HC Deb 07 March 1901 vol 90 cc780-5
MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

said the Instruction which he proposed to move spoke for itself, its intention being that equal treatment should be given to all Member's of the House alike, and he ventured to think that the present was a most opportune time for moving such an Instruction, having regard to the fact that this was a new Parliament. A practice had of late grown up to exempt barristers and others who did not care to serve on Select Committees. No such intention existed when such Committees were originally set up, and the practice should no longer be permitted. In the minds of most lion. Members, serving upon these Committees was nothing less than drudgery, and in many cases only performed from a high sense of public duty. A Return which was published in connection with this subject showed that half the Members of the House never served on a single Committee throughout the last Parliament, the result being that half the Members of the House had done the whole of this unpleasant work.* A large number of those who did none of this work were barristers, who claimed exemption, and what lie desired to put a stop to was any favour of this kind being granted to a particular class. Of all people in the world, of all Members of the House, barristers were least entitled to this privilege. They were specially fitted, from their legal training, to sit upon Committees, where the duties consisted of hearing and sifting evidence, and they were men who made the least sacrifices and had most to gain of any class of men who entered Parliament.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That it be an Instruction to the Committee that, in selecting Members to serve on Committees for the consideration of Private Bills, exemption shall not be granted to any Member on the ground of *The Returns showing the service of Members on Private Bill and Select Committees are included in the Appendices to the last volume of Debates each session. his private profession, business, or avocation, and all Members shall receive equal treatment and consideration."— (Mr. D. A. Thomas.)

*MR. HALSEY (Hertfordshire, Watford),

as Chairman of the Committee of Selection, objected that the motion, if carried, would limit the scope and would take away all discretion from the Committee of Selection as to the choice of Members who should serve. If it were carried, the Selection Committee would be no longer able to select: they would have no choice; they would have merely to establish a sort of rota, every Member in turn having to serve, no matter how unsuitable he might be for the particular Committee for which he was selected. The existing instructions to the Committee were sufficient, in his opinion, and in the opinion of his predecessor, Sir John Mowbray. Therefore he thought the motion should not be accepted, but that the hands of the Committee of Selection should be left free. Neither practising barristers nor any other class had a right to be exempted on the ground of their profession or avocation, but on the other hand it was not right to say that no exemption should be given to any person on any ground. Every application for exemption should be considered on its merits, and the Committee should deal with each case as it came before them. All Members were bound to serve on Committees when called upon, and they ought not to be relieved of their duty except under special circumstances. The power in the hands of the Committee of Selection was a very great power; it was exercised with the greatest care. The way in which the Committee did its work was advantageous to Parliament, and, in. his opinion, it would be undesirable to reconsider the rules. Admittedly committee work was much more arduous than in former times, owing to so many more measures coming before it, and it was as much the duty of Members to serve on Committees as to attend the sittings of the House. He was glad to say that

Abraham, Wm. (Rhondda) Archdale, Edward Mervyn Barlow, John Emmott
Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitlRoy Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)
Allhusen, Augustus Henry E. Bam, Colonel James Robert Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.
Ambrose, Robert Balcarres, Lord Bell, Richard

there were encouraging signs that Members were becoming more alive to this duty, and this session fewer Members had endeavoured to raise objections than had been the case for a long time past. On the other hand, he was pleased to say he had had many applications from, young embers eager to serve on Committees, and those applications would be encouraged. Under those circumstances lie urged the House to leave well alone and not to accept the motion of the hon. Member.

MR. FLYNN (Cork Co., N.)

did not desire to occupy the attention of the House for more than a momont, but as admittedly there were many Members of me House who never sat on Committees, he thought the motion ought to be supported.

CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington. W.)

supported the Instruction on the ground of the equality of all Members of the House so far as their duty to their constituencies was concerned. He was glad to learn that many new Members were, as had been suggested, desirous of serving on these Committees, but many new Members not in the position of distinguished lawyers, bankers, or merchants— Members representing Labour constituencies—devoted their time and did their duty as members of these Committees, whilst others were allowed to shirk their duty by obtaining exemptions. This was a matter which affected the whole of the Members of the House, and it was monstrous that one set of Members should receive exemptions which were not extended to all. The fact of the matter was that a certain number of Members wished to have the honour of sitting in the House, but shirked doing their fair share of this arduous and distasteful work. He cordially supported the Instruction.

Question put.

The House divided:—Aves, 130; Noes, 282. (Division List No. 41.)

