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Place Of Sitting

Volume 413: debated on Friday 3 August 1945

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I beg to move,

"That after this House has returned from attending His Majesty on the day on which His Majesty declares the causes of his calling this Parliament, Mr. Speaker shall resume the Chair at four o'clock and forthwith adjourn the House, without Question put, to the Chamber at present appointed for the use of the Commons."
I think perhaps it is right in pursuance of my duty to the House to explain the reasons, very shortly, for this Motion which I now submit to the House. The purpose of the Motion is to regulate our proceedings on Wednesday, 15th August, when His Majesty will be graciously pleased to declare the cause of summons of this Parliament.

This is the first occasion since the commencement of the war with Germany on which it has been possible for Parliament to be opened with some approach to pre-war ceremony. On the destruction of our own Chamber by enemy action, the House of Lords generously offered us theirs, where we now sit. A small Chamber, especially provided and equipped, was provided for the use of their Lordships, but it is not large enough to accommodate all who normally attend the opening of Parliament, especially on a full ceremonial occasion.

Before the recent change of Government, it was decided to advise His Majesty to open the first Session of the new Parliament in State, and arrangements were made accordingly. Therefore, His Majesty will, as the House knows, open Parliament on Wednesday, 15th August, in this Chamber, and we shall assemble shortly before eleven a.m. in St. Stephen's Hall, which will be made ready for our use as a temporary House of Commons Chamber.

As is customary, on the return from the House of Lords, the Sitting will be suspended, but to a later hour, namely, four o'clock, in order that this Chamber may be suitably equipped for the use once again of the Commons. The House will be technically in session in St. Stephen's Hall, the Mace remaining on the Table, and the Motion proposes that Mr. Speaker shall resume the Chair at four o'clock in St. Stephen's Hall and that he shall forthwith adjourn the House without Question put to this Chamber, which will, by that time, have been made ready for our occupation. The House will realise from what I have said, that our occupation of St. Stephen's Hall will not be for any great length of time and that we shall return to this Chamber to resume the normal proceedings which follow the reading of the King's Speech on the day of the opening of Parliament.

I trust that these arrangements will commend themselves to the House generally, as I think they will, as a sensible and businesslike arrangement in the circumstances of the case, and that the House will concur in the proposal I now make.

I was not quite clear by what method the public or Members of Parliament are to get into the interior of the House, while we are meeting in St. Stephen's Hall. Usually we pass through St. Stephen's Hall into the Central Lobby, but on this occasion it will be impossible to come in that way.

I am not quite sure what is the right answer to my hon. Friend. Presumably there will be some temporary delay in access to the public places in the precincts of this Chamber, but it will not be material and the authorities of the House and you, Sir, I am sure, will do everything possible to get the public admitted as soon as possible. There may be a little delay while the House is actually sitting in St. Stephen's Hall.

Question put, and agreed to.