HC Deb 27 April 1920 vol 128 cc1047-8

On a point of Order. I desire to ask your ruling, Mr. Speaker, whether the suggestion thrown out to the House by you yesterday is not being acted upon, and whether you are aware that you yourself stated that in your opinion the rule so long in existence had not been abused, and that as a result of the alteration Members of this House who are to-day sitting in Committee upstairs, unable to ask their questions, have been deprived of the opportunity of having the questions asked for them, and that there are Members who never have sat, and have declared that they never will sit upon a Committee upstairs. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name!"]


I threw out the suggestion yesterday. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was present or not. If he was present he would have noticed that what I suggested was received with almost universal acclamation and approbation, and the House is giving it a trial. I think if the House would be patient and give it a few more days' trial it would be in a better position to see whether it works or not.


I was present and took part in the discussion, and resented the suggestion. It is perfectly true that, judging by the acquiescence of the House, the majority were in favour of that proposal, but that does not prevent any minority pointing out to you that in the exercise of their Parliamentary duty in Committee upstairs they ought not to be deprived of the benefit of a long-established rule of allowing someone to ask their questions for them.


It cannot be a great satisfaction to any Member to have someone else ask his question. The reply will be received by him at almost identically the same time, being circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT the next day.


(later): On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker—


It is too late now for a point of Order.