HL Deb 17 April 1946 vol 140 cc903-5

Order of the Day for the consideration of the Fifth Report from the Select Committee read.

The Committee reported as follows:

1.—Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod.

The Committee sanctioned the continuance of the payment of salary to Major-General Wilson as acting Yeoman Usher pending a permanent appointment being made to this post.

The Viscount Mersey and the Viscount Swinton were added to the Sub-Committee appointed to consider a proposal as to the appointment to the post of Yeoman Usher of the Black Rod.

2.—Accommodation for Peers in the House of Commons.

The Committee considered a request from the Serjeant at Arms in the House of Commons that accommodation in the Peers Gallery in the Commons Chamber might be made available for strangers when not required by Peers. The Committee are of opinion that the twelve seats on the West side of the Chamber and the seats in the small box over the Throne now allocated to the use of Peers might, if vacant, be placed at the disposal of the Serjeant at Arms for the accommodation of strangers after 5.30 p.m. The Committee consider that this arrangement might be in operation until the end of the present Session and then come up for further review.

3.—Annunciators in Library and Refreshment Room.

The Committee desired the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to make arrangements that as soon as a Peer rises to speak in the House a doorkeeper should announce the name of the Speaker in the Library and Refreshment Rooms.

The question of installing loud speakers was adjourned for inquiries to be made.

4.—Reporting Staff.

The Committee approved the scale of salary payable to the Assistant to the Editor of Debates.

5.—Appointment of a Clerical Assistant in the Parliament Office.

The Clerk of the Parliaments informed the Committee that he had appointed Mr. Donald Crane as a Clerical Assistant on the staff of the Parliament Office. The appointment to date from April 1, 1946.

The Committee sanctioned the proposed salary payable to Mr. Crane.

6.—Gratuity to Legal Personal Representative of Office Assistant.

The Committee were informed of the death on March 12, 1946, of James Henry Turner, B.E.M., an Office Assistant in the Parliament Office.

The Committee sanctioned the payment of a gratuity to the legal personal representative of the deceased.

4.33 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Report be now considered and agreed to. There is no particular point to call to your Lordships' attention, except one regarding the accommodation of Peers in the House of Commons. As your Lordships know there are usually about 24 seats reserved for Peers in the Gallery of the present House of Commons. We have received a request from the Sergeant-at-Arms that certain seats normally reserved for Peers in the House of Commons should be made available for other visitors. It was felt that very often the Peers' Gallery was empty when many visitors were waiting for admission to the House. This matter was the subject of a meeting between several members of your Lordships' House, the Leaders of the Parties and the Speaker, and it is now recommended to the House from the Offices Committee that for the present Session twelve seats should always be kept free for Peers, and that twelve other seats and the few seats over the Throne should be kept for Peers until 5.30, after which time those seats which were vacant should be available for visitors to the House of Commons. Any Peer who was in one of the seats at 5.30 would, of course, retain it.

Moved, That the Report from the Select Committee be now considered and agreed to.—(Viscount Mersey.)

On Question, motion agreed to.