HC Deb 29 April 1897 vol 48 cc1247-8

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will consider the advisability of so altering Standing Order No. 30 of the House of Commons as to provide that when, in the opinion of Mr. Speaker or of the Chairman of Committees, a Division is frivolously claimed, and the names of Members challenging the decision of Mr. Speaker or of the Chairman of Committees are taken down, the names of such Members shall not appear in the Division Lists or that the record of such names shall not count as a Division: and whether, if such alteration should not appear to be advisable, he will provide that the names of Members supporting the decision of Mr. Speaker and the Chairman of Committees shall also be recorded?


I think that the rule, at all events as at present worked in the House, is certainly unsatisfactory. [Cheers. I cannot promise my hon. Friend to bring forward in the immediate future a new Standing Order remedying the defect which I think has been shown to attach to the working of the Standing Order; but I think that the matter does deserve the attention of the House.


asked Mr. Speaker whether, in view of the words of the Standing Order No. 30, it was correct to interpret that such divisions should be counted as such, or whether it was correct, to say that they were not divisions. [Cries of" Oh, oh!"]


The Question put by the hon. Member on the Paper called my particular attention to the terms of the Standing Order, and on consideration of them I have come to the conclusion that a vote of the House taken under that Standing Order is not a Division. [Cheers.] The Standing Order provides that the Speaker or Chairman, after calling on the Ayes and Noes to rise in their places, shall— either declare the determination of the House or name Tellers for a Division, and, in case there is no Division, shall declare to the House or Committee the number of the, minority who had challenged his decision, and their names shall be thereupon taken down in the House and printed with the list of Divisions. The effect appears to me to be that it is a vote of the House, the result of which is declared from the Chair without any Division. It is a technical point, but that, I think, is the effect of the Standing Order. The Standing Order no doubt requires that the names of those who voted in the minority shall be printed with the list of Divisions, but such record ought not to be numbered or reckoned as a Division. [Cheers.] I shall give directions that in future the practice of printing it as a Division be discontinued.