Early-Day Motions

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th March 1977.

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Photo of Mr George Gardiner Mr George Gardiner , Reigate and Banstead 12:00 am, 16th March 1977

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It will have come to your notice that, due to the action of my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) in tabling a whole series of amendments to Early-Day Motions, hon. Members had the benefit this morning of having reprinted the texts of all the Early-Day Motions. This is of great service to us. Indeed, it has proved to be so popular that I am now unable to obtain from the Vote Office a copy of the paper containing all these Early-Day Motions and the amendments thereto.

May I ask, Mr. Speaker, whether it is possible for you to issue instructions that a reprint be made so that hon. Members may have the benefit of the action undertaken by my hon. Friend and, secondly, whether anything can be done to end this ridiculous practice the result of which is that we cannot read the text of our Early-Day Motions?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I had prepared a statement in case anybody raised this matter.

have seen the amendments which were put down yesterday by the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) to numerous Early-Day Motions. Although many of them are not of very great substance, none is of such extreme irregularity as would normally cause me to direct the withholding of a notice from the Order Paper.

I have, however, a duty to point out to the House that an exercise of this sort cannot be carried out without a great deal of labour and expense. Members will have observed that it was not possible for the whole of the blue Notice Paper to be included in the early Vote delivery today. The cost of last night's operation was £2,000. I leave it to hon. Members to decide whether these are the sort of burdens that help the House or whether they should be imposed on Her Majesty's Stationery Office, which serves us and the public well and patiently.

Photo of Mr George Gardiner Mr George Gardiner , Reigate and Banstead

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is not the very fact that the Vote Office has run out of these papers proof that there is a demand from Members for these Early-Day Motions to be reprinted in this form?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

The fact is that a burden was imposed on the Stationery Office last night with all these amendments that had to be published, and, being human, it also finds that it is difficult to meet all the demands that are imposed upon it.