HC Deb 01 April 1884 vol 286 cc1285-6

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If he will take such steps as may appear desirable to provide for the Chair being taken by some Member to be chosen by the House in the event of the absence from illness or other cause of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker? He said, he had put the Question on the Paper in consequence of the uncertainty which prevailed as to the course to be adopted in the case of the continued illness of both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. He had not himself much doubt as to the course that ought to be adopted. ["Order, order!"]


Sir, we have been, undoubtedly, upon the brink of a considerable danger—a danger which it was hoped had been obviated in all reasonable probability by the arrangement made in the appointment of a Deputy Speaker; and I cannot deny that, considering how near we have come to a danger even under the present arrangement, it is well worth considering whether a further provision ought to be made. There are two points that I must keep in view in answering my hon. Friend. One is that it is very material to determine whether the provision can be made by Resolution of this House, or whether it would require an. Act of Parliament. The second question is this, that, as it appears to me, it would be idle to hope to make a provision for this purpose if it were to be a subject of contest and lengthened debate, such as we have had upon most points connected with the Procedure of the House. What I propose to do is in the course of the next few days to inform myself as well as I can as to the method by which we might proceed, whether by Resolution or Act of Parliament; and, secondly, as to the disposition which might exist to supply a remedy for this case of difficulty if it should again arise. But I wish clearly to state that we cannot add another controversy upon this subject to the many controversies that are already before the House.