Lebanon

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th January 1976.

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Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Brighton, Pavilion 12:00 am, 20th January 1976

I beg to ask 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 threat posed to the European Community and the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance by the aggression from Syria into the Lebanon. I shall not try to argue the merits of the case in any way. I apologise at the outset, Mr. Speaker, for not giving you notice that I intended to raise this matter. I had hoped that it would be possible to raise it on one of the Prime Minister's Questions which related to his meeting—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. I must interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. Standing Order No. 9(3) is quite specific: A Member intending to propose to move the adjournment of the House under the provisions of this order shall give notice to Mr. Speaker by twelve o'clock, if the urgency of the matter is known at that hour. I am afraid that the right hon. Gentleman is precluded from raising it because of that order. The mere fact that a Minister did not make an answer which the right hon. Gentleman hoped might be made, or that the right hon. Gentleman did not get the chance to put a supplementary question, does not bring him within the terms of the Standing Order.

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Brighton, Pavilion

On a point of order. I did not have the information which is now at my command before 12 o'clock, therefore, Mr Speaker, I was not in a position to approach you before.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to be very specific. I thought that he was asking me to allow a debate on the question of some action by the Syrian Government. Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that that action was not known before 12 o'clock by anybody?

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Brighton, Pavilion

It was not known to me. I received a telephone call from Beirut after 12 o'clock.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I really do not think that the right hon. Gentleman can bring himself within the terms of the Standing Order. I should have had notice.

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Brighton, Pavilion

On a point of order. The matter is extremely urgent. The Foreign Office may or may not have the information. It may well have information which I do not possess, but, according to my information, there has been an invasion overnight—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman when he received this information? When did this information arrive?

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Brighton, Pavilion

I personally received it by telephone after 12 o'clock today.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

No suggestion was made to the Chair until about twenty-five minutes past three. The right hon. Gentleman must try to raise it by a Private Notice Question tomorrow.

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Brighton, Pavilion

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, to press this point, but by 12 o'clock tomorrow the situation may be such that it is too late. An invasion—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. The right hon. Gentleman must allow me to be quite firm and definite with him. On what he said, certainly I do not think that I should allow the matter to be raised under Standing Order No. 9 on a telephone call. I should need to know much more about it. I had no notice of it at all until about twenty-five minutes past three. My answer must certainly be "No". I am not prepared to disrupt the business of the House on a matter on which it would appear that the Government have not at the moment any immediate responsibility. It is a matter which can be raised by Private Notice Question tomorrow, and I shall consider it then.