Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

A PEEP INTO PARLIAMENT

THROUGH A WOMAN'S EYES. Tho Garrison Hall was well filled last night when Mrs Philip Snowden delivered her popular lecture entitled ' A Peep Into Parliament Through a Woman's Eyes.' Thoso who had the privilege of listening to Mrs Snowden when she was associated with her husband in dealing with various phases of the Prohibition question from tho platform were given some idea of the abilities which tho wife of one of Britain's notable M.P.s possessed. Last night this gifted lady had the platform all to herself, and treated her subject in a manner that was truly captivating. She spoke for an hour and a-half with tho aid of a single note, and at times had her audience convulsed in laughter as she described in her inimitable style some of the customs prevailing in tho Mother of Parliaments. Mrs Snowden commenced by asking her audience to imagine that they were being escorted tlirough the precincts of the Houses of Parliament. Tho historical phase of her subject was handled lightly, tho lectures* candidly admitting that she "had no desire to give a long and learned disquisition on parliamentary usage and constitutional government " —that was frankly beyond her powers—and even if she could do so she would not speak upon tho-e subjects. She took her audience in imagination to tho immense pile of building, there to spend a day together. If an attempt were made to enter tho Houses of Parliament by Palace Yard progress would bo barred by a policeman. The entranee to Westminster Hall is easily accomplished, and hero one «aw the largest unpillared hall in Great Britain, or any city of Europe for that matter. Ft was in this hall that tho coloiu'al Premiers wero entertained when on a visit to London ; :t was in this self-same hall that the body of the lato King Edward lay in state. Visitors then pass through into St. Stephen's Hall, beyond which women are not permitted to enter. The lectures made an excusable digression at this point to refer to alterations which had been brought about in tho matter of payment of members of Parliament. There was a time, she said, when M.P.s were paid by tho burgesses who elected them; later, this remuneration was abolished, and of recent years payment by the Crown was established. Whilst waiting in St. Stephen's Hall one saw women passing through. These were wives of members, their secretaries, •■>•• wives of peers. With tho assistance of a member of Pailinment one is permitted to have a peep at the Honso of Lords—tho chamber wheie the Lords sit. American visitors invariably evince a curiosity to see the Lords' chambers, and this she thought was due to the fact that in America a hereditary Upper Chamber was unknown. The impression conveyed to a visitor was that this hereditary House resembled a collection of curiu.s. She then pictured the' " almost oppressive dignity" of these noble lords. Tho debates were rarely if ever audible, and only a speaker like Lord Rosebery could be heard many feet away. There wero rarely more than a dozen lords present at •one time when tho House was sitting. Across the lobby was the House of Commons, the debating Chamber of which was no larger than tho interior of the Garrison Hall, and there were 670 members to be accommodated. There was only seating accommodation for 575 members.

Mrs Snowden gave a personal description of notable men on both sides of the House. She described Mr Asquith as a beautiful speaker, although cold and tinimpassioned. Ho never plays to the gallery, and does not care whether hi-; hearers agree with him or not. Mr Lloyd George is eloquent, interesting, bright, and fanciful. Mr John Burns was an excellent speaker, who generally had his addresses carefully piepared, which cave, them a flavor"or artificiality. Mr Balfour was known as the first gentleman in the House of Commons, and the charm of his language was wonderful. Mr Austen Chamberlain, although a good speaker, suffered from having to live, in the reflected light of an illustrious father. Tlii narration of the. nickname*, of siime of the members created laughter. She stated that only some 50 members of tho House of Commons were known. Mrs Snowden concluded her address by stating that one valued Parliament not so much for its history, but for its possibilities. Mrs Don occupied the chair, and a vote of thanks to the speaker was proposed by Mrs Driver, seconded by the Rev. 11. S. Gray, and carried by acclamation.

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141112.2.54

Bibliographic details

A PEEP INTO PARLIAMENT, Evening Star, Issue 15648, 12 November 1914

Word Count
756

A PEEP INTO PARLIAMENT Evening Star, Issue 15648, 12 November 1914

Working