House of Commons (Length of Speeches).

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 9th June 1942.

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Photo of Sir Charles Lyle Sir Charles Lyle , Bournemouth

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the present short sittings and the need for participation in debate of the maximum number of Members to ensure the vitality of Parliamentary control over an all-party Government, he will propose that on suitable occasions no Member should speak for more than 15 minutes except by leave of the House?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in reply to a Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Renfrew (Major Lloyd) on 18th February, 1941, the question of limiting the length of speeches has been considered on many occasions but no satisfactory remedy has so far been found. The solution rests with hon. Members themselves, and any voluntary arrangement which would allow a greater number to give expression to their views on important debates within the time allotted would undoubtedly be to the general advantage.

Photo of Sir Charles Lyle Sir Charles Lyle , Bournemouth

May I ask my right hon. and learned Friend whether, quite apart from the utterances and speeches of the Prime Minister, of which we can never have too much, he does not agree that speeches, not only by hon. Members, but by members of the Government would be vastly improved if they were cut by 50 per cent?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

That is a matter of opinion, I think.

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

Is it not rather noteworthy that those who fail to find a procedure for shortening speeches are those who are most addicted to giving the House long speeches, and would it not be more likely that a solution would be found if the matter were considered by Back-Bench Members and others who make short speeches?

Photo of Mr George Isaacs Mr George Isaacs , Southwark North

Have the Government thought of issuing coupons?