This places in difficulty a number of hon. Members who have stayed to take part in the debate. It is difficult for us to understand what is happening. We have already had the delayed civil defence debates, which have been shifted from day to day to the great inconvenience of hon. Members, and now the Government at the last moment have retreated from the debate that the House expected tonight. If this is the position, is it not possible for the Leader of the House to be present for a change and to explain to us just what is happening and when these very important matters will be considered?
That is not a point of order for me. I am not responsible for the presence or absence of the Leader of the House at any particular moment. All I am responsible for is seeing that any Orders of the Day on the Order Paper are dealt with as and when they are moved. We have already dealt with three or four Orders of the Day, but when the Order for the adjourned debate was called it was indicated by the Government that it was not being dealt with today. When that adjourned debate is resumed the hon. Gentleman who had the floor at the time it was adjourned will be able to resume his speech. I am afraid that the Chair cannot do any more about it.
Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Chair is in a difficult position in relation to this, but as the Ministers responsible for the debate are present, could we not have the courtesy of an explanation from the Government about what is happening and why the House is being treated with this extreme discourtesy? It is a monstrous situation. The Ministers are here. Surely one of them will have the courtesy to tell us what is happening.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This is the strangest incident in Parliamentary procedure that I can ever recollect. We have on the Order Paper the Order for the adjourned debate. The Minister concerned is sitting on the Treasury Bench. One of the gentlemen very closely concerned with the Order was in the Public Gallery. Yet the adjourned debate is not taken at this time of night, and the Minister sits there and refuses to get up and give any explanation. It is contumacious behaviour towards the House.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Do I understand that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary is rising to move the Supplementary Benefit (Determination of Requirements) Regulations, 1967? If so, and if I heard correctly, when you first called that Order another member of the Government called out "not moved". It is very difficult to know how Government business is being conducted if one member of the Government says "not moved" and another rises to move the Regulations. We should at least have the advantage of lack of confusion even if there is lack of courtesy.