HC Deb 30 December 1912 vol 46 cc57-8

May I respectfully direct your attention, Mr. Speaker, to what I consider is a very serious inroad on the time, which is a strictly limited time, for interrogating Ministers? That time has been encroached upon during the last six weeks, day after day, by the presentation of great numbers of petitions. The rule under which petitions can be publicly presented before questions was long in operation before the limited time for questions was decided upon, and I respectfully suggest to you that you should limit the number of petitions publicly presented to a certain strict number on any one day, so as to prevent the time limit for questions being so unduly encroached upon. Sometimes it has been encroached upon to the extent of ten and even fifteen minutes.


I do not think I ought to take it upon myself to limit the time that is open to hon. Members for presenting petitions publicly. That would have to be done, if done at all, by Order of the House. It is one of the few privileges which the public have. I remember that Mr. Gladstone compared the privilege of petitioning to the privilege of voting, and I should be the last person to endeavour in any way to stop that privilege.

Allotted Day. Proceedings. Time for Proceedings to be brought to a conclusion.
First New Clauses 7.30
Clause 1
Second Clause 1 7.30
Clause 2 to the end of paragraph (10) 10.30
Third The remainder of Clause 2, and Clause 3 7.30
Clauses 4 to 7 10.30
Fourth Clause 8 7.30
Clauses 9 to 14 10,30
Fifth Clauses 15 to 21 7.30
Clauses 22 to 27 10.30
Sixth Clauses 28 to 30 7.30
Clauses 31 to 39 10.30
Seventh Clauses 40 to 46 7.30
Clauses 47 to 49 and Schedules 10.30"

May I ask you, Sir, with great respect, whether you are aware that since Mr. Gladstone's time the privilege of petitioning has been abused by the presentation of bogus petitions?


I do not think that has arisen first since Mr. Gladstone's time.


Is my hon. and learned Friend right in suggesting that there have been petitions against Home Rule? I do not think there have been any at all.


That would appear by reference to the Report of the Committee on Petitions.