HC Deb 31 July 1939 vol 350 cc1918-9
4. Mr. Arthur Duckworth

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what arrangements exist in the legislatures of India for limiting the length of speeches?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

The Rules of the Indian Legislative Assembly prescribe a limit of 15 minutes for speeches on motions to adjourn for discussion of definite matters of urgent public importance. The same time limit is prescribed for speeches on resolutions, save with the President's permission, and except that the mover and the Members of the Government concerned with the subject are allowed 30 minutes or longer at the President's discretion. The President may also prescribe a time limit for speeches in the general Budget discussion. I understand that the rules ordinarily impose no limit on the length of speeches on motions by which a Bill is passed through the Assembly, but they contain a provision against obstruction, and the President may direct the discontinuance of a speech in cases of irrelevance or tedious repetition.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware that there was a voluntary limit of ten minutes placed on speakers, and that it worked very well?

Mr. Duckworth

Does a similar arrangement exist in the Indian provincial legislatures?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

I have not actually got that information. The information I have given applies to the Indian Legislative Assembly. There are in India 19 legislative houses—11 provincial assemblies, six provincial councils, one Indian Legislative Assembly and one Council of State. They all have their own rules and standing orders, and although there is no doubt a resemblance between them, they differ in certain respects.

Mr. Macquisten

Does the hon. and and gallant Member not realise that there are some speeches which are ten minutes long and seem an hour long?

Mr. George Griffiths

Is not the hon. and learned Member taking everybody for his looking-glass?