HL Deb 05 July 1934 vol 93 cc392-4

My Lords, before we adjourn may I ask the noble Viscount the Leader of the House whether he would be good enough to tell us what is the business for next week, and at the same time may I ask him a question of which I have given him private notice? That question is whether he will consider the setting up of a small Select Committee to consider the question of fixing a time limit after the expiration of which Notices standing on the Paper for "No day named" shall be automatically removed from the Notices and Orders of the Day. May I be allowed to say just one or two words as to my reasons for putting this question? As your Lordships know, Notices of Motion are circulated daily after our debates. The cost of a page of printing amounts approximately to £1. It may be useful for a noble Lord to keep his Motion on the Paper for a few weeks while seeking for another date, but I find after consultation with others that it is generally considered undesirable that those Motions should remain on the Order Paper indefinitely. It is specially undesirable that our Order Paper should be used for publicity purposes, I therefore hope that the noble Viscount the Leader of the House may see his way to accept my suggestion.


My Lords, in answer to the first question which the noble Lord put to me, there is very little to say beyond what appears in the printed Order Paper. There is the Second Reading of the Road Traffic Bill to be taken on Tuesday next and there are two Motions for that day, one in the name of my noble friend Lord Kilmaine and the other in the name of my noble friend Lord Danesfort. I am not quite sure whether Lord Kilmaine's Motion is effective, because it may be that he will be willing to postpone it owing to the fact that my noble friend Lord Londonderry, who wishes to answer it, cannot very well be here on Tuesday next. On Wednesday there will be Lord Temple-town's Motion and Lord Sanderson's Motion. On Thursday the British Sugar (Subsidy) Bill and the Milk Bill are both down for Second Reading, and I understand that my noble friend Lord Cecil wishes to move a Motion about an embargo on arms the exact details of which I have not yet seen. I understand that it has either been just handed in, or is shortly to be handed in, at the Table.

Then I come to the other question of which the noble Lord was good enough to give me previous notice—namely, the question about dealing with Notices which continue indefinitely upon your Lordships' Order Paper. I had myself noticed that a series of Notices continued on the Paper for many months past, which have cost, I think, something like £100 up to the present date, and which might very well have disappeared into oblivion a very long time ago. But I am a little doubtful as to what is the best way of dealing with this particular question. I think it obviously cannot be debated in the first instance on the floor of the House. It has occurred to mo that probably the best plan would be to appoint a small Committee which would not merely consider that one point but would consider the Standing Orders with a view to proposing any amendment or revision which may result in a saving of expense, having particular reference to the daily reprinting and re-circulating with the Minutes of Notices or Motions which are left for considerable periods on the Order Paper.

If we are going to set up a Committee, in these days when unnecessary expense is in the opinion of all of us, I hope, undesirable and mischievous, I think it might be well to see whether there are any other directions in which saving might be made without loss of efficiency. I think it would probably be convenient that the Committee should be quite a-small one. Probably one representative of the Liberal Party, one of the noble Lord's Party, and one of our own Party, with perhaps the Lord Chairman of Committees, would be sufficient. If that meets with the approval of the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby—and I understand it meets with the approval of my noble friends on the Liberal Benches—I would propose to put down a Motion to that effect and would meanwhile consult with my noble friends of both Parties opposite as to the exact representative each of them would respectively choose.


I am very much obliged to the noble Viscount the Leader of the House for meeting me on this question. His suggestion, I think, is the best way of dealing with it.