Northern Ireland

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st January 1972.

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Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South 12:00 am, 31st January 1972

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I beg to seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, the deteriorating situation in Northern Ireland as evidenced in the tragic events in Londonderry on 30th January, 1972, and the danger that it will lead to further civilian and military deaths, and the need for urgency in Government policy on security decisions and talks leading to a political settlement. The situation speaks for itself. The events occur in the United Kingdom. No words of mine are needed to embellish what television shows in our homes and what we see when we visit Northern Ireland. I simply beg to move.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

The hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) has asked leave—he gave me notice some time ago of his intention—to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter which he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely, The deteriorating situation in Northern Ireland as evidenced in the tragic events in Londonderry on 30th January, 1972, with the danger that it will lead to further civilian and military deaths, and the need for urgency in Government policy on security decisions and talks leading to a political settlement. These are difficult matters to decide. The decision is for me. I am not allowed to give reasons. I am satisfied that the matter raised by the hon. Gentleman is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 9. Has the hon. Gentleman leave of the House?

The leave of the House having been given

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

If there is no shout of "No", there is no need for anybody to stand up.

The Motion stood over under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) until the commencement of public business Tomorrow.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have raised this point before. I realise that the Standing Order allows only for three hours. In view of the importance of this debate and the fact that there are many hon. Members who are not from Northern Ireland but who feel very strongly about this situation, is it not possible to extend the period of debate? Can this be done through the usual channels, or is there no way in which it could be achieved?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I must rule at once that there is no way in which it could be done. The Standing Order only allows a debate for three hours. The matter is completely out of my hands.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Since, when you asked just now whether the Motion had leave of the House, most right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House stood up but very few, if arty, right hon. and hon. Members opposite stood up—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. I pointed out at once that it was quite unnecessary for anyone to stand up. Unless there is a disputing of the permission, it is quite unnecessary for anyone to stand up.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

Perhaps I can finish my question for the benefit of HANSARD, Mr. Speaker. Would you therefore refrain from calling in the debate tomorrow those who are not interested?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

That is not a point of of order and I will certainly pay no attention to it.

The Clerk will now proceed to read the Orders of the Day.

Photo of Mr Peter Rees Mr Peter Rees , Dover

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to raise as a matter of breach of privilege the conduct of the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Miss Devlin) in assaulting my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. I have to be firm on these matters. I have already called on the Clerk to read the Orders of the day. I am sorry, but I cannot give the hon. and learned Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees) permission to go on with his submission at this stage.