§ Mr. MAXTON
I wish to raise with you, Sir, a point that was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) at the conclusion of the Indian Debate one evening last week, so that we may have your guidance and ruling on the matter. The group with which I am associated feel that on certain occasions we have views that we wish to have recorded in the House. It may be a minority view, but it is one that is important to us. We do not want to make ourselves a nuisance—at least, we do not want to make ourselves more of a nuisance than is necessary to record our point of view. Therefore, while upon occasions we shall call a Division, we recognise that the numbers in our Lobby would be so small as to make it undesirable that the rest of the House should be put to the inconvenience of going into the Lobbies. A reading of the rules and regulations and a consultation with Erskine May indicate that, while the practice has fallen into abeyance, it is within your power, without taking a Division, to record in the OFFICIAL REPORT the names of those who dissent from the majority view of the House and I should like to have your ruling on the matter.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member has stated quite accurately that a Standing Order was passed in 1888 giving the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be, the right, if in his opinion a Division was unnecessarily called, to take a vote of the House or the Committee by calling upon Members who dissent to stand in their place. Under that Standing Order, it was required that the number of Members who had risen should be declared by the Chair and their names taken down in the House and printed in the Division list. That Standing Order, as the hon. Member knows, was repealed 1702 in 1919, since when the Speaker or Chairman has not had that power. He has had the power of asking Members who dissent to rise in their places, but he has not had the power of taking the names of those who dissent or having their names published in the Division list, and, in order to do that, it would be necessary to amend the Standing Order and bring it into the same form as it was when it was repealed in 1919. The hon. Member is not right in saying that the Speaker or Chairman has that power unless there is a Standing Order to that effect.
§ Mr. MAXTON
My reading of the Standing Order indicates that after a Division has been taken, whether by passing through the Lobbies or by Members standing up, it is necessary for you, Sir, to declare the result of the Division, and on the Standing Order it seems to be well within your province to declare that the Ayes or the Noes have it, as the case may be, with the Members for so-and-so dissenting, which would achieve the end of recording their votes. I would suggest that you consider whether it is not within your power to do so.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I have already said that that is not in my power without an Amendment of the Standing Orders.