Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that he paid a well-deserved tribute to the way in which shipping, insurance and banking had regularly contributed positively to our balance of payments. In recognition of that contribution, would he agree that the time has come to relieve them of Selective Employment Tax?
I certainly paid that tribute. Indeed, their contribution to our invisible earnings has increased considerably, particularly in the last year, for reasons which hon. Members will understand, and particularly as a consequence of devaluation. However, I would not have felt that S.E.T. was inhibiting them from making what is now a record contribution——
On a point of order. I wish to point out, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells) has been standing at the Bar of the House for the last ten minutes munching apples. Now he has entered the Chamber and is making an exhibition of himself. I do not know whether you have noticed this, Mr. Speaker. I would be obliged if you would do something about it.
Before that point of order. I was saying that I was not aware that S.E.T. was preventing this record achievement of invisible earnings. It is worth pointing out that, as a proportion of our trade earnings, as a proportion of visible exports, invisibles are now less than they were some years ago.
If I did not deal with the point of order when it was raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) it was because Mr. Speaker is probably more aware than any hon. Member how keen hon. Members are to get Questions on the Order Paper, and how anxious they are to get them answered. This is why the Chair is always putting on pressure at Question Time to enable as many hon. Gentlemen as possible, who have taken great pains to work out Questions, to have the opportunity to put them.
On the issue itself, I understand that two centuries ago Parliament was a place where hon. Members brought in oranges, to eat. That custom has disappeared during the years. I do not think that its disappearance has in any way taken from the dignity of the House and, indeed, may have added to it. I have no power to interfere with an hon. Gentleman's masticatory habits, but I would impress on the House that the dignity of the House of Commons, which every hon. Member prizes, is in the hands of every hon. Member. Mr. John Hynd—on a point of order.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I remind you that in 1945 or 1946 an hon. Member on this side was eating an orange and was ordered by your predecessor to desist from the practice? Is that not a useful precedent which, with respect, you might consider following today?