HC Deb 14 May 1896 vol 40 cc1309-10

asked Mr. Speaker whether it was competent for hon. Members, who were not present at prayers, to secure seats subsequently by affixing their cards to them? During the prayers just over but very few Members were present on the Opposition side of the House, and some of the Benches were absolutely empty, yet cards had now been put on the backs of a great number of seats for the purpose of securing places. Ho had always understood that when this was done it was supposed to denote that the Members concerned had been present at prayers. Therefore, the presence of a Member's card, when the Member had not assisted at prayers, suggested what was not true.

MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

wished to say, if the hon. Member referred to him, that he was present at prayers, but not on the Bench to which he had affixed his card.

MR. W. JONES (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)

explained that he was also present.

MR. T. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

pointed out that many of the cards affixed to seats belonged to Members serving on Committees upstairs.


said, that he had seen the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean Division of Gloucestershire put his card and that of the hon. Member for Northampton on seats below the Gangway, neither of those hon. Members having been present at prayers.

* SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

explained that he had come in just as prayers ended. He understood that what he had done was permitted by the courtesy of the House.


said that he did not wish to refer to any particular case, but the Rule was quite clear that hon. Members were not entitled to use their cards for the purpose of retaining seats unless they were present at prayers.