§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (LORD PARMOOR)
My Lords, there is a short time before the next busi- 1382 ness of the House, which will be the Royal Commission, and I should like, with the permission of the House, to call to your Lordships' minds some statistics with which the Clerk of the Parliaments has kindly provided me, in order to show the very great amount of work which this House has done during the present Session. Of course I do not intend to touch on the position, or the constitution or the powers of this House. I am merely dealing with the question of the quantity of work, and that is very remarkable. In the Session of 1928, from February to August, there were 76 days on which the House of Lords sat and that does not include merely formal sittings. Those occasions are excluded, and I am giving only the days on which the House sat for substantial work. As regards the present Session we have sat 105 days, which I am told is 38 per cent. increase, and of course our work is not nearly completed. As everyone who is cognisant of the work of your Lordships' House knows, in the late days of the Session we have the hardest and most continuous work.
The statistics supplied to me appear to me to be of very great importance as showing the great amount of work which has been done by this House and which I do not think could have been carried through really by any other means. The number of public Bills which we have already considered is thirty-seven and the number of Bills originated in this House is fourteen. I may remind your Lordships that we have had the Road Traffic Bill, the Mental Treatment Bill and the Land Drainage Bill, all Bills of great importance and necessarily occupying considerable time, with the result that on the analysis before me we have given a considerably larger amount of time to each Bill, because they have all been more important, than on previous occasions. I also have the statistics for last Session, but that was curtailed, to I omit them, except to say that in that Session we sat only on sixty-six days. I thought it might be an encouragement to your Lordships, if I may say so, if I quoted these statistics, merely to show how willingly your Lordships have worked in a very busy Session and how much, so far as the number of days is concerned, we have done to perform our duties as a Second Chamber in assisting in a con- 1383 stitutional manner the legislation of the country.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I am sure that your Lordships will all have listened to the Leader of the House with a feeling of great satisfaction. He has been able to tell your Lordships how well we have behaved, and I felt a sort of glow of satisfaction, which I am sure all your Lordships felt, at the warmth of his words. It is all the more gratifying to us to think that it has fallen to the lot of a Government which, though very distinguished, is not particularly favourable to the general atmosphere of your Lordships' House, to produce so much work for the benefit of the country. I quite agree with the noble and learned Lord. I think it reflects great credit upon us and that anybody who has been present at our debates, whether as a member of your Lordships' House or as an onlooker, must have been satisfied that the work was done with great business capacity and without undue delay. That is very satisfactory and I am sure we shall all be glad. I can only hope that the results of our work may be not only satisfactory to ourselves but permanent in their character. That does not altogether depend upon ourselves, but after what the noble and learned Lord has said I am sure that he for one will do his utmost to make our work permanent.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
My Lords, I should like to add my thanks to the noble and learned Lord who leads the House for the figures that he has been good enough to give us, but I cannot help wishing that he had been good enough to give them to us upon another occasion. To explain to your Lordships how well and hard we have worked upon an occasion when we are having an unusually short sitting and when the House is unusually empty seemed to me, perhaps, to be choosing an inappropriate moment. In thanking the noble and learned Lord for the figures, I should like to say that I look forward to being able to examine them in some detail. As I understood him, the comparison covered the period from the beginning of 1928 to the end of the Session of 1929, which is not quite a normal period, since the General Election took place—
§ LORD PARMOOR
In the figures I gave I purposely omitted that. I took the Session before, so as to have a complete Session for the purpose of comparison.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
I am much obliged to tile noble and learned Lord. That only shows that, until one has the statistics before one, it is very difficult to make sure what they really mean. I do not want to say more except to ask the noble and learned Lord whether he would consider the question of examining the records of your Lordship' House with regard to the number of people who attend each Session? I believe we should find that the members who attend regularly are much more numerous than they used to be.
§ EARL BEAUCHAMP
Since the noble and learned Lord has taken an interest in the records of your Lordships' House and the amount of work that we do, I think it would also be interesting if he would investigate those figures also at his convenience and give them to us on some future occasion.
§ LORD PARMOOR
My Lords, I shall have to ask the authorities to supply the figures for which the noble Earl, Lord Beauchamp, has asked. I think they can be obtained, and they shall be obtained. I should like, by way of precaution, to say in regard to the remarks of the noble Marquess that I gave these statistics merely as statistics and did not draw all the inferences from them which he seems to think may be drawn.
§ House adjourned during pleasure.
§ House resumed.