Oral Answers to Questions — Attache Cases (MR. Speaker's Ruling)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th July 1952.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Richard Pilkington Sir Richard Pilkington , Poole 12:00 am, 30th July 1952

On a point of order, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) was seen to enter the Chamber carrying a large brief case. May I ask whether that is in order?

Mr. Speaker:

I gave a considered Ruling on the matter of hon. Members bringing bags into the House. I think the subject of it then was the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot), against whom a complaint was laid. If the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) is offending against the spirit of that Ruling, I have no doubt that he will put it right.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I have a very lively recollection of the Ruling you gave, Mr. Speaker, on that occasion. What you said, if I remember rightly, was that so long as the object was small and not too bulky and did not give offence to the traditions of the House, it was all right. I can assure hon. Members that the ammunition contained in this case is not deadly to their persons, but to their future prospects.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

Mr. Speaker, I have a very clear recollection of the incident to which you referred. If I remember rightly, the Ruling was not given in respect of male hon. Members of the House, who could not carry in packages, but was an easement given in respect of the lady hon. Members on the ground that their bags were the equivalent of our pockets—which seems a generous allowance in the case of some—but apparently that is so. I would have no objection to the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale using a brief case if the same courtesy could be extended to myself and to every other hon. Member.

Photo of Mr Cecil Poole Mr Cecil Poole , Birmingham, Perry Barr

Further to that point of order. For the guidance of the House, could you tell us, Mr. Speaker, when a small bag becomes a large bag?

Mr. Speaker:

The Ruling I gave, so far as I can recollect, only related to the size of bags in the case of lady hon. Members. Other hon. Members, apart from Ministers—who by custom are permitted to bring portfolios into the Chamber—should not bring in bags of any sort.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I submit to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker. It would, however, apparently be perfectly in order to carry a very large mass of papers under one's arm in such an unwieldly way as to cause discomfort to all one's neighbours in the House rather than to have them in a file.

Mr. Speaker:

That may be so, but the rule still remains that hon. Gentlemen are not allowed to bring bags into the Chamber. I have not seen the bag. I hope we can now proceed.