6 FEBRUARY 1948, Page 5


THE restoration of harmony in the House of Lords on Wednesday was a brief, dignified and cordial proceeding. There was the usual excess of corporations over accommodation, and in view of certain other recent agitations there might be thought to be some suggestive symbolism in the presence among the crowd at the Bar of a woman M.P., Lady Grant, exercising her right as a member of the House of Commons to stand on the threshold of a Chamber to whose benches women are not admitted. Expectation of an immediate statement on the Parliament Bill issue was cheated because two or three questions on the paper had to be answered first, one of them eliciting the surprising answer (which had been given in the Commons the day before) that 2 per cent. of Army recruits have to be put to elementary education courses on account of their illiteracy. Then came Lord Salisbury's suave question to the Leader of the House as to whether he had any statement, Lord Addison's reply

that he had, then the reading of the announcement that the Govern- ment was ready for a conference on the powers of the Second Chamber with the widest terms of .reference, Lord Salisbury's welcome to the announcement as "a notable victory for the spirit of common sense," Lord Samuel's reminder that this was only the preliminary to the prologue to a preparatory conference, a spatter of scepticism from Lord Stansgate, and an adjournment precisely half an hour after Lord Jowitt had established himself on the Woolsack.

A very good start on what may be a long and rocky road—though in fact the Opposition leaders are likely to show themselves as ready as anyone for radical and constructive changes.

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