HC Deb 29 March 1911 vol 23 cc1322-3

asked the Prime Minister: (1) Whether, with a view to obtaining practical suggestions towards completing the business of the House invariably by eleven o'clock at night, he will appoint a small commission to study the procedure in the Parliaments of France, Germany, the. United States, and the self-governing dominions; (2) whether he will take steps to secure the early preparation of a Paper, to be circulated amongst the Members of this House, showing how often, during the last five years, the business of the House has been conducted after midnight, as compared with what has taken place during the same period in the Parliaments of France, Germany, the United States and the self-governing dominions; and (3) whether he will order the preparation of a Paper, to be circulated among the Members of this House, giving a clear exposition of the methods of procedure of the Chamber of Deputies in Franco, and particularly of the system of permanent commissions, by which, while the fullest ventilation and discussion of all measures is obtained, the time of the Chamber is so economised as to render all-night sittings very exceptional?


The returns for which the hon. Member asks would involve a considerable amount of time and trouble, and, in view of the rarity of very late sittings here and of the different conditions under which foreign legislatures work, I do not think I would be justified in acting upon his suggestions.


Is there any guillotine procedure in any of the countries alluded to?


I would like notice of that question.


In view of the probability of long sittings during the next few weeks, will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of meeting in the morning at ten o'clock rather than that debates should be prolonged?


I cannot hold out any hope.


May I ask the right non. Gentleman whether, with a view to obviating the necessity for these ridiculous all-night sittings, he would consider the propriety of bringing the Standing Orders of this House into conformity with the Licensing Acts, so that after 12.30 no effective refreshments may be served?