HC Deb 06 March 1896 vol 38 cc409-11

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [24th February], ''That Mr. James Bailey be a Member of the Select Committee."—(Sir William Walrond).

Question put, and agreed to.


put the question that ''Mr. Broadhurst be a Member of the Committee."

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

intimated that he had an Amendment to propose. In the recent short Session this Committee could not be appointed, because there was no Welsh Member upon it, and for some time they had to wait until the two Whips could agree. This Committee should be in a different position from any other Committee in that they should have experts, and Parties and nationalities should not be specially represented upon it. He suggested that the Government should take a couple of Gentlemen who were experts. There was one on the opposite side and one on that side of the House. If they had a big Committee divided into sub-Committees, when a complaint was made it was difficult to find the Members of these sub-Committees. The Gentlemen of the Press, for whom the Committee used to cater, got dissatisfied, and were now catered for more reasonably and efficiently by the Army and Navy Stores. A small Committee of experts such as he suggested would do the work much more efficiently and economically. If this were not done they would have to go back to the system of catering by a contractor.


Does the hon. Gentleman object to the name?


To all the names except Mr. Curran and Lord Stanley.


The hon. Member has appealed to the Government. I must be understood as not venturing to speak for my colleagues, and to speak only as a Private Member. [''Oh, oh!"] The hon. Member has argued the matter on the ground of economy, but I cannot follow him in that argument. It is on behalf of Members who have to dine here, and not on behalf of the public funds, that I would support what he has said. The hon. Member has suggested that in appointing a large Committee as we have hitherto done, we ought to have regard to Parties and nationalities. I can conceive that nationalities may desire to be represented in regard to their special dishes; but even preference of this kind, for which I have the highest respect, may be secured by proxy. It is hardly necessary that a large contingent of Scotchmen should be appointed in order that the menu may contain such items as cockaleekie and Scotch woodcock. [Laughter, and several Members, ''Haggis!"] We are all ready to accept as parts of our ordinary fare, Welsh rabbit and Irish stew. Although I have sympathy with the suggestion that nationalities shall be represented, I believe a better way can be found of securing the object aimed at; and I cannot see any need for the representation of Parties. I never heard of a Conservative as opposed to a Liberal or a Radical dish. [SEVERAL MEMBERS: ''Turtle!"] Surely turtle is above Party. Although a strong partisan, I could never accept or reject a dish on the ground that it was originally suggested by a different Party from that to which I belong. In my opinion, the interests of Members who are compelled to dine here frequently will be best served by a small Committee, and the House will recollect we have an old adage which says, ''Too many cooks spoil the broth.'' [Laughter and cheers.]


Let me remind the House of a sound Constitutional practice, as distinct from the revolutionary doctrine just propounded, and it is that all Committees shall be largely representative. The idea of so small a body as three, with two for a quorum, on so important a subject as this, seems to me to be a departure from immemorial practice and Constitutional usage. From a national point of view I am tolerably neutral, because by birth I am an Englishman, my sympathies are largely Irish, and I have the honour to represent a Scotch constituency; therefore I am neutral, although not indifferent to national dishes; I think they are all good, but for my part I prefer French. [Great laughter.] Seriously, it is a new departure to commit the business to so small a Committee, even although they are experts, as is proposed by my hon. Friend; and I do not know how far their expertness has been acquired in fields which would recommend the results to the sympathies of this House. However that may be, I think the House had better follow usage, and accept the Motion as it stands on the Paper.


wished to call attention to the somewhat peculiar position occupied by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham. The Motion was made by the Chief Whip of the Government, and presumably, therefore, on their behalf; and yet the Colonial Secretary supported the rejection of it. Again, the Committee proposed included a number of Gentlemen who for some time had discharged the duties to the satisfaction of the House; but the right hon. Gentleman, who never dined at the House, would dispense with their services; without any notice, the right hon. Gentleman asked the House to dismiss them from their position. This was unfair and disrespectful. One of the most important functions of the Committee was to taste the various brands of wine that were submitted for approval, and it was unfair to ask that three gentlemen should have to discharge such onerous duties. He would stand by the Government against the Secretary for the Colonies.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

said, the Colonial Secretary had discussed the matter from all points of the compass except one, and there was one dish he had not mentioned, which was suprêmeà la Kriiger. [Laughter.]

Mr. Broadhurst, Mr. R. F. Cavendish, Mr. Thomas Curran, Mr. Fellowes, General Goldsworthy, Mr. Jacoby, Mr. Kearley, Mr. Lafone, Mr. Llewellyn, Colonel Lockwood, Mr. Macdona, Mr. Lloyd Morgan, and Lord Stanley, nominated other Members of the Committee.

Ordered, That Three be the quorum.

Ordered, That the Committee do consist of Seventeen Members.

Ordered, That Mr. Cochrane and Mr. William Redmond be added to the Committee.—(Sir William Walrond.)