HC Deb 11 April 1922 vol 153 cc239-40

The hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Mr. Wallace) has given notice that he proposes to introduce a Bill dealing with the duration of speeches in Parliament. In my opinion, a Motion of this kind is not in order, because it would have the effect of submitting the Procedure of this House to the control of the other House. I think this House, by its custom and tradition, will never allow that. I further base myself on the ruling of my predecessor on the 17th June, 1908, when two hon. Members proposed to bring in Bills to control the Procedure of this House, and on that occasion my predecessor said that he declined to allow the Crown or the House of Lords to have anything to do with the Regulations for the Procedure of this House.


May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether you are aware that in February, 1891, a similar Bill was introduced into this House and was only lost on a division by 24 votes? Under these circumstances, I ask whether that does not establish a precedent which is entitled to equal consideration with the decision which you have just announced which was given by your predecessor?


Yes, I am aware of that precedent. I have looked it up most carefully. I think the fate of that Bill is a lesson. Anyhow, I think the good precedent of 1908 wipes out the bad precedent of 1891.


Will you, Mr. Speaker, kindly give to the younger Members of this House some guidance as to what they will have to adopt to arrive at the result desired?


Common sense.


Hon. Members who desire to shorten speeches will have my sympathy and all the help I can give them. I think they might ballot for Notices of Motion, and in that way advance the cause they have at heart.


Would it not be possible, by a Resolution of the House, to arrive at a proper result on this question?


A Resolution of the House would operate as a Sessional Order, and it could be converted into a Standing Order, if the House thought fit. There have been, on many occasions, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, Motions for a Debate on this very subject.