HC Deb 03 May 1906 vol 156 cc742-3
Mr. PAUL (Northampton)

Before I ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether he will put down the salary of the Secretary of State for War for discussion in Committee of Supply on Thursday, May 10, or Thursday, May 17, Mr. Speaker, will you kindly give your ruling on a point of order? When I put down a Question addressed to the "Prime Minister," those words are struck out at the Table and the words "First Lord of the Treasury" are substituted. I understood that the King had been pleased to confer the style and title of Prime Minister, and appropriate precedence, on the head of his Government, and that it was, therefore, now the official designation of the right hon. Gentleman. And I have observed for my guidance that you yourself, Sir, make use of it when you call on the right hon. Gentleman in debate. Perhaps you will be good enough to say, for the information of the House, and of the Table, whether I rightly apprehend the significance of His Majesty s most gracious act.


This Question which the hon. Gentleman has put to me is one, I think, of which notice ought to be given, though I am afraid it is not usual to give notice of Questions to the Speaker. If I am asked to decide the Question at a moment's notice, I should say that Prime Minister was the proper designation. I always so refer to the right hon. Gentleman.


I beg to thank you most respectfully, Sir, for your reply, and to ask the Prime Minister the Question.


I hope my hon. friend will find that the rose by either name will give the same answer. I fear that the arrangements for public business will not admit of either of the days named being appropriated for the War Office Vote; but I am aware of the undertaking that was given in the matter, and I hope that there will be an early opportunity of fulfilling it.


Is it not the custom for the choice of the subjects taken in Committee of Supply to be regulated, in a large measure, after consultation with the minority of the House? Will that arrangement continue to be observed?


Yes, I think it is the usual practice at any rate; but it is a practice against which I have always protested, because I have always had the impression that the Government, being responsible for the conduct of business, ought not to put upon the Opposition, or any minority, the responsibility of the choice of the subject of the day. But as a matter of courtsey and convenience, of course, the wishes of the Opposition will be duly consulted.