HC Deb 01 June 1908 vol 189 cc1572-3

I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether it has been the custom when changes in the constitution or powers of any body are impending, and legislation for that purpose is adumbrated by the responsible Government of the day, to refrain from making additions to the body thus circumstanced which are not rendered mandatory by statute while such changes are pending; and on what ground, having regard to the legislation in reference to modifications in the constitution of the House of Lords foreshadowed in the King's Speech at the opening of the session of 1907, and the Resolutions of the House of Commons in June, 1907, moved by the late Prime Minister on the same subjects, have additions been made by the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown in the creation of peerages to the number of the Members of the House of Lords.


I am not aware that there is any historical foundation for the custom alleged in the first part of the Question. There does not appear to be anything in the proposals referred to in the second part of the Question to interfere in point, either of logic or of policy, with the regular exercise of the prerogative of the Crown in the bestowal of honours.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, when Mr. Gladstone brought forward his Resolutions against the Irish Church, and when those Resolutions were carried, he immediately obtained an Address from the Crown—a notification that its prerogatives would be in abeyance pending legislation? The right hon. Gentleman has got his Resolution about the House of Lords; will he—


Order, order. The hon. Member's Question is in the nature of a speech.


No, Sir, only a commentary.


I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether in view of the fact that this Government, since it came into office in December, 1905, has created a number of peers, he will now give this House an assurance that it will, during its tenure of office, make no further recommendations to the Crown for the creation of any additions to that Chamber.


The Answer is in the negative.

MR. BOTTOMLEY (Hackney, S.)

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the desirableness of suspending the creation of further peerages until the Chancellor of the Exchequer has had an opportunity of considering my suggestion for the taxation of titles?

[No Answer was returned.]