§ Amendment proposed: In line 2, leave out the word "forty" and insert instead thereof the word "thirty."—[The Prime Minister.]
§ Mr. MAXTON
Has the Prime Minister any statement to make in regard to the point raised by the hon. Member for 484 Govan (Mr. Maclean)? Mr. Speaker ruled it out of Order for discussion, but it is germane to the re-appointment of Committees. It is obvious from Mr. Speaker's rulings that there will be a very slim chance for a private Member on the other side to raise a discussion on any other occasion. I hope the Prime Minister will give us some assurance that he will look into this matter with a view to making alterations and giving facilities for the discussion of my hon. Friend's Amendment. That would help our attitude towards the proposal now before us.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Will the Prime Minister say what his view is about the influence on Committees of certain Members who represent special interests? If he could say a word discouraging that sort of thing, it would tend to make the work of Committees much more in accordance with the traditions of Parliament.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I do not think there is much point in the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion. I do not think that is a risk. If the House saw that any risk of that kind was taking place, I think they would very soon stop it. I have never heard anything of the kind, and I do not anticipate anything of the kind. In regard to the point raised by the hon. Member for Govan, that was out of Order, but as a matter of courtesy I will make an observation in regard to it. The alteration of Standing Orders in this House is a matter that is not undertaken lightly or wantonly. It is only done when it represents the general will of the whole House. Alterations of Rules for discussion and the conduct of business never take place unless there is a general concensus of agreement.
It is only because in this case there is a consensus of agreement, that this particular course has been recommended to the House by the Chairmen of the Committees upstairs, who are always selected from senior and respected and experienced Members of the House representing all parties. It is because these recommendations have come from them that I ask the House to adopt the recommendations. If hon. Members at any time like to consult me privately on any question of alteration of Rules, of course, I shall be only too pleased—it would be my duty—to talk the matter over with 485 them. But I can give no pledge in this House that any given alteration which any Member might wish to make will be brought before the House of Commons.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
In view of what has been said, will the Prime Minister meet a deputation of Scottish Members, who can put the case before him more clearly than is possible in the time now at our disposal?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: In line 3, leave out the word "sixty" and insert instead thereof the word "fifty."
§ In line 18, leave out the word "fifteen," and insert instead thereof the word "thirty-five."—[The Prime Minister.]