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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:44 pm on 27th January 1981.

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Photo of Mr Robert Rhodes James Mr Robert Rhodes James , Cambridge 6:44 pm, 27th January 1981

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Without any criticism of the conduct of the Chair, may I point out that some hon. Members unsuccessfully attempted to speak in the previous debate, having sat through the entire proceedings, whereas one hon. Member who came into the Chamber very late was called immediately. How are we to have genuine debate in the House when those hon. Members who have attended the whole debate are not called? Although we understand that all hon. Members cannot be called to speak, those hon. Members who attend the debates and who wish to take part in them surely should be given some precedence. We also understand that there are special occasions when Privy Councillors and others have to arrive late, but those occasions should be regarded as exceptional. I am sure you will remember, Mr. Deputy Speaker, from your experience as a Back Bencher, how dispiriting it is for a Back Bencher and how dispiriting it is for the whole future of debate in the House if hon. Members come into the Chamber and deliver set-piece speeches and then leave immediately, as the hon. Member in question did.