HC Deb 06 June 1893 vol 13 cc332-3

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether it is in accordance with custom that an hon. Member of this House should take part in the proceedings of the House by voting in Divisions, after the announcement has been made that Her Majesty has been pleased to confer upon him the dignity of a Peerage of the United Kingdom?


When it is stated that the Queen has conferred a Peerage on a certain person, the meaning is, not that that person is a Peer or that we have made him one; but it means that Her Majesty has expressed her pleasure that proper steps should be taken to bring about his being made a Peer. In the present case there cannot be the smallest doubt about the matter that by usage and by law the presumption that the hon. Gentleman is debarred from voting in this House is a clear and even a gross error. The only authority to which I have had the opportunity of referring on the point is Sir T. Erskine May, who says— It a Member be created a Peer it is often the practice to move the New Writ when he has kissed hands, but sometimes not until the patent has been made out or the recepi endorsed. I am not aware whether Sir Erskine May meant to convey, or whether, if he did, he was right in conveying, that the kissing of hands uniformly accompanies the conferring of the Peerage. I have doubt about that, but there is one step which invariably precedes it, and that is the gazetting of the person who is to be made a Peer. Sir Hussey Vivian has not boon gazetted, and there is not the slightest pretence for supposing that his status as a Member of this House is in any degree affected, or that his constituents ought to be prematurely deprived of the advantage of being represented by a gentleman of so much experience and in possession of their confidence. Sir Erskine May has not said anything with regard to gazetting; but there is the case of Lord Eddisbury, who sat until May 15, 1848, although his creation had appeared in The Gazette on May 9.


As the right hon. Gentleman has referred to the last case, which happened in 1848, I would like to know what is the usual etiquette in such cases?


I cannot say that the case to which I have referred is the last case, and I do not know what is the usual practice in these cases. The Government can make any amount of inquiry as regards this particular case, but there is not the slightest shadow of ground for supposing that there is any doubt about the matter.


I was not so foolish as to suggest that the hon. Baronet was disqualified from voting. I simply desired to know whether it is customary for an hon. Member to take part in Divisions of the House after the announcement has been made that Her Majesty has conferred a Peerage upon him?


I am not aware that there is any custom which should have dictated any difference in the position of my hon. Friend.