Business of the House

– in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 11th May 1987.

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Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , North Shropshire 3:30 pm, 11th May 1987

I should like to make a brief business statement.

In the light of the announcement earlier today by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, the business for the remainder of the week will be rearranged. I propose to make a further statement to the House later today, following discussions through the usual channels.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Bethnal Green and Stepney

We very much welcome the circumstances that have brought the right hon. Gentleman to the House, and we shall look forward to his further statement at 7 o'clock this evening.

Photo of Mr John Stokes Mr John Stokes , Halesowen and Stourbridge

With regard to the coming struggle, to which Conservative Members look forward with relish, does my right hon. Friend recall the words of Disraeli and Lord Randolph Churchill, "Trust the people"? That is exactly what we are going to do.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , South Down

With reference to the business provisionally being considered through the usual channels for the remainder of the week, will the Leader of the House see whether he can transfer the Territorial Sea Bill debate from Wednesday to Tuesday, which may be more convenient for some hon. Members with a special interest in that legislation?

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , North Shropshire

Most certainly.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lewis Mr Kenneth Lewis , Stamford and Spalding

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have not heard the announcement which he said my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made? But, in so far as my right hon. Friend has now conveyed it to me, may I—I think that the House agrees—congratulate him on the way in which he has answered our questions during business time throughout this Parliament'? However, I am sorry that he seems to have fallen down in his last statement. I hope that he realises that, by announcing the election for June, he is taking from me and from many of my colleagues our summer holiday pay.

Photo of Dr Maurice Miller Dr Maurice Miller , East Kilbride

Does the rearrangement of business for the rest of this week include the rearrangement of today's business?

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , North Shropshire

No. It is hoped that today's business will stand as announced last Thursday.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery Sir Peter Emery , Honiton

May I presume that, among the immensely important business that will have to be rearranged, my right hon. Friend will make certain that we have a debate on the Procedure Committee's reports?

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , North Shropshire

I am sure that I can arrange for that to be considered, but it is a matter of travelling hopefully rather than expectantly.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Mossley Hill

Does the Leader of the House think that it is legitimate for the guillotine to be used on legislation as important as the Scottish rates legislation? Does he agree that, if we had fixed-term Parliaments, the Government would not find themselves in the position of having to bludgeon the House into ramming through important legislation of this kind?

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , North Shropshire

The decision of the House to provide for a guillotine motion on the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Bill was taken some weeks ago.

Several Hon. Members:

rose——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. We do not know what the rearrangement of business will be. I am sure that the House would agree that since this is a private Members' day we should reserve further questions until later.