HL Deb 07 December 1944 vol 134 cc197-8

My Lords, I wish to raise a question of which I have given the noble Viscount the Leader of the House private notice. I am afraid I cannot put my point in the form of a question but I will do my best to explain the situation. It has reference to a question by the noble Lord, Lord Morris, who put on the Paper a series of questions to the Government—[about British Overseas Airways Corporation salaries and expenses]—which they are not entitled to answer. That series .of questions is by implication a Motion of censure on a public servant. The Motion was to have been taken to-day but it has now been put off. I have no great objection to that except for the fact that it is now included in the list of Motions with no day named. It is a tradition that any Motion of censure on an individual should be taken immediately or removed from the Paper. It is against precedent that a Motion of censure on any subject of the King should remain on the Paper with no day named. I would ask the noble Viscount the Leader of the House if he can see that this Motion is taken oft the Paper until a day is named.


(Lord Cecil): My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for giving me notice that he intended to raise this point. As I told your Lordships' House on Tuesday last, I myself asked the noble Lord, Lord Morris, to postpone the Motion to which the noble Lord has referred in order to meet the general convenience of the House, and Lord Morris was good enough to agree to do so. The point which my noble friend Lord Brabazon has raised is, of course, rather a new one. As I understand it, the main point he makes is, ought a Motion implying censure on an individual—when discussion has been postponed—to stay on the Paper until it can be discussed? I must confess that that aspect had not occurred to me, and I have no doubt it did not occur to Lord Morris either. I am quite certain he will take note of what has been said to-day The noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, asked whether I would see that the Notice was taken off the Paper. It is not for me to take it off the Paper; it is for Lord Morris to take it off the Paper. But, as I say, I am quite certain he will take notice of what has been said this morning. Of course it is an extremely rare occurrence that such a situation should arise, for, as your Lordships know, it is, I think, a fortunate practice that we do not usually put individual names upon the Paper at all. But in view of what has happened, I think it may be desirable that I should refer this point to your Lordships' Committee on Procedure and ask that Committee to give a definite ruling as to what should be done in cases of this kind. With the concurrence of the House I would propose to take that course.


My Lords, while fully concurring in what the noble Viscount has proposed, may I ask whether Lord Morris had notice that this matter was going to be raised to-day?


No, he had not.

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