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New Writ (Edinburgh, South)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th May 1957.

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Motion made, and Question proposed,

That Mr. Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown to make out a New Writ for the electing of a Member to serve in this present Parliament for Edinburgh, South, in the room of Sir William Young Darling, C.B.E., M.C. (Chiltern Hundreds) —[Mr. Heath.]

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

May I draw the attention of the House to the fact that this resignation, or the appointment of Sir William Darling as Steward, was only published in The Times of last Saturday, which is five days ago? In the case to which I objected yesterday, and which the House may remember, the period was no less than nearly twelve weeks. I wish to draw attention to the undue or indecent haste shown in the case of the constituency of Edinburgh, South, where the local Labour Party organisation may be adversely affected, and therefore there would not be a fair by-election in Edinburgh, South because of the behaviour of the Government.

In both cases, in Hornsey and in Edinburgh, South, the Government have had knowledge of these matters for some time, and I should like to say that I take a very poor view of this altogether. The Parliament-loving Conservatives in Hornsey also will show their disgust at the behaviour of the Government. Let us renew the by-election shocks on the Government and force them to get out.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

Before the House gives its consent to this Motion, surely we are entitled to some explanation from the Government about the principles—if there are any principles—on which these questions are determined? One can understand that the decision should not be related to any other case, but nevertheless there is very great haste here com- pared with Government practice in other cases.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

If the hon. Member is opposing the Motion before the House I shall have to stand it over until after Question Time. Otherwise the time taken up in discussing it now will come out of Question Time. If the matter is contested, it is customary to discuss it at a more convenient time.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

I am obliged, Mr. Speaker. I should like to oppose this Motion. I apologise for doing so at the wrong time.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Very well, that may be done after Questions.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

The Clerk will now proceed to read the Title of the Private Bill

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I move,

That Mr. Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown to make out a New Writ for the electing of a Member to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of Hornsey in the room of Sir Leonard David Gammans, Baronet, deceased—

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Order. I should have to have notice of that Motion.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

Surely no notice has to be given in a matter of Privilege. We had no notice that the Chief Whip was going to move the Motion which he did.

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I should have to have notice of any such Motion. No one can produce such a Motion out of the blue without telling me something about it, so that I may consider it.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

May I, with very great respect, Mr. Speaker, say that it seems to me quite clear—and I apologise for any discourtesy, which I hope you will believe was not intended at all—that the point really is that it is clearly stated in Erskine May that these Motions are Motions of Privilege, and, therefore, no notice has to be given and no notice has to be given on the Order Paper. I read that as any ordinary person would, trying to understand normal English, as meaning that I had no need to give notice. I have given no notice. I gave some indication yesterday that if the Government did not act today, I might move this Motion. I agree that that was not notice to you, Mr. Speaker, but now, having given you a moment's notice, may I now please formally move the Motion again? If I did, what would you say? Would you say that I must not?

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

But what if I had seen you at twelve o'clock? May I repeat—

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Order. I had no notice of the hon. Member's intention. Therefore, before he rose, I had called the next business, which was a Private Bill, and I must adhere to that.

Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

Further to that point of order. May I respectfully ask this question? If I had seen you at twelve o'clock today, Mr. Speaker, would you not have called this Motion and would it not have been in order? You could not have stopped me moving it, could you, Sir?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Again, I do not know, Anyhow, the hon. Member gave me no notice at all, and I had no knowledge of his intentions. I called the next business, and the next business is the question before the House.

PRIVATE BUSINESS

LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL (MONEY) BILL
(by Order)

Second Reading deferred till Thursday next.