New Writ

Messages from the Queen – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th July 1981.

Alert me about debates like this

Motion made and Question proposed, That a new writ be issued for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, in the room of Bobby Sands Esq. deceased.—[Mr. D. E. Thomas.]

Photo of Mr Gerry Fitt Mr Gerry Fitt , Belfast West

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Is the hon. Gentleman rising to oppose the motion?

Photo of Mr Gerry Fitt Mr Gerry Fitt , Belfast West

No. I am asking for your direction, Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Is it within your ambit to accept or reject the motion that has been proposed, or is it for the House to decide? This issue has been well publicised in the past few days in the national newspapers. Have you taken into account, Mr. Speaker, that the emaciated dead or dying body of an IRA hunger striker is a more lethal weapon than an Armalite rifle in the arms of the men of violence?

By accepting the motion now, the House may be condemning hunger strikers and others to death.—[HON. MEMBERS: "This is not a point of order."] Have you taken that fact into account, Mr. Speaker? If the writ is moved, there will be an election in August. The House will not be sitting, so there will be no urgency for a voice to he heard on behalf of Fermanagh and South Tyrone. If the election takes place—

Mr. J. Enoch Powell:

This is not a point of order.

Photo of Mr Gerry Fitt Mr Gerry Fitt , Belfast West

I am talking not to the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), but to you, Mr. Speaker. Have you, Mr. Speaker—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. The hon. Gentleman is coming to the end of his point of order. I hope that the House will be patient, because the hon. Gentleman is within his rights on a point of order.

Photo of Mr Gerry Fitt Mr Gerry Fitt , Belfast West

This is not the first time that the right hon. Member for Down, South has tried to assume the role of Mr. Speaker.

Have you taken all the factors involved into account, Mr. Speaker? The election will take place in August and the newly elected Member of Parliament will not be able to take his seat. For several years, Members of Parliament who have represented that constituency have not taken their seats. By accepting the motion you are, in effect, saying—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. I have given the hon. Gentleman the respect that I always give to him when he refers to matters in Northern Ireland, as I know the House does, but it is not a point of order on which I can rule. If the motion is unopposed, I will put the question.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

The proceedings stand postponed until after Question Time.

Later

Question put and agreed to.