HC Deb 19 February 1901 vol 89 cc496-7
MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury who was responsible for placing the stand allotted to Members of the Houses of Parliament at the funeral of Her late Majesty at so great a distance from the route of the procession; and whether he will consent to the appointment of a permanent committee of unofficial Members on both sides of the House who would have the right of approving such arrangements as it may be necessary to make when the House of Commons takes part in any State function.


The route of the funeral of her late Majesty was selected and the general arrangements, made by the Earl Marshal, and were not under the control of the Government. For the stand allotted to Members of Parliament I am responsible, and the site selected was the only one available on the line of route which was at the disposal, of the Government. It is a matter of regret to me that no better provision could be made. I may add that on the occasion referred to I was at pains to submit what I thought could be done to the authorities of the House for their approval. With regard to the last paragraph of the question, I may observe that the suggestion appears to me hardly a practicable one or suitable for all circumstances and occasions. The erection of stands on these occasions is no part of my official duty, though I am always anxious to meet the general convenience of Members of the House, and to consider any representations that may reach me.

* MR. ALFRED DAVIES (Carmarthen Boroughs)

May I ask how it was there were no covers on this stand?


Perhaps the hon. Member is not aware of the great difficulties which occurred in getting any accommodation for members. There was extremely short time after the route was settled—I think only four days—and it has always been the practice of this Government and other Governments not to enclose for any privileged class any portion of the ground reserved for the public. There was literally no time to put up a cover, and I doubt whether we should have been justified in putting it up, thereby excluding the view of those behind.


May I also ask if it would not have been better to have had no place at all than such a stand?


Were any steps taken by the right hon. Gentleman or any other person in responsible authority to represent to the Earl Marshal that the position of the stand or the route of the procession was most inconvenient for Members of the House?


I have said that there was very short time. I had no authority to act for the House, but I acted in the belief that hon. Members would desire the best accommodation they could get, and I placed before the Earl Marshal the desirableness of affording some accommodation for Members. This was literally the only accommodation that could be found.