HC Deb 08 March 1901 vol 90 cc1047-8
MR. PLUMMER (Newcastle-on-Tyne)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will undertake to consider the desirability of so amending the Rules and Orders or custom of the House as to provide that the House need not necessarily be cleared for a division, and that the votes of Members who remain in their places shall not be accounted in the division, which will proceed to be taken notwithstanding their absence from the lobbies.


The present method of working divisions seems to me in the main convenient. It is founded upon practice and not upon Standing Order, and I presume that under those circumstances it could be changed without an alteration of our Standing Orders.


I beg to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether a resolution of the House would be necessary to bring about an alteration of the practice in question.


I should not like to say, as I have had no notice of this question, and, as far as I know, there is no resolution which would be considered binding on the House on the subject. But I have not made any research. I understand that, as the First Lord of the Treasury says, it is a matter of practice, and the practice as to the mode of taking divisions has been altered in my own time in some small details.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

Does not the question of clearing the House depend upon the Standing Order?


I do not think so, but I should not like to answer the question dogmatically without notice.

MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

If there is no Standing Order requiring that Members should proceed to a division, on what ground is it that they are suspended for not going to a division?


Order! The hon. Member is entering into an argument.