On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My understanding is that when a motion is made that a Bill be referred to a Second Reading Committee, rather than being taken on the Floor of the House, it is necessary for Members objecting to that motion to stand in a number not fewer than 20. [HON. MEMBERS: "We did."] It is very difficult to ascertain, over a second or two, whether the number 20 has been exceeded, but my genuine guess would be that it was approaching 20 but was fewer than 20.
The hon. Gentleman is correct when he says that there must be no fewer than 20 Members who rise in their place. My impression was that 20 Members had risen. However, I am liable to Celtic exaggeration, and I am prepared to put the Question. The Question is,
That the Public Lending Right Bill [Lords] be referred to a Second Reading Committee.Not less than 20 Members having risen in their places and signified their objection thereto, Mr. SPEAKER declared that the Noes had it, pursuant to Standing Order No. 66 (Second Reading Committees).
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In circumstances such as these, when 20 hon. Members rise and you then give a ruling, I wonder whether it is proper, wise or sensible, if then objection is taken by other quarters of the House, that we then have to go back to the matter. Quite plainly, there would have to be some time limit during which it would be possible to go back and plough the ground over again. I rather hope, Mr. Speaker, that you will look very much askance at the practice of asking you to do it again, because this could land us in great difficulties.