HC Deb 12 February 1924 vol 169 cc741-3

I wish to raise a point of Order in connection with the distribution of tickets for seats arising out of what, took place this morning. I myself and others, who may be called first nighters, came here at an early hour this morning and formed in a queue in order to secure tickets for seats. No sooner were we in the queue, however, than there was an ungodly rush from behind which made the distribution of tickets in a proper manner impossible, and I was thrown on the floor and made into a carpet and walked on. I have no objection whatever to a return of the Prodigal Son. My only objection is to being considered by anybody as a fit subject for the fatted calf. Therefore I wish to ask you, if it is not possible to make some regulations, so as avoid a repetition of such incidents in future. I know that these incidents do not occur very often, but in the present conditions of politics nobody knows how often they will happen. Therefore I should he much obliged, if you can lay down some regulations for what I may call first nighters who assemble here early in the morning.


May I mention that two lady Members who were here before eight o'clock were swept clean out of the way and their headgear strewn all over the place. Would you, Mr. Speaker, give orders that as from to-morrow all Members who assemble in order to get tickets shall take their place in a queue, as if they were waiting for a 'bus?


This is the first news which I have heard of the mishap that occurred this morning. Apparently if there were any lack of order, it was merely a lack of order on the part of some particular hon. Member which, I am sure, will not be repeated, but I will make inquiries with regard to the officials, for whom I am responsible, so as to ensure that in future matters shall be conducted in an orderly manner.


May I assure you that the officials were in no way to blame. The officials opening the door were swept aside immediately. The official in charge of the giving out of the tickets worked to the best of his ability, and we are casting no reflection whatever on any of these gentlemen.


As one of those who were present this morning, may I say that the whole trouble arose owing to the overwhelming number of hon. Gentlemen on that [Ministerial] side of the House who put in an appearance, and the rather unruly manner—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order" and "Withdraw! "]


I hope hon. Members will not make reflections on one another. It will now be for me to institute inquiries.


Will you, Sir, when making those inquiries, consider the advisability of the doors being opened somewhat later, so that Members desiring to secure seats will not, be expected to sit up all night.

Lieut.-Colonel J. WARD

There is another similar point which to me is much more important in view of the state of the parties. Would it not be infinitely better if the seats on the cross benches below the Bar were considered as part of the House. They are likely to be occupied much more in the future than they have been hitherto. I consider, and I believe I express the opinion of a great number of Members, that there should be no seats on the Floor of the House, other than those occupied by the officials behind the Chair, that are not available to Members, and in which they can transact their business, and from which, if necessary, they can speak?


I will consider that question with the other matter.


May I draw your attention to one thing which occurred this morning. When the rush took place, one hon. Member put his hat on a seat, and then went to get a ticket. Does the placing of a hat on a seat secure that seat?


That is a very old custom of the House, but I will consider the point with the others.