HC Deb 28 July 1919 vol 118 cc1823-4
Lieut.-Colonel GUINNESS

I want to draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to a matter where difference of practice has arisen in Standing Committees. For some years past certain Chairmen of Standing Committees have followed the practice ob served in Select Committees of allowing Members to refer to one another by name. Lately, however, on several Standing Committees that practice has been objected to, and lion, and learned and gallant Members have had to refer to each other by those forms of circumlocution which are followed in this House. For the sake of uniformity, I beg to ask for your ruling?


The lion, and gallant Member gave me notice a few days ago that he desired to ask this question. I have, therefore, taken steps to ascertain what has been the practice in the past. As Jar as I am able to ascertain, the practice seems to have varied according to the idiosyncrasies of the Chairman. I gather that until recently the general practice has followed the system which obtains in this House of calling hon. Members by their constituencies. Latterly, I think the prevailing practice has rather been that of referring to hon. Members by name. Now that the debates in the Standing Committees are officially reported, they assume rather a more formal character. The de bates in Select Committee, if there are Any, are of an informal character, and here fore it is quite natural that in Select Committee Members should refer to each other by name. I think that, in view of the fact that the Standing Committees now consist of about seventy members, and that they follow the practice in almost all details of the procedure of this House, the better course would be in that respect also to follow the procedure of the House. I do not wish in anything I am saying to fetter the discretion of the Chairmen of the Standing Committees. It is very desirable that the authority of the Chair men in those Committees should be fully maintained, and I would not like anything that I have said to interfere with it. I have no authority or power to press my views upon the Chairmen of Standing Committees, and I do not wish to fetter them in any course which they may think desirable.

Lieut.-Colonel MURRAY

May we take it that the Government are not to under stand from anything you have said that the Grand Committee system which they have initiated has been a success?


We are not talking about their success, so that the observation of the hon. and gallant Member does not seem to be quite relevant.