Parliamentary Papers (Distribution).

– in the House of Commons at on 6 May 1926.

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Photo of Sir Francis Lowe Sir Francis Lowe , Birmingham, Edgbaston

Before we proceed to the Orders of the Day, I should like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, how it is that the Paper containing the Orders of the Day is so partially distributed? I notice that a great many Members around me have these Order Papers, but I applied to the Vote Office early in the afternoon, and could not get a copy. I really think that either they should not be distributed at all, or should be distributed impartially to all Members in the House.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The number of copies that it is possible to print, in the present circumstances, is very limited. They are delivered to the Vote Office, and I imagine that the rule there is, "First come, first served." I do not see very well how any other method could be adopted.

Photo of Sir Francis Lowe Sir Francis Lowe , Birmingham, Edgbaston

Would it not be possible for a sufficient number of copies to be printed to supply all the Members of House? I should have thought that even such an emergency as now exists would not prevent the House of Commons Papers from being printed in sufficient number to supply a copy of the Order Paper to each Member.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

We are, unhappily, without the assistance of our usual printers, and, therefore, we have to do the best we can by other means.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Have not the Government their own printers at Harrow, and could not they be used to print the Order Paper in this national emergency?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

That does not lie within my province. All I can say is that I have done my very best, with very willing assistance, to get the number of Papers that have been produced.

Photo of Mr Campbell Stephen Mr Campbell Stephen , Glasgow Camlachie

Could it not be arranged that there should be more of these Parliamentary Papers published than the Tory rag that is called the "British Gazette."

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I am responsible only for the Votes and Proceedings of the House.

Photo of Sir Harry Brittain Sir Harry Brittain , Acton

Would it be possible—we all understand the reason why the copies are so few—for one Paper to be put on each bench, so that it could be passed up and down the Bench?

Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL:

Would it not be advisable, seeing that it is impossible for us to know what the questions are that have been put to Ministers, that during these times of trouble there should be no starred questions at all, but that any questions requiring replies from Ministers should be put down for the purpose of receiving written replies?

Sir WILLIAM LANE MITCHELL:

The printing would appear to be the difficulty, but, if one copy can be printed, it is easy to print a hundred, and one cannot see why sufficient should not be printed to provide one for every Member. I would get it done myself, if it cannot be done otherwise.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I do not think that hon. Members can appreciate the difficulties more than I do. The very best that has been possible has been done. As regards the previous question, all the questions that are on the Order Paper to-day were handed in last Monday, or earlier than that.

Photo of Mr Martin Connolly Mr Martin Connolly , Newcastle upon Tyne East

We should like it to be known that, if these papers are to be printed by "blacklegs", we on these benches would sooner be without them.