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BOOK II.

PRACTICE AND PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT.

Chapter

VII.

CHAPTER VII.

Table of

Contents, see Introduction,

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. MEETING OF A NEW PARLIA

MENT, &c.

usage.

The proceedings of Parliament are regulated by ancient Introduc

tory reusage, by established practice, and by the standing and marks. sessional orders. Ancient usage, when not otherwise de- Ancient clared, is collected from the journals, from history and early treatises, and from the continued experience of practised members. Modern practice is often undefined in any Modern

practice. written form; it is not recorded in the journals; it is p not to be traced in the published debates ; nor is it known in any certain manner but by personal experience, and by the daily practice of Parliament, in conducting its various descriptions of business.

The orders and resolutions for regulating the proceedings of Parliament are recorded in the journals of both houses, which may be divided into : 1, standing orders ; 2, sessional orders; and 3, orders or resolutions, undetermined in regard to their permanence. 1. Both houses have agreed, at various times, to standing Standing

orders, orders for the permanent guidance and order of their proceedings; which, if not vacated or repealed, endure from one Parliament to another.2

? In the Lords, the rescinding of a standing order is termed " vacat. ing;” in the Commons, “repealing." The earliest example of a standing order being repealed was on the 21st Nov. 1722, 20 C. J. 61.

• The resolutions of the House of Commons, 1st Dec. 1882, constitut

ing standing committees, were made
standing orders until the end of the
next session; and these standing
orders were subsequently revived
for the session of 1884, 139 C. J. 73
(see p. 393). Similarly the standing
order of the 12th Aug. 1903, enabling
proceedings on the Port of London

VII.

p. 517.

Suspension Both houses, the Lords, under standing order No. 61, Chapter
of standing and the Commons, pursuant to usage, require that notice
orders.

should be given of a resolution whereby a standing order See motion,
is suspended; though, in the Commons, the rule is relaxed Notice
if necessity should arise. In the Lords, the suspension when re-

quisite,
of a standing order is obtained by a distinct resolution see p. 246.
to that effect: in the Commons, besides suspension by
resolution, the provisions of a standing order can be
temporarily set aside by an order of the house, made
without previous notice, which prescribes a course of Waiter of

2 notice, see action inconsistent with the provisions of a standing order.2 p. 214. The standing orders of the House of Lords are published from time to time by order of the house. The standing orders of the House of Commons relating to public and private business were first printed in a collected form by the order of the house during the session of 1810;3 and the publication of the standing orders has been continued

ever since. Sessional 2. At the commencement of each session both houses Appendix I. agree to orders and resolutions, which are renewed from

year to year.
Orders and 3. The operation of orders or resolutions of either house,
resolutions.

of which the duration is undetermined, is not settled upon
any certain principle. By the custom of Parliament they See

Speaker's would be concluded by a prorogation : but many of them statement, are, as part of the settled practice of Parliament, observed in

p. 341. succeeding sessions, and by different Parliaments, without any formal renewal or repetition.5

orders.

8. also

Bill to be resumed in the following session lapsed without a motion for its repeal at the end of the latter session, 134 Parl, Deb. 4 s. 777.

i See also S.O. No. 224, Priv. Bus.

: 1st May, 1891, 352 H. D. 3 s. 1854.

3 Parl, Paper, sess. 1810, 355.

+ A manual of “Rules, Orders, and Forms of Proceeding of the House of Commons, relating to Public Business," drawn up by the Clerk of the house, and laid upon

the table by the Speaker, was printed by order of the house in each succeeding Parliament from 1854 to 1896. "A Manual of Procedure in the Public Business of the House of Commons," prepared by the Clerk of the house for the use of members, and laid on the table by the Speaker on the 21st April, 1904, was printed by order of the house.

5 For examples of resolutions being observed as permanent, without being made standing orders,

VII.

pre

W

HÖudvou, rogative.

order in the

Second

Chapter In addition to these seyeral descriptions of internal autho- Statutes

_rity, by which the proceedings of both houses are regulated, roca

they are governed, in some few particulars, by statutes and

by royal prerogative. Method anl In this chapter it is proposed to present an outline of Plan of the transution the general forms of procedure, in reference to the meeting Book. business, of a new Parliament, adjournments, and prorogations; and,

in future chapters, to proceed to the explanation of the
various modes of conducting parliamentary business, with
as close an attention to methodical arrangement as the
diversity of the subjects will allow. Where the practice of
the two houses differs, the variation will appear in the
description of each separate proceeding: but wherever there
is no difference, one account of a rule or form of proceeding
may be understood as applicable equally to both houses of
Parliament.
On the day appointed by royal proclamation for the first Meeting of

a new Par-
meeting of a new Parliament for despatch of business 1 (see liament.
p. 45), the members of both houses assemble in their re-
spective chambers. In the House of Lords, the lord chan-
cellor acquaints the house “that his Majesty, not thinking
it fit to be personally present here this day, has been
pleased to cause a commission to be issued under the great
seal, in order to the opening and holding of this Parliament."

