HC Deb 09 June 1887 vol 315 cc1436-7
MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If he will inform the House what arrangements he has succeeded in making for the purpose of according to Members of the House who are widowers or bachelors, privileges akin to those which have been granted to Members who have wives, whereby the former may be permitted to attend the Jubilee ceremony at the Abbey accompanied by lady relatives?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand that I sympathize with him in his desire that Members of the House who are so unfortunate as to be widowers or bachelors should have the privileges akin to those which are granted to Members who have wives. The Committee to whom this question has been referred have not found it possible at present to endue them with the same privileges. I will now state to the House, as far as the arrangements have yet gone, what is proposed to be done. The Lord. Chamberlain has arranged to find places for Members of Parliament, accompanied by their wives, who have sent in their names to the Speaker's Secretary, or will do so before Saturday, the 11th instant, and a space in the North Transept of the Abbey, containing 570 seats, will be numbered and reserved for Members of this House. Provision will be made for the Speaker, the Chairman of Ways and Means, Ministers, ex-Ministers, and Privy Councillors to sit as far as may be possible together in the front seats. The remainder of the seats will be allotted by ballot to those Members who have sent in their names by the 11th instant. It is expected that levée dress will be worn by Ministers, ex-Ministers, and Privy Councillors; but for other Members of the House the dress will be optional. The House will remember that all these arrangements are solely in the hands of the Select Committee appointed by the House. This is all the information I am able to give the House at the present moment; but the list is not yet complete. Two days remain during which Members may send in their names; and as the seats at the disposal of the Lord Chamberlain and the Committee are exceedingly limited it is impossible for me to state more than I have done at the present time. The Committee will meet on Monday to make their final arrangements.