HC Deb 25 June 1883 vol 280 cc1422-3

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will consider the desirability of dividing the Session into two sittings, commencing the first week in March and the third week in October respectively; and, whe- ther, if he has any doubt as to the advisability of advising this change, he will take steps to ascertain the general opinion of the House on the question?


Sir, although the form of this Question is somewhat novel, I understand it to be, in substance, whether it is deemed expedient that we should revert to the old practice which prevailed at the beginning of the present century and some time afterwards—that is to say, when Parliament used to assemble late in the autumn and take a considerable Vacation at Christmas, and the Prorogation was usually arranged to come about the middle of June. Well, Sir, that is a question of considerable interest and importance, especially to Members of this House; to Members of the House of Lords it is of secondary importance. It has been a good deal discussed in private, but not very much in the House, at least, not, I think, very recently. I think, however, it is plainly a question for the Members of the House themselves in the main, and especially for the Members of this House, and it will probably be the duty of the Government to consider any definite indication of their opinion on the subject, but not to raise the question themselves unless they feel satisfied that the desire of the House is in favour of the change.