HL Deb 10 August 1905 vol 151 cc901-3

who had given notice to move that the following Lords be named of the Select Committee on the Palace of Westminster: the Earl of Carlisle, the Earl of Stradbroke, the Earl of Lytton, Lord Hawkesbury, and Lord Stanmore, said. My Lords, it will be within the recollection of your Lordships that a few days ago the House ordered the appointment of a Committee to inquire into and report with respect to the unfinished condition of the rooms in the Palace of Westminster appropriated to the service of this House. I now beg to move the appointment of the members of the Committee, and in doing so, I wish to make a short statement. Your Lordships will remember that the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Works, in assenting to the appointment of this Committee, said that His Majesty's Government must take time to consider the best way of carrying out the object desired; and I beg to say that, in the event of my noble friend the First Commissioner holding in the next session of Parliament the office which he so well fills at present, I shall be quite ready to accede to any proposal that he makes, either for the appointment of a Joint Committee of both Houses, which appears to some the best way of dealing with the subject, or the appointment of a Royal Commission, which seems to me by far the best way of dealing with it.

Moved, "That the following Lords be named of the Select Committee—

—(Lord Stanmore.)


My Lords, I want just to confirm what my noble friend has said. His Majesty's Government do not think that there is really any use in appointing a Committee this session, because it would naturally have to be reappointed next session; but they do not wish to oppose the appointment as the noble Lord desires to have it nominated. They do not think that a Committee of this House is the best kind of Committee to deal with this question; but, on the understanding, as he has said, that this question shall be reconsidered at an early date next session, His Majesty's Government agree to the appointment of the Committee.


My Lords, I only wish to say two or three words on this matter. It certainly strikes me that it would be creating rather a bad precedent if this Committee were now appointed, and if a different form were given to the Committee next session. I would myself very much prefer to see a Joint Committee of the two Houses, as this is a matter which equally concerns both Houses. I would have thought that the noble Lord, the First Commissioner of Works, himself ought to be a member of the Committee; but, at all events, it strikes me that it will be a rather useless thing to appoint a Committee at the end of the session. It would be much better to leave it over till next session, and when the Committee is appointed I hope it will not be a Committee of this House, but a Joint Committee of both Houses.


My Lords, my object in moving the appointment of the Committee was rather with a view of meeting what I may call a chapter of accidents. I cannot feel sure that the noble Lord who is now First Commissioner will be at the head of the Office of Works next year, and, therefore, I wish that the House should so far commit itself by appointing a Committee that we should not have to go through the whole thing again next year. But, after the statement of my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition, who will probably have something to say to the formation of the Committee next year if my noble friend on this side has not, I am not disposed to press the Motion. I should, however, like to see the Committee named.


My Lords, we shall be very glad to consider the noble Earl's suggestion that the matter should be dealt with by a Joint Committee, but that is not a point we can take on ourselves to decide; and all I can promise is that the suggestion shall be considered.


I would like to ask what is the use of naming a Committee that is never going to sit? Parliament is to be prorogued to-morrow, and if you name the Committee it cannot sit.


I am quite aware of that.


Does the noble Lord press his Motion?


As the Government does not oppose it I should like it to be passed.

On Question, resolved in the negative.