HC Deb 27 July 1908 vol 193 cc888-9
*MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)

asked the Speaker's ruling on a matter arising out of certain occurrences which took place in the forenoon in Standing Committee C. That Committee met at noon to consider the Coal Mines (Eight Hours) Bill. It became apparent that neither the Home Secretary nor the Undersecretary to the Homo Office had been nominated a member of the Committee. The Committee adjourned to see whether some arrangement could be arrived at By Standing Order 48 it was provided that the nomination, discharge, or substitution of members of a Standing Committee were matters solely for the Committee of Selection. At a quarter-to-one o'clock the Committee reassembled, and the Clerk informed hon. Members that by the direction of the Committee of Selection two hon. Gentlemen had been discharged from the Standing Committee and the two Ministers nominated in their places. He now understood, however, that no meeting of the Committee of Selection, of which three members formed a quorum, had in fact been held for this purpose; and that no valid direction of the nature suggested could therefore have been made by them. In these circumstances he wished to know whether the Home Secretary or the Under-Secretary were members of the Standing Committee, and, if not, whether the proceedings of the Committee were valid, and whether any votes either of them had recorded were valid.


replied that the statement was correct, except in one particular —namely, when he said that the Committee of Selection made no order. He held in his hand the Report of the Committee, which stated that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Members had been discharged, and the Home Secretary and others put in their places. He could not go behind that.


apologised to the House for the mistake which had been made, and explained that it was largely due to the illness of the Clerk of the Committee which prevented the orders of the Committee receiving that careful scrutiny which they always had.