Petitions

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd November 1979.

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Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West 12:00 am, 23rd November 1979

I have a brief statement to make. On Friday last, the hon. Member for Normanton (Mr. Roberts) presented a petition for leave to produce certain documents in a court of law and, in the usual way, moved a motion for such leave to be granted immediately thereafter. In rising to oppose this motion, the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) suggested that his single objection was sufficient to prevent the matter being proceeded with further.

Although I disagreed with him at the time, subsequent research has convinced me that the hon. Member is correct in his contention. There are clear precedents to show that if objection is taken at the outset to a motion of this kind moved without notice, even if it is done at a time when opposed business can be taken, the motion cannot then be proceeded with, and can be debated only on a future day after notice has been duly given. I assure the House that on any future occasion precedent will be followed. I have no power to annul what was done last week. This can be done only by an order of the House. However, in view of the substantial support that the House gave to the motion, I do not think it likely that the House will be disposed to make such an order.

Photo of Mr Chris Price Mr Chris Price , Lewisham West

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I thank you for that statement. I should like to make it clear that I would not wish to be a party to the annulment of the order, but it is important that hon. Members should know that the House has now reverted to its previous practice and that, if a petition of this kind is presented, a single objection is sufficient.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. He has stated the position correctly.