I gave a considered Ruling on the matter of hon. Members bringing bags into the House. I think the subject of it then was the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot), against whom a complaint was laid. If the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) is offending against the spirit of that Ruling, I have no doubt that he will put it right.
I have a very lively recollection of the Ruling you gave, Mr. Speaker, on that occasion. What you said, if I remember rightly, was that so long as the object was small and not too bulky and did not give offence to the traditions of the House, it was all right. I can assure hon. Members that the ammunition contained in this case is not deadly to their persons, but to their future prospects.
Mr. Speaker, I have a very clear recollection of the incident to which you referred. If I remember rightly, the Ruling was not given in respect of male hon. Members of the House, who could not carry in packages, but was an easement given in respect of the lady hon. Members on the ground that their bags were the equivalent of our pockets—which seems a generous allowance in the case of some—but apparently that is so. I would have no objection to the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale using a brief case if the same courtesy could be extended to myself and to every other hon. Member.
The Ruling I gave, so far as I can recollect, only related to the size of bags in the case of lady hon. Members. Other hon. Members, apart from Ministers—who by custom are permitted to bring portfolios into the Chamber—should not bring in bags of any sort.