Boland, John Hayden. John Patrick Partington, Oswald
Boyle, James Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Pemberton, John S. G.
Brand, Hon. Arthur G. Helme, Norval Watson Pirie, Duncan V.
Brigg, John Hermon-Hodge, Robert T. Power, Patrick Joseph
Bullard, Sir Harry Hobhouse, C. E. H.(Bristol, E.) Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Burns, John Hope, J. F. (Shef'ld, Brightside Rasch, Major Frederic. Carne
Burt, Thomas Horniman, Frederick John Reddy, M.
Caine, William Sproston Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Redmond, William (Clare)
Caldwell, James Joicey, Sir James Renshaw, Charles Bine
Cameron, Robert Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.) Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Carew, James Laurence Joyce, Michael Russell, T. W.
Channing, Francis Allston Kearley, Hudson E. Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-
Churchill, Winston Spencer Kennedy, Patrick James Sandys, Lt.-Col Thos. Myles
Cogan, Denis J. Kenyon-Slaney, Col.W.(Salop) Schwann, Charles E.
Colville, John Labouchere, Henry Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lambert, George Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Layland-Barratt, Francis Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Delany, William Leng, Sir John Soares, Ernest J.
Dickinson. Robert Edmond Lloyd-George, David Stevenson, Francis S.
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Lough, Thomas Strachey, Edward
Duffy, William J. Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale) Sullivan, Donal
Elibank, Master of Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Taylor, Theodore Cooke
Fardell, Sir T. George MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Thomas, F. Freeman-(Has tings
Farrell, James Patrick Mather, William Thompson, F.W.(York, W.R.)
Flower, Ernest Molesworth, Sir Lewis Warner, Thos. Conrtenay T.
Flynn, James Christopher Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Weir, James Calloway
Furness, Sir Christopher Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport) White, George (Norfolk)
Garfit, William Murphy, J. White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Goddard, Daniel Ford Newnes, Sir George Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Gordon, Maj. Evans (T'rH'mlts Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid)
Grant, Corrie Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.)
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Greville, Hon. Ronald O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid) Wodehouse, Hn. Armine (Essex
Gurdon, Sir William Brampton O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wodehouse, Sir J.T (Huddersfd
Guthrie, Walter Murray O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Young, Commander (Berks, E.
Hammond, John O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.) Yoxall, James Henry
Hardie, J. Keir (Mcrthyr Tydvil O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Harmsworth, R. Leicester O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Harrington, Timothy O'Kelly. J. (Roscommon, N.) Mr. D. A. Thomas and Mr. Fenwick.
Harwood, George O'Mara, James
Haslem, Sir Alfred S. O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Bowles, Capt. H.F. (Middlesex) Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn) Cubitt, Hon. Henry
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Brassey, Albert Dalrymple, Sir Charles
Aird, Sir John Broadhurst, Henry Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan
Allsopp, Hon. George Brodrick, Rt Hon. St. John Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Dewar, T.R (T'rH'mlets, S. Geo.
Anstruther, H. T. Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Dickson-Povnder, Sir John P.
Arkwright John Stanhope Burdett-Coutts. W. Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Arrol, Sir William Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Dillon, John
Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis Carble, William Walter Dimsdale, Sir J. Cockfield
Atherley-Jones, L. Causton, Richard Knight Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.) Doxford, Sir William Theodore
Bailey, James (Walworth) Cavendish, V. C.W.(Derbysh) Duncan, James H.
Baird, John George Alexander Cawley, Frederick Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin
Baldwin, Alfred Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Dyke. Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r Edwards, Frank
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds Chaplin, lit. Hon. Henry Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas
Balfour, Maj. K.R. (Christch.) Charrington, Spencer Ellis, John Edward
Banes, Major George Edward Clare, Octavius Leigh Emmott, Alfred
Barry, Sir Francis T (Windsor Coddington, Sir William Faber, George Denison
Bartley, George C. T. Coghill, Douglas Harry Farquharson, Dr. Robert,
Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin Cohen, Benjamin Louis Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol Colomb,Sir John Charles Ready Ferguson, R. C. Mun'ro (Leith)
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J. (Manc'r
Bigwood, James Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Bill, Charles Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge Finch, George H.
Black, Alexander William Craig, Robert Hunter Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne
Blake, Edward Cranborne, Viscount Fisher, William Hayes
Blundell, Colonel Henry Cripps, Charles Alfred Fison, Frederick William
Boulnois, Edmund Crombie, John William Fitzroy, Hon. E. Algernon
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Radcliffe, R. E.
