Mr. John Heddle accordingly presented a Bill to increase the penalties for unauthorised works to buildings or historical of architectural interest; to make further provision for the repair and maintenance of such buildings; and for related purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time upon Friday 13 Feburary and to be printed. [Bill 53].
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I would not have sought to raise a point of order in the middle of the speech of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) if I had not thought that I should raise two points of order with you, Mr. Speaker.
Does it not constitute an abuse of the Ten-Minute Bill procedure for an hon. Member speaking in opposition to the Bill to say at the beginning of his speech that he does not intend to divide the House against it? That is an unfortunate development, which wastes the time of the House.
Secondly, when an hon. Member seeks to oppose a Bill, surely he should not make what the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) himself described as a Second Reading speech but should confine himself to what the Bill purports to do, without imagining a whole series of things which have no relevance and which the Bill does not seek to do. My hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Heddle) made it clear that he was not seeking—he could not—to increase expenditure of public money, but most of the long diatribe that we have just heard centred on that subject, and could scarcely have been further from the point. With due deference, Mr. Speaker, I had hoped that you would yourself feel inclined to call the hon. Member to order.
The sting was in the tail of the point of order. When it is in the name of the hon. Member, I take special notice.
I believe that there has been an unfortunate tendency recently for some hon. Members to say at the beginning of a speech that they will not force their opposition to a Division but will merely make a speech. Although I have no powers in this regard I hope that the custom will stop forthwith. Secondly, with regard to the remarks of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis), I think that he was speaking according to his interpretation of what the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Heddle) said and his interpretation was obviously different from that of many other hon. Members. As for the sting in the tail, there are times when the shortest way home is the longest way round.