Even in peace-time the ordinary private member is a far
busier man than the public, or a large part of the Press, seems to realise. The amount of work which his constituents expect of him is constantly increasing. He is the universal Court of Appeal. Since the war the burden has become substantially heavier. The discontents of the Services are constantly brought to his attention ; tradesmen have in- numerable complaints ; civil defence volunteers are dissatis- fied with their organisation or treatment ; and local manu- facturers, whose usual markets have been cut off, clamour for Government contracts. On several recent occasions the attendance at debates has been inexcusably poor, a fact on which various newspapers have remarked. The criticism is legitimate. But their readers possibly do not know that a Member may often spend a whole day toiling for his con- stituents without ever entering the Chamber. This growth in the volume of " constituency business " presents a serious problem. After all, the paramount duty of a Member of Parliament is, in the old phrase, to " attend the service of the House " and to arrive at his own judgement on the great issues which are there presented. He cannot discharge this function if his time and energy is taken up in promoting the purely local interests of his division.