HL Deb 17 July 1846 vol 87 cc1220-1

wished to call attention to the subject which had last evening been discussed, and to the statement which had been made by a noble Lord, that it was incompetent to a Peer to protest against a vote at the taking of which he had not been present. He was aware that there was an impression abroad that this was an irregular proceeding, which impression was founded upon the course that was taken in 1823, when the Duke of Somerset had signed a protest against an Amendment to the Address, he not having been present when the question was put. Having that morning taken down three volumes at random, he (Lord Redesdale) had found the record of three different occasions, in 1678, in 1720, and in 1781, when Peers had done the same thing. It was, therefore, clear that, whether regular or irregular, the practice complained of was no novelty. The Standing Order on this subject was to this effect:— Ordered—That such Lords as shall make protestation, or enter their dissents to any votes of this House, as they have a right to do without asking leave of the House, either with or without their reasons, shall cause their protestations or dissents to be entered into the clerk's books the next sitting day of this House, before the hour of two o'clock; otherwise the same shall not be entered, and shall sign the same before the rising of the House the same day. And there was here not a single word to imply the necessity of a Peer being present when a vote was taken, if intending to make protestation or enter dissent.


said, that the impression on his mind was, that the right to make a protest only appertained to a Peer who had been present during the debate. He conceived it to be the protest of a Peer who conceived that his opinion had been improperly overruled. He thought that some decided rule should be laid down.


had thought that it was essential that Peers present only could enter a protest, and was not aware of the cases stated that night until they had been mentioned by his noble Friend. He thought that they should settle something like a definite rule on this subject.


had always thought that it was imperative that a Peer should have been present at the debate. He was sure that not one-third of the number of Peers who signed the protest against the third reading of the Corn Law Bill had been present at that stage of the Bill.


said, that if the noble Lords when absent from the House had the right of voting by proxy, he did not see what objection there could be to them entering a protest against a measure.

After some further conversation the subject dropped.

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