HL Deb 30 June 1904 vol 137 cc121-2

THE MARQUESS OF RIPON: My Lords, before the business begins I wish to ask your Lordships' indulgence while I make a short personal explanation. On referring to the newspaper reports of what took place towards the end of the sitting on Tuesday I find a report of a speech by the Lord Chancellor which shows me that I had not heard his remarks upon that occasion. I am sorry to say that with advancing years I suffer somewhat from deafness, and I certainly did not hear what the noble and learned Lord said. I find that the rule which he laid down with regard to the authority of the Lord Chancellor as Speaker of the House was perfectly in accordance with the view I ventured to take. I feel bound to offer this explanation in order to make it clear that that was the case.

THE LORD CHANCELLOR (The Earl of HALSBURY): My Lords, I am very glad that the noble Marquess has said what he has said, because, although I did not attribute to him any desire to mislead the House, his intervention on the occasion was calculated to mislead some of your Lordships as to what the true rule is. The rule is that the Speaker of the House of Lords, unlike the Speaker of the House of Commons, has no authority to decide what is out of order or what is not. That is for your Lordships to decide. But the Lord Chancellor has the same authority that other Peers have to rise to order, and speaking generally, during the eighteen years I have occupied this position, I have never intervened in any other way. It is always an invidious task to call a noble Lord to order, but unless the Lord Chancellor takes notice of a breach of order nobody else would. One consequence of that is that I am afraid your Lordships' House is not an example of order. When I intervene I do not claim any right to decide a point of order, but only the right to call attention to it.