may be cited the rules that the a seat in the house by a member on Speaker cannot take the chair if & select committee. See also the forty members are not present (5th Speaker's statement after he had Jan. 1640); that a member may put in force the resolution regardnot speak twice to the same questioning the exclusion of strangers, 4th (23rd June, 1604), that the same March, 1876, 227 H. D. 3 s, 1405. question be not proposed again 1420. during the same session (2nd April, It may be observed that Parlia1604), and that no member mayment is generally summoned to meet speak after the voices are fully taken; on a Tuesday or Thursday, which the formal reading of a bill at the are convenient days for the arrival opening of a session ; several resolu- of members. In 1809, Monday haytions regarding procedure on peti ing been proposed for the meeting, tions; the resolution prohibiting Mr. Wilberforce protested that it members from engaging in the would involve travelling on Sunday, management of private bills; the and the day was accordingly time for presenting estimates ; changed, 3 Wilberforce's Diary, the rules of the committee of 397. 398; 1 Walpole, Life of Spencer supply; and the means of securing Perceval, 302.

The five lords commissioners, being in their robes, and Chapter
seated on a form between the throne and the woolsack,
then command the gentleman usher of the Black Rod to let
the Commons know “the lords commissioners desire their
immediate attendance in this house, to hear the commission

read.”

attend in

of Peers.

Commons Meanwhile, the clerk of the Crown in chancery has de-
the House livered to the Clerk of the House of Commons a Return

Book of the names of the members returned to serve in the
Parliament; after which, on receiving the message from the
Black Rod, the Clerk, and the House of Commons, go up to
the House of Peers. The lord chancellor there addresses
the members of both houses, and acquaints them that his
Majesty has been pleased “to cause letters patent to be
issued, under his great seal, constituting us, and other lords
therein named, his commissioners, to do all things in his
Majesty's name, on his part necessary to be performed in
this Parliament.” The letters patent are next read at
length by the Clerk; after which the lord chancellor, acting
in obedience to these general directions,' again addresses
both houses, and acquaints them

" That his Majesty will, as soon as the members of both houses shall be sworn, declare the causes of his calling this Parliament; and it being necessary a Speaker of the House of Commons should be first chosen, that you, gentlemen of the House of Commons, repair to the place where you are to sit, and there proceed to the appointment of some proper person to be your Speaker; and that you present such person whom you shall so choose, here, to-morrow (at an hour stated), for his Majesty's royal approbation.” ?

i On the opening of a new Parliament, the commissioners, without express directions to that effect in the commission, direct the Commons to elect a Speaker, and afterwards signify the king's approval. But whenever & vacancy occurs in the office of Speaker, during a session, a special commission is required to signify the king's approval. Mr. Speaker Shaw Lefevre, 1839; Mr. Speaker Brand, 1872, 127 C. J. 23;

Mr. Speaker Peel, 1884, 139 ib. 75; Mr. Speaker Gully, 1895, 150 ib. 149; Mr. Speaker Lowther, 1905, 160 ib. 249.

? The forms here described have been in use, with little variation, since the 12th Anne (1713). Before that time the sovereign usually came down on the first day of the new Parliament, a custom continued by George III. until 1790, 46 C. J. 6. On one occasion Queen Anne came

Chapter

In 1868, an exceptional course, in the opening of Parlia- Proceedment, was rendered necessary by peculiar circumstances. This como Parliament had been dissolved in November, and was sum- ministry moned to meet on Thursday, 10th December. A week recess. before this time, however, the ministers had resigned, and a new administration was formed, which was sworn in on the 9th December. To have prorogued Parliament, at so short a notice, would have been inconvenient; while without any ministers in the House of Commons, and without previous consultation, it was not possible to open Parliament in the accustomed manner, with a Queen's speech and addresses from both houses. A precedent was found in December, 1765, when the Rockingham ministry having come into office during the recess, the king opened Parliament in a speech, in which he stated that, as matters of importance had occurred in the American colonies, he had called Parliament together to give an opportunity of issuing writs to supply the many vacancies which had occurred in the House of Commons, in order that Parliament might be full for the consideration of the weighty matters which would, after the Christmas recess, be brought before them. This precedent, however, was open to objection, as the speech, having all the usual solemnities, required addresses in answer, and was, in fact, the occasion of amendments and debates. The following course was therefore taken on this and on several subsequent occasions. Instead of a Queen's speech, the lords commissioners, under the great seal for opening and holding the Parliament, announced that, as soon as the members of both houses were sworn, the causes of her Majesty's calling this Parliament would be declared, and directed the Commons to choose their Speaker. After the election of the Speaker, and some days spent in the swearing in of members of both houses, the lords commissioners informed Parliament that they had it further in command to acquaint both houses that since the time when her Majesty bad

VII.

during

down three times, viz, to open Par-
liament, to approve the Speaker, and
to declare the causes of summons in

a speech from the throne (1707), 15
C. J. 393.

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