Dr. King, with your permission, I should like to make a personal statement. It relates to the debate in this Committee last Thursday, which is reported in column 1697 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of 20th May, when the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Sir W. Bromley-Davenport) used these words:
… I say again today that, like the Paymaster-General, the Socialist Party hates the farmers. [Laughter.] All right. We had an example of their attitude yesterday; perhaps hon. Members opposite will soon be laughing on the other side of their faces." [Interruption.]
On a point of order. Naturally Dr. King, we accept your Ruling completely that a personal statement should be received in silence, but is it normal for a personal statement to be used simply for an attack on the other side of the House?
Order. The purpose of a personal statement is to enable an hon. Member to make his own personal position clear on a mere matter of fact. A personal statement should deal with nothing else whatever.
The quotation continues:
They were disgusted"—
that is, the farmers—
because the Socialist Party Members"—
which included the two hon. Members on my right, the hon. Members for Stockport, North (Mr. Gregory) and the hon. Member for Stockport, South (Mr. Orbach—
including the hon. and learned Member for Crewe (Mr. Scholefield Allen), would not wait 20 minutes to see them.
The facts were as follows—
On a point of order, Dr. King. There is some confusion on these benches as to whether the hon. and learned Gentleman is reading from HANSARD or is giving an account of what he thought was in HANSARD. From time to time he starts to quote—I have a copy of the relevant HANSARD with me—and then he interpolates various remarks of his own. If he wants to draw the attention of the House to a complaint about something that is reported in HANSARD, surely he should read out the whole passage without embroidering it at all.
The hon. Gentleman is quite right. The purpose of a personal statement is to call attention to some matter. The hon. and learned Gentleman must read out the passage he complains of and make his own statement on fact without comment whatsoever.
I will read the passage again without any comment.
They were disgusted because the Socialist Party Members, including the hon. and learned Member for Crewe (Mr. Scholefield Allen), would not wait 20 minutes to see them."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th May, 1965; Vol. 712, c. 1697.]
The facts are as follows. On 14th May my two hon. Friends and I received an invitation from the secretary of the National Farmers' Union to attend a meeting in Committee Room 14, which had been reserved for 3.30, in these terms:
If you could arrange to meet us at that time we should be grateful. I have written to Mr. Orbach and Mr. Gregory who have also promised to do their best to attend.
We all three attended at 3.30. There were four other Members of the other party present—[HON. MEMBERS:
"Honourable Members".]—hon. Members, who did not include the hon. Member for Knutsford—the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford. Eight minutes after the appointed time—
In the midst of a person statement it is not in order for hon. Members to interrupt and question the word "honourable". If the hon. and learned Gentleman was suggesting that one of his Parliamentary colleagues was not honourable he must withdraw this suggestion.
I was adding the word "gallant" to the word "honourable" which I had already used. Eight minutes later, at the back of the large Committee Room, a large number of males, presumably farmers, entered. From the front of the Committee Room, which is a very long Committee Room, and on to the Chairman's platform, came the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford. He used these words, with which my two hon. Friends agree, "What the hell are you doing here?"
Order. This is transcending in every way the very serious purpose of a privilege which is given to every hon. Gentleman to correct a matter of fact. The hon. and learned Gentleman should point out in what way the first statement was wrong without going into all these details. We have a great deal of business to do.
On a point of order. I may be quite wrong, but I always understood that the procedure on a personal statement is that, by courtesy, one shows to Mr. Speaker the whole of the personal statement one intends and hopes to make to the House. Surely this personal statement was never cleared by Mr. Speaker?
I imagine that that is true. It may have been wrong for it to have been made in Committee. I am advised that it should have been made in the whole House after seeking the permission of Mr. Speaker and after submitting the details of the personal statement to Mr. Speaker.
"Learned", but not so learned from what we hear. The hon. and learned Member has accused me of using disgusting language, which I never use. There was one word I did not hear properly—I am a little deaf—but I understood that the word which it is alleged I used starts with an "f". [Interruption.] Did it?
I raised a point of order. In view of the difficulties in which the Committee is now finding itself and the statement which you, Dr. King, have just made, would it not be in order that you should direct that the recent exchanges should be expunged from the record and that the hon. and learned Member for Crewe (Mr. Scholefield Allen) should adopt the normal procedure of raising the matter with Mr. Speaker and make his personal statement in the whole House, as indeed is the tradition of the House?
On a point of order. I was present right through the whole of these proceedings and I must make it abundantly clear that what the hon. and learned Member for Crewe said was not true.
Order. I was given to understand that the hon. and learned Member for Crewe wished to make a personal statement on a matter of fact. He had made a personal statement, apparently in the wrong place. He should have submitted it to Mr. Speaker and made it in the House rather than in Committee. In any case, it is still true that personal statements are not discussed or argued about. We must get on with the business.
On a point of order. With great respect, Dr. King, we have been told by you that this statement should not have been made in Committee. I want to ask you how we can get that expunged from the proceedings of the House. Do we make representations to Mr. Speaker, or do we put down a Motion that this improper statement, which was made improperly at an improper time, should be expunged from the proceedings of the House?
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman wants my advice, perhaps he will come and see me afterwards and I will give it to him.
I have an announcement to make. We are making an experiment to make sure that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen get their marshalled Order Paper on the Finance Bill earlier in the morning. Therefore, as from today all Amendments handed in by 10.30 at night will appear on the next day's Order Paper in marshalled form in their proper places on the Paper. Any Amendments handed in after 10.30 will, of course, appear on the Paper, but at the end of the Order Paper unmarshalled. This produces one curious point—that tomorrow morning, as marshalling will begin at 10.30 tonight and no doubt we shall not finish by 10.30, the Order Paper may contain some Amendments which were not disposed of when the marshalling took place. It will help all hon. Members now if hon. Members who have late thoughts about Amendments would get them in by 10.30 at night. This applies, of course, only to the Finance Bill.
The first Amendment selected is Amendment No. 256, in Clause 16, page 11, line 12, leave out "twelve" and insert "six" and it will be convenient to the Committee to take with it Amendment No. 225, page 12, line 28, leave out paragraph (b).
Before we proceed, Dr. King, may I ask your advice on one point? We are very grateful for the arrangements which you are making for the Order Paper.
I notice that, in the general selection which has been posted, in some cases Amendments which deal with the remainder of Part II of the Bill have also been selected with Part III. Part II deals with short-term and Part III with long-term capital gains. This will put the Committee in some difficulty, because the arguments dealing with the short term are very often different from those dealing with the long term. Whereas I do not ask you to give a decision at the moment, perhaps I will raise this matter when the Amendments come before us, because we should like to reserve our position on this since it would involve in some cases having a main debate on an Amendment before we come to Clause 18 which is the substantive Clause on capital gains.
I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's difficulty, but what the Chair was anxious to avoid was two debates on exactly the same issues, on the same broad principles, at two different points in the Bill. What the grouping which the Chair has made has done is to group identical details under the short-term and the major capital gains. I think that it ought to be possible to debate them together, but if it should prove technically impossible I will certainly look at the matter again.