HC Deb 12 April 1888 vol 324 cc1058-60
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

who had given Notice that he would ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he will suspend the operation of the recent Regulation changing the police in attendance on this House until the House itself has had an opportunity to express an opinion on the subject, said, that he was informed that the new Regulation would not come into operation until the close of the Session; and he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, as he believed that hon. Members in every quarter of the House felt a strong objection to changing the Parliamentary police and placing in a position of anxiety and uncertainty a body of men with whom they all were in friendly relations, he did not see his way to cancel or withdraw that Regulation?


, before the right hon. Gentleman answered the Question, also wished to ask, whether it was true that many of those men had foregone their claims to promotion in order to remain on the staff of the police at the House of Commons; and whether, if that was true, it would not be unfair to allow that order to be carried into effect?


I am unable to answer the Question put by the hon. Baronet; but, if desired, I can procure information on the point. In answer to the Question on the Paper, I have to say that the recent Regulation concerning the police in attendance on this House has been made by the Commissioner of Police in the exercise of his discretion as responsible for the good conduct and discipline of the Force. I cannot suppose that the House would wish me to interfere with this discretion ["Yes"] without reasons which, so far as I am aware, do not exist; and I therefore do not propose to suspend the operation of the Regulation.


said, that he would make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House. He had already given Notice of a Motion on that Question; and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the answer which had been given by the Home Secretary, he would not afford the House an early opportunity of discussing and pronouncing an opinion on that Regulation?

MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

, before the First Lord of the Treasury replied, wished also to ask the right hon. Gentleman, whether he did not think that the convenience of hon. Members ought to be considered to some extent before changing officials who were in attendance on the House and who knew hon. Members for persons who did not know them, and who would, therefore, be at a disadvantage in delivering their letters, &c.

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

I would say, in answer to the hon. Member for Northampton, that, undoubtedly, regard must be had—and I hope always will be had—to the convenience of Members of this House; but I am not aware that any arrangement has been made that will in the slightest degree affect their convenience. As to the appeal made to me by the hon. Member for Bethnal Green, as he himself has mentioned, this Regulation does not come into operation till the end of the present Session. There will, therefore, be full opportunity on the Police Vote for him to make any observations that he may wish to offer; but, having regard to the responsibilities of the Chief Commissioner of Police, we should be slow indeed to interfere with the duty cast upon him of securing the efficiency of the Force and the good conduct of all its members.


asked, What reason, if any, had been assigned by the Chief Commissioner for the issue of the Regulation?


I have no official information of the reason. I only gathered from private communication that, in the judgment of the Chief Commissioner, the prolonged service of constables in attendance in the precincts of the House was not conducive to the good discipline of the Force. It is a privilege which is very much desired by members of the Force; and if for a long period of time it is confined to particular members of the Force it may excite jealousies. There are also other reasons that might be suggested which make it undesirable that the same persons, as a matter of permanent employment, should be always engaged on the same duty.


Will the right hon. Gentleman extend the same principle to the Army, and make all the Line soldiers occasionally Guards to Her Majesty?


asked, Whether, as this was a matter of Privilege, the Home Secretary would cause any of the heroes of Trafalgar Square to be appointed to serve in the House?


Order, order!