HC Deb 25 June 1902 vol 110 cc12-3

said he desired to ask a Question with reference to a matter of practice, and to base it on the course adopted by Mr. Speaker Peel in 1891. On Monday last it would be remembered, Black Rod summoned the Speaker to the bar of the Upper House, and thereby encroached on the time allotted for Questions. In a similar case in 1891, Mr. Speaker Peel communicated with the officers of the House of Lords in order to secure that when Black Rod appeared, his intervention should be at an opportune time. It would be seen on reference to Hansard, June 11th, 1891, that a Question was addressed to Mr. Speaker on the subject of the interruption. He would only ask whether, acting on that precedent, some arrangement would be made with the officers of the House of Lords by which the limited time allotted for Questions would not be curtailed by the intervention of Black Rod.


The case to which the hon. Member refers was one in which Black Rod came while a debate was proceeding, and interrupted the debate. Since then it has been the practice of the Lords Commissioners to send Black Rod down at a time that has been found to be the most convenient—that is, immediately after prayers. Undoubtedly our rules have somewhat affected the convenience of that arrangement. I have no reason to suppose the Lords Commissioners will raise any objection to sending Black Rod at such a time as is found to be convenient to this House. The real difficulty is for this House to settle what is the most convenient time at which Black Rod should come with these messages. I have had that matter under consideration, and at the present moment my impression is that immediately after prayers is not an inconvenient time, provided the day is one on which there are not many questions.