Fletcher, Sir Henry Macartney, Rt. Hn W.G. Ellison Redmond, John E.(Waterford)
Forster, Henry William Macdona, John dimming Reid, James (Greenock)
Foster, Sir M. (London Univ. Maconochie, A. W. Rentoul, James Alexander
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry M'Ciae, George Ridley, Hn. M.W. (Stalybridge
Gibbs, Hn A.G.H. (CityofLond. M'Dermott, Patrick Ratcme, Rt. Hn. Chas Thomson
Gibbs, Hn.Vicary (St. Albans) M'Kenna, Reginald Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Gordon, Hn. J.E. (Elgin&Naim M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire Roche, John
Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) M'Killop, W. (Sligo, N.) Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby- M'Laren, Charles Banjamin Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Greene, Sir EW (B'ry S. Edm'ds Majendie, James A. H. Ropner, Colonel Robert
Gretton, John Malcolm, Ian Royds, Clement Molyneux
Griffith, Ellis J. Manners, Lord Cecil Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Groves, James Grimble Markham, Arthur Basil Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse
Hain, Edward Martin, Richard Biddulph Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Hambro, Charles Eric Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H E.(Wig'n Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Hamilton, Rt Hn. Lord G (M'd'x Maxwell, W. J.H. (Dumfriessh. Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J
Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nd'rry Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. William Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William Middlemore, John T. Seton-Karr, Henry
Hare, Thomas Leigh Milner. Rt. Hon. Sir Eredk. G. Sharpe, William Edward T.
Harris, E. Leverton (Tynem'th Milton, Viscount Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Haslett, Sir James Horner Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Shaw-Stewart, M. H.(Renfrew
Hay, Hon. Claude George Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants) Simeon, Sir Barrington
Heath, A. Howard (Hanley) Mooney, John J. Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Heath, Jas. (Staffords., N.W. Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.
Heaton, John Henniker Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow) Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Helder, Augustus Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Spencer, RtHnC. R. (Northants
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Morley, Charles (Breconshire) Stanley, Hn.Arthur (Ormskirk
Hickman, Sir Alfred Morley, Rt. Hon. J. (Moutrose) Stanley,Edw.James (Somerset
Hoare, Edw. B. (Hampstead) Morrell, George Herbert Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)
Hobhouse, Hy. (Somerset, E.) Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F. Stone, Sir Benjamin
Horner, Frederick William Morton, A. H. A. (Deptfo'rd) Stroyan, John
Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry Mount, William Arthur Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Hoult, Joseph Mowbray, Sir Robert Grav C. Talbot, RtHn.J.G.(Oxt'd Univ.)
Howard, Capt J (Kent, Faversh. Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute Thorburn, Sir Walter
Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Thornton, Percy M.
Hudson, George Bickersteth Myers, William Henry Tollemache, Henry James
Hughes, Col. Edwin Nannetti, Joseph P. Tomkinson, James
Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. L. Newdigate, Francis Alexander Tomhnson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Nicholson, William Graham Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Johnston, William (Belfast) Nicol, Donald Ninian Tritton, Charles Eruest
Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N. Tufnell, Colonel Edward
Jones, David B. (Swansea) Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Tully, Jasper
Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Valentia, Viscount
Kimber, Henry O'Malley, William Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)
Kinloch, Sir J. George Smyth Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Wallace, Robert
Kitson, Sir James Palmer, Sir C M. (Durham) Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.
Knowles, Lees Palmer, George W. (Reading) Wanklyn, James Leslie
Law, Andrew Bonar Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Warr, Augustus Frideriek
Lawrence, William E. Parkes, Ebenezer Wason, E. (Clackmannan)
Lawson, John Grant Paulton, James Mellor Wason, John C. (Orkney)
Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. Edw. H. Pease, H. Pike (Darlington) Welby, Lt-Col A. C. E (Taunton
Lee, Capt A. H. (Hants, Fareh'm Percy, Earl Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd
Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington) Perks, Robert William Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Pilkington, Richard Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Platt-Higgins, Frederick Williams, Rt Hn J Powell-(Birm
Leighton, Stanley Plummer, Walter R. Wills, Sir Frederick
Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S. Powell, Sir Frances Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Pretyman, Ernest George Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham) Price, Robert John Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S Purvis, Robert Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Pym, C. Guy Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Lowe, Francis William Quilter, Sir Cuthbert TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kent) Randies, John S. Mr. Halsey and Mr. Sydney
Loyd, Archie Kirkman Rankin, Sir James Buxton.