House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:58 pm on 12th April 1983.

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Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East 10:58 pm, 12th April 1983

I wish to seek your guidance, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I had intended to make a brilliant speech, which would have held the House spellbound this evening, about amendment (d), but you have ruled that this amendment, relating to the chief executive or chairman of a contracting television programme, is out of order. Yet it is a far more serious case than that of lawyers. The Independent Broadcasting Authority, as a condition of franchise, lays down that the programme contractor must be completely unbiased and impartial. It is impossible for a Member of Parliament of any party to be that.

Before you interrupt me Mr. Deputy Speaker, which I fear is imminent, I must ask a question. If you rule against amendment (d) being taken this evening, and I for the life of me cannot see why, how or when can this important matter be raised? If the press is biased, as it is, surely it is vital that television provides some balance. Unless we are able to pursue the amendment, I do not see how that balance can be provided. Can you tell me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, how or when I can move such an amendment?