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Proposed Question Limitation

Volume 91: debated on Friday 22 March 1901

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I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if, in order to facilitate the business of the House, he will consider the advisability of amending the Standing Orders so that no Member shall be entitled to ask more than one question in any day, and that no Member be entitled to speak for more than twenty minutes on any Bill, Amendment, Resolution, or Motion unless the House consents to grant an extension of time.

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers will he kindly consider the resolution moved by me on this subject and carried by a majority of three to one, although we had to except the two Front Benches?

I do not carry in my memory the exact circumstances attending the debate to which my hon. and gallant friend refers. But he has more than once drawn the attention of the House to this question, and has suggested that there should be a time-limit to speeches. Although the proposal met with considerable sympathy from all parts of the House, it was also felt that it you be a new limitation upon the general flexibility of debate, which certainly the House ought not to adopt without much fuller consideration and without, perhaps, even more painful experiences than those which we have gone through.