HC Deb 22 June 1948 vol 452 cc1140-2
Mrs. Leah Manning

On a point of Order. May I call your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that my name has been omitted from Division Lists 232 and 233 yesterday, although I was in the House during the whole of the Sitting and voted in all Divisions?

Mr. Speaker

The correction will be made in due course. The hon. Lady has raised the matter and the correction will be made.

Mr. Beverley Baxter

While not for a moment doubting what was said by the hon. Lady the Member for Epping (Mrs. Manning), could we have your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, whether at any moment in the proceedings of this House a Member can say, "I voted twice in two Divisions and my vote was not recorded," and that that statement will be accepted automatically by you, Sir? There might be an extraordinary Division sometime where one vote might decide the fate of a Government. Would the mere statement of any hon. Member be accepted by you, Sir, as being final?

Mr. Speaker

These problems are flung at one at the last minute. As a rule, one accepts the statement of an hon. Member. I think myself that if an hon. Member said that he had voted twice when he had only voted once, the House would have something to say, and I do not think that we would allow a decision to be taken by a false vote of that kind. I think that one can trust hon. Members in matters of this kind.

Mr. Baxter

While thanking you very much for that statement, Sir, may I again recall my hypothetical case—that the fate of a Government might be decided by such a statement? Would you, therefore, even if it meant the defeat of a Government on a major issue, accept the statement of a Member that he or she had voted?

Mr. Speaker

No, but the trouble there is that the Division is taken, the votes are given, and I declare the votes. In this case an hon. Member says afterwards that she voted and it was not recorded. That does not affect my declaration. I have done that the day before, so that there would not have to be another vote, This could not affect the fate of a Government or the fate of any Bill.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Is it not the responsibility of all of us, before passing the Tellers, to see that our names are correctly marked off by the Clerks in the Lobby?

Mr. James Glanville

Is the House aware, and are our worthy friends opposite aware, that this Government is in no danger of being defeated?

Mrs. Manning

Might I ask your advice on this point, Mr. Speaker? I was very doubtful about my Division list in the last Session. Since then, I have taken the utmost care to give my name, my constituency and also my married state when passing the Clerks in the Lobby. But there are two hon. Members of the same name in this House, and it is not the first time that this has happened and that I have reported it. I do not know what else one could do except hold up the Division while one put one's finger on the proper place and saw one's vote recorded. Divisions would take a very long time if all hon. Members did that.

Mr. Speaker

I do not know that I can give the hon. Lady any more advice except that she should take the greatest care to see that her own name is ticked off instead of that of the hon. Member who bears the same name. I can tell the hon. Lady that I have shared her difficulty. When I was a private Member I had also a brother of the same name who was a Member, and there were a good many other Browns, too. I had to watch very carefully where my vote was recorded.