HC Deb 12 March 1896 vol 38 c780
MR. T. LEGH (Lancashire, Newton)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, if he will consider the advisability of making arrangements by which a fixed interval of one hour may be allowed for dinner?


If my memory serves me right, there was a proposal made by the late Mr. W. H. Smith to the effect that the House should sit every night till one, and that there should be an interval of one hour, between eight and nine for dinner. The dinner hour was given up and the House got to bed an hour earlier in exchange [cheers], and I cannot help thinking that if the same alternative were to be put forth now, the same decision would be arrived at. [Cheers.] At the same time, I am decidedly of opinion that the practice of counting the House during that time has been greatly abused, and, if I saw any means of putting an end to that abuse, I would gladly take advantage of it.


asked was not Mr. Smith's proposal abandoned out of consideration for new Members, and also whether there was any ground for the assumption that new Members were of a more modest and retiring disposition than the Gentlemen who sat in previous Parliaments? [Laughter.]


I suppose my hon. Friend alludes to the fact that the dinner time affords a suitable time for new Members to practise their oratory, and I imagine they are no less anxious to practise oratory in this than in previous Parliaments. [Laughter.] Though I should be sorry to confine them to the dinner hour, it would be very hard to deprive them of that time. [Laughter and "Hear, hear!"]