5 MAY 1939, Page 3

On the first day that he entered the House of

Commons, Mr. A. P. Herbert made it plain that he did not propose to consider himself as an ordinary Member. The majority of the House were shocked when he challenged Mr. Baldwin on a question of business. Later, with his Divorce Bill, he showed the House that he was very much more than a jester. He suffers, however, from his own qualities. His speech on the Population Statistics Bill, which reduced the House to convulsions at the time, in retrospect did not redound to his credit. Last Friday, arising out of the Royal Assent in the House of Lords, Mr. Herbert raised the question of privilege with the Speaker, affirming that the Clerk of the Parliaments had not bowed to the Commons when he should have done. Unfortunately for Mr. Herbert he was proved on Tuesday, by Mr. Speaker, to have been entirely wrong in his assump- tions, and no breach of privilege was involved. Mr. Herbert, in rising to apologise, so badly misread the temper of the House, that he was, in parlance which he will understand, " given the bird." Mr. Herbert does occupy a unique position, and uses it to the great advantage of Parliament. It is a pity when he gives the impression to the House that A. P. H. is getting the upper hand of the Senior Burgess for Oxford University.