—["Order!"]


I rise to Order. The Chair has been appealed to on the point of Order. I do not apprehend that the hon. Member has any right to explain.


I may be permitted to explain that the words of the Motion are precisely those which were submitted to a Parliament in England—the Long Parliament—and that they were passed by that Assembly. As, however, it has been pointed out to me by some hon. Friends of mine that the word "useless" may imply some sort of reflection upon the Members of the House of Lords, I have modified that word, and have put instead, "unnecessary, obstructive, and dangerous."


In answer to the questions of the hon. Member, I may say my attention was drawn to the terms of this Notice of Motion; and I was informed that the precedent of the words had come from the days of the Long Parliament. I am bound to say that I considered that certainly one expression in that Notice was inadmissable. The hon. Member for Northampton spoke of the House of Lords as "useless." Now, had any hon. Member spoken of the other House of Parliament in terms of that character, I should have felt it my duty to call him to Order; and I am glad to find that the hon. Member for Northampton, as I understand him, has withdrawn from his Notice of Motion that particular expression. The hon. Member also asks me whether it is competent for this House to raise the question of the abolition of the House of Lords? The hon. Member must be aware that that proposition has frequently been before the House.


remarked, that, according to his memory, the decisions of the Long Parliament had not been regarded as binding by the Predecessors of the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair.