HC Deb 29 October 1908 vol 195 cc512-3
MR. BELLAIRS (Lynn Regis)

addressed to the Speaker a question affecting the rights of private Members. He said he had placed upon that day's Order Paper two Questions, and they had been postponed by the First Lord of the Admiralty. That morning he received a letter from the right hon. Gentleman asking him to postpone the Questions. He submitted that hon. Members might have an object in placing Questions on the Paper for a particular day, and that they ought not to be deprived of what was practically the only opportunity that private Members had of lording it over His Majesty's Ministers.


said he did not know what the exact circumstances were. The First Lord of the Admiralty was not present, and he would like to hear what, if anything, that right hon. Gentleman had to say before making a pronouncement in reply to the Question. The general rule was that an hon. Member who handed in a Question fixed his own time for asking it, and if the Minister to whom it was addressed had any reason for asking that it might be postponed he did so either by letter or verbally when the Question was called on. Prima facie, he should say that no Minister had a right to order a Question to be put off; that rested with the private Member who put down the Question.

Mr. ESSEX (Gloucestershire, Cirencester)

asked the Speaker whether, if a Question were on the Order Paper of the day, he would consult the hon. Member who had put it down, or refrain from calling it merely on the word of a Minister.


said that if the hon. Member concerned stated that he wished to postpone the Question, of course it was deferred. If he received an intimation from a Minister that he had requested the hon. Member to postpone it, in order to save time he did not call on the hon. Member to put the Question.