HC Deb 10 July 1924 vol 175 cc2469-70

(by Private Notice) asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the recent late Sittings of Parliament and the physical strain imposed on Members of the House, resulting in the recent incident of a Member's serious collapse, and having regard to the present position of parties in the House, under which the difficulty of minority Government may be experienced by any party in the next few years, he will consider the desirability of consulting all parties with a view to securing the necessary business of Parliament being arranged, so that the Sittings shall not be continued after midnight?


The Government regret that on one or two occasions they have had to ask the House to sit all night, and they would welcome any workable arrangement by which this course could be avoided. They do not think, however, that the adoption of my hon. Friend's suggestion would be profitable at the present time, especially as the Committee dealing with the Sittings of the House is on the point of making its Report.


Would the right hon. Gentleman lay on the Table of the House, for the information, a statement showing the number of occasions when the House has sat after eleven o'clock, and the number of hours during which it has sat, in the Sessions of the last 10 years? I think that the present House has got off very easily.


I will consider that suggestion. The information would be very interesting, but, at the same time, I hope that it will not prevent the growth of a new point of view on the matter.


Have the Government seriously considered the advisability of meeting earlier, and, if not, will my right hon. Friend consult all parties with a view of meeting very much earlier and terminating the proceedings earlier at night?


Is it not the opinion of the Government that the only way in which this question can be satisfactorily settled is by the introduction and passage of a general scheme of devolution of business?


I allowed this question to be put, but it cannot now be debated.


May I have permission to raise it on the Adjournment at the first opportunity?