Questions to Ministers

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th June 1979.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley 12:00 am, 11th June 1979

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It will be within your recollection that in a supplementary question to the Secretary of State the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) asked for the guidelines to be laid on the Table of the House. This is a custom of the House. The Minister has referred to them on several occasions. He was specifically asked by one of his hon. Friends whether he would place the guidelines on the Table. He made absolutely no reference whatsoever to that. I ask for your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on the question whether the Minister is required to place the information before the House, as is the custom, and whether you will so direct him.

Secondly, I ask for your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on another matter. During questions on this issue and the private notice question, several hon. Members who have known financial interests asked questions. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to ask hon. Members—as a voluntary code; I know that the House did not pass a resolution on this matter—to volunteer their financial interests where they are absolutely essential to the question, as with some of the occasions during the past hour, so that people outside the House—and we serve the public—have a correct knowledge and understanding of the reasons why questions are raised.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

The hon. Gentleman has raised two matters. First, with regard to the guidelines to which the Minister referred, the Minister made no quotation from them, and, as far as I am concerned, he is not obliged to lay them on the Table.

Secondly, with regard to declaring personal interests in matters that are raised, this is always a matter for hon. Mem- bers concerned and for the House itself rather than a matter for me to rule upon.

Photo of Mr Bob Cryer Mr Bob Cryer , Keighley

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am grateful for your comments. You said that the Minister did not quote from the guidelines. In fact, the Minister indicated that the guidelines contained some sort of guidance, quite obviously. We do not know whether he was quoting directly, because we do not know the content. Therefore, if the Minister was using the guidelines in any sense—he may well have been using a direct quotation; we have no knowledge—he ought surely to be required to place them in the Library. Will you, Mr Speaker, ask the Minister whether he used a direct quotation from the guidelines and whether he is prepared to place them on the Table?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

It is not for me to question Ministers about statements that they have made.

Photo of Mr Ioan Evans Mr Ioan Evans , Aberdare

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have had a statement from the Minister outlining the problem. Could we, through you, ask the Minister tomorrow what the Government will be doing about this?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. The hon. Member cannot ask the Minister anything through me. I am not that invisible.