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Manner of hold
privileges to confer. They are sometimes asked concerning an offence or default of a member of the other House (c): or the neglect of the other House to present a bill for the Royal Assent (d): or on information received, and relating to the safety of the nation (e): or when the usage of Parliament is thought to have been departed from by the other, or their privilege to have been broken (f): so when an unparliamentary Message has been sent, instead of answering it, they request a conference (s). A conference has been asked after the first reading of a bill (h). But this is a singular instance,
Upon a conference being determined, managers are Ma appointed by the respective Houses, and before they go (unless it is a free conference) the House requesting the conference appoint a Committee to draw up the reasons which they have to offer in support of their opinions. These reasons being reported from the Committee, and agreed to by the House, are then delivered to the managers, to communicate them to the managers of the Conference on the part of the other House.
These reasons are then taken up to the place of meeting, read and delivered without debate, to the managers of the other House, and are by them reported to their House ; but are not answered at that time. The other House, if satisfied, then vote the reasons satisfactory, or say nothing; if not satisfied, they resolve them unsatisfactory, and ask a conference “on the subject matter of the last Conference,”'. where they read and deliver, in likc manner, writtenanswers to those reasons. Thus Conferences are, in fact, nothing more than a formal method of communicating to one House the reasons of the other; in order that, after considering those reasons, the House may be induced, either not to irsist upon their adherence or disagreement,
(c) 6 Grey, 181 ; 1 Chand. 304.
(d) 8 Grey, 302.
Cases where Conferences should not be asked.
or may in their turn assign such arguments for the same as may induce the other House to coincide.
It is irregular for any member to speak at à Conference except before it commences, by way of introduction to the delivery of the reasons (i).
A Conference cannot be had for the purpose of demanding the reason of the other House for bringing in, ameuding, or throwing out any bill—as that is irregular (j). And it will be refused by the Lords in any case where it is supposed to involve the question of their Jurisdiction or Judicature (k). When, from inattention to established forms, either House have sent a message that they disagree to the amendments to a bill, without asking a Conferenceto assign their reasons for such disagreement, the bill has been re-delivered (2).
The Lords send their usual messengers, (Masters in time and place. Chancery), and the Commons, one of their own members
to demand a Conference. It is the sole and undisputed privilege of the Lords to name the time and place where it shall be held. If the Lords appoint an inconvenient place the Commonsmay remonstrate (m), or decline to hold the Conference, stating their reasons, when the Lords will, if they think proper alter it.
The Lords should enter the Conference Chamber in a body (not scattering one before the other) that their pro. per dignity may be upheld, and that they may be enabled to take their places in regular order. They are to be seated, with their hats on,* during the Conference, whilst
Lords to name
(i) 4 Hats. 47; C. J. 4 Feb. 1640. (1) Lord Stourton's Case in C. J, 12 & 13 Marcb, 1575; and see 1 Feb. 1661. (k) See L. J. 4 Feb. 1666 ; 28 May, 1675; 25 Feb. 1702. (1) L. J. 10 May, 1662; but see C. J. 20 Dec. 1680. (m) 28 April, 1604.
* The rule is as follows:- The Lords keep their hats on till they come within the bar of the place of conference; they then take them off, and walk uncovered to their seats, after which they put on their hats and sit down; when the confcrence is over they rise up, take off their hats, and walk out uncovered.
Commons must remain standing and bare-headed, unless it be some infirm person, and that by connivance, * and" in “ a corner out of sight, to sit, but not to be covered (n).”
f Double the numBut with respect to Managers, it is the privilege of ber of Commons. the Commons to appoint double the number of the Lords (o). · If the Houses cannot come to an agreement at one second cona Conference, the form is, to desire another, where reasons" for adhering, &c. are in like manner exchanged, without debate ; and if no agreement can be obtained then, they ought to demand a Free Conference, at which the subject may be fully discussed and debated. If this measure prove ineffectual (P), and if, after several Free Conferences, both Houses remain inflexible, nothing farther can be done, and the bill must be lost.
At Free Conferences the managers discuss vivá voce, Where the quesand freely interchange propositions for such modifications freely debated. as may be made in a parliamentary way, and may con- .. duce to an agreement between the two Houses. Each party then reports in writing to their respective Houses, the substance of what has been urged on both sides, and it is entered on their Journals (q).
A Conference may be asked before the House request- at what stages of ing it has come to any resolution of disagreement, insist- ference may be ing or adhering (r). In which case the papers are not asked. to be left with the other Conferees, but are brought back to be the foundation of the intended vote. This is the most reasonable and respectful proceeding; for, to deliver the resolution of either House at a Conference, instead of
tion may be
a measure Con
(n) S.O. H. of L. Xxxvii.
(0) See C. J. 26 March, 1604, where this is stated to be an ancient rule of the House. (p) 4 Hats. 49, 50.
(q) 3 Hats. 280. (r) 3 Hats. 269, 341. * See a precedent in the Lords' Journals, 29th July, 1689, where two managers of a conference, on the part of the Commons, were permitted to sit, “ being aged, " and lame."
Rules as to
Should be confined strictly to
reasons, is contrary to the usage of Parliament (s). But there are instances of Conferences, or of Free Conferences, being asked after the determination of disagreeing (t), of insisting (v), of adhering (w), and even of a second and final adherence (x). In all cases of Conferences asked after a vote of disagreement, &c. the Conferees of the House asking it should leave the papers with the Conferees of the other House ; and in one case, where they refused to receive them, they were left on the table of the Conference Chamber (y).
A Conference should always be confined strictly to the the question a question at issue, for it is contrary to the rules of Parlia
ment for a Conference to amend or strike out any thing in a bill, or other matter, which has been agreed to by both
Houses (z). A simple con After a Free Conference no other than a Free Conferbe held after a ence can be held, touching the same subjects; except à
question of order or privilege arise, 'when a Conference · may be demanded on that particular matter.
After a Simple Conference is denied, a Free Conference may be asked (a).
See farther as to the extent to which the various terms of agreeing, insisting, adhering, &c. may be carried by
either House, in Chap VI. pp. 145-147.
it During a Conference the House can do no business, but during Confer
when the inanagers are gone, the Speaker leaves the chair, without a question, until their return.
A simple conference cannot
House not to sit
(8) C. J. 22 Feb. 1702.
(t) C. J. 26 Jan. 1670.
C HA P. XIII.
At the opening of Parliament, after the consideration of or Thanks. the Speech from the Throne, some member in each House), moves an Address of Thanks, in answer to, and approval of the Royal Speech. Such motions are invariacarried, although an amendment is generally offered by a member of the opposition. The practice with respect to these addresses differs from that of addresses on other subjects, which will be presently considered. For, on the motion for an Address of Thanks being carried, certain members are appointed by the House to draft and report the same. This being done, it is read once in the House, and ordered to be presented.
The practice with respect to all other Addresses, is as other follows:
On motion of any member, a resolution is passed ordering an Address to be presented to His Majesty on the subject required. Upon this motion, the debate as to its propriety or otherwise, takes place, and if it be carried in the affirmative, an order is made for its presentation, either by the Whole House, by certain Members, or by those appointed to draft it, as the case may be. The address, therefore, is not reported to the House, but drawn up by the members appointed for that purpose, as nearly as possible in the words of the resolution,
Addresses are presented to the King by the Whole How presented. House, or, if not (from illness of the King, or other acci