Questions to Ministers

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd May 1972.

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Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn 12:00 am, 2nd May 1972

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday when the old-age pensioner, Mr. Eric Camp, started his hunger strike outside the House of Commons, I tabled a Question to the Secretary of State for Social Services, Written Question No. 53, asking whether he would make a statement on the matter. In view of the urgency of the situation, I also asked the Secretary of State whether he would seek your permission to answer my Written Question after Question Time today. As it is clear that the right hon. Gentleman has no intention of meeting that request, may I, through you, Mr. Speaker, ask the Leader of the House to ensure that, as this man is still, to the best of my knowledge, on hunger strike, the Secretary of State makes a statement to the House tomorrow?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

That is not strictly a point of order, but the right hon. Lady has made her point.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

I will discuss this with my right hon. Friend. I cannot say more than that at the moment.

Photo of Mr Jock Stallard Mr Jock Stallard , St Pancras North

Further to that point of order—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. I have ruled that it is not a point of order. To suggest to a Minister he ought to have answered a Question is not a matter of order. I must protect the business of the House. This is an abuse of procedure and not a point of order.

Photo of Mr Jock Stallard Mr Jock Stallard , St Pancras North

On a new point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I as a comparatively green Member of this House seek your guidance on the question of the rights of access to a Member of Parliament arising from the point which has been made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle)? I understand that Mr. Camp, who was charged with obstruction, was remanded on bail this morning until 20th June on condition that he does not enter the City of Westminster. Does not that affect his rights of access—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. The hon. Member is being very ingenious. I cannot allow, under the guise of points of order. a debate about a gentleman who sought to have a hunger strike outside the House of Commons. This is a matter for debate, not a matter that comes within the rules of order of the House.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Whilst accepting your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, that my hon. Friend's question was not a point of order, may I request you to consider and report to the House your view on the question of an order preventing any citizen from having access to this House? If he were to come and cause obstruction, that would be a matter for the police; but it seems to be a constitutional matter affecting rights of access. I do not press for an answer today, but —this was my hon. Friend's object in his new point of order—will you consider this matter? Otherwise the only redress open to the House, since it reflects on the court's decision, might be to put down a Motion on the court's decision. Could you advise the House tomorrow?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I am prepared to consider the matter, including the Bellingham case about rights of access to the House of Commons. Right hon. and hon. Members can consider what that case was.

I will certainly go into this matter and rule upon it, if necessary.

Photo of Mr Harry Ewing Mr Harry Ewing , Stirling and Falkirk Burghs

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister, in reply to Question No. 02 by my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Clinton Davis), clearly caused very serious reflections on the professional qualifications of my hon. Friend. I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on what methods are open for redress by my hon. Friend. Better still, would the Prime Minister seek to withdraw those remarks?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

That is not a point of order.