HC Deb 17 April 1890 vol 343 cc791-4

Resolutions [1st April] reported (see page 416) and read the first and second time.

Resolution 1.

*(12.3.) MR. CAVENDISH BENTINCK (Whitehaven)

I have an Amendment on the Paper "to reduce the Vote by £500 (part of Vote for Restoration of Westminster Hall)." It is not my intention to repeat the observations I have made before on the Vote, except as to one point. I, on a former occasion, called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works to the fact that there was no accommodation for the carriages of Members of this House in Palace Yard, except a sort of cave at the North entrance, which is extremely inconvenient of access. The right hon. Gentleman then told the Committee that that cavern or receptacle was intended for horses and not for carriages at all. It will be in the recollection of the right hon. Gentleman that he promised to consider the matter to see if some arrangement could not be made for the convenience of hon. Members. I find that an Order has been issued from the Board of Works, forbidding carriages to enter the cave, and, therefore, though 8 or 10 carriages were some time ago able to seek refuge there? there is now no protection whatever for them. I should like to know why that Order has been issued? There is no danger in the matter of driving into the cavern. I tested the matter by driving a carriage into it myself, and I came to the conclusion that any well-conducted schoolboy could drive a carriage down without the least chance of accident. Therefore, I do not see why Members should not be allowed to use that receptacle if they think fit. I would point out that the interior is by no means so dangerous as the descent from the Strand, say down Buckingham Street, and I therefore do not see why we should be prevented from using this cave. I would also point out that this cave is lighted up at night. At this moment there are 14 gas lights burning in it for the sole delectation, it seems to me, of messengers belonging to the Standard newspaper. I have great respect for that newspaper, but I do not see why we should burn gas lights for its advantage alone, and I find that the only occupants of this place are four bicycles or velocipedes with their riders belonging to that journal. I think we might have some part of the space at the end of Westminster Hall converted into a refuge for carriages. Another point I desire to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to is the staircases in Westminster Hall. I do not wish to repeat the arguments I have already used; but as the right hon. Gentleman has followed my advice with regard to the southern end of that Hall, I would urge him also to adopt my suggestion with regard to these staircases. The area of the Hall need not be interfered with, nor its structure, for the alteration I propose could be brought about by removing the return staircases. For the purpose of raising a discussion, I move to reduce the Vote by the sum of £500.

Amendment proposed to the first Resolution, to leave out"£165,767,"and insert"£165,267,"—(Mr. Cavendish Bentinck,)—instead thereof.

Question put, "That '£165,767' stand part of the Resolution."

(12.10) SIR G. CAMPBELL&c.) (Kirkcaldy,

In my opinion the buildings to which the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has referred are more suited to a carriage-shed than anything else, and I hope he will be able to come to terms with the First Commissioner of Works with regard to them. I do not like this Vote to pass without raising a word of protest with regard to the restorations of Westminster Hall. I do not think anything in the way of real restoration has been done; but we have have had a building put up more like a second-rate dissenting church than anything else—a structure which is a disgrace to this House, which has no perspective, and which is as defective in architectural beauty as any average dissenting church. As to the interior of Westminster Hall, I would ask whether it would not be possible to reduce that meretricious piece of architecture which has been called "Spurgeon's pulpit" there?

*(12.12.) THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. PLUNKET,) Dublin University

I will undertake respectfully to consider any plan the right hon. Gentleman may suggest for the improvement of the interior of Westminster Hall or any other building. If the hon. Member (Sir G. Campbell) has any design to propose to improve the beauty of that part of the Hall lately restored, it shall receive every attention if he will lay it before me. As to the accommodation for horses, I should be very glad if some- thing could be done, and I will take care that the matter is not lost sight of. I should be sorry, however, to set up any temporary shed which would have the effect of disfiguring the place. Also I am afraid it would be impossible to provide any large amount of accommodation for carriages—especially carriages with pairs of horses. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck) says in regard to the "cave" to which he has referred that he himself has driven down it, and that there is no danger in so doing; but I certainly think it would be dangerous if a large number of spirited animals were congregated there. If the right hon. Gentleman can suggest an alternative scheme to that we have carried out, I shall be very glad to consider it.

(12.15.) MR. MARJORIBANKS (Berwickshire)

I do not think there is any good in crying over spilt milk. We must make the best of what we have got. I think the right hon. Gentleman might make a way for carriages to go into this place by taking down the low wa[...]l in front of it, lowering the level of the yard, and making an exit at the end opposite the present entrance. It is really useless in these days to provide accommodation for the horses of Members. It is, however, highly desirable that some shelter should be provided for carriages. A suggestion has been made that a temporary shed should be put up opposite the entrance to the House of Commons for the accommodation of carriages. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider that suggestion, and endeavour to provide accommodation.

(12.17.) The House proceeded to a Division.

Mr. Akers-Douglas and Sir William Walrond were appointed Tellers for the Ayes, but no Members being willing to act as Tellers for the Noes, Mr. Speaker declared that the Ayes had it.

Resolution agreed to.

Second, Third, and Fourth Resolutions agreed to.

Fifth Resolution postponed.

Subsequent Resolutions agreed to.

Postponed Resolution to be considered upon Monday next.

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