Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Amendment) Bill

Orders of the Day — Social Security (Age of Retirement) Ball – in the House of Commons at 2:16 pm on 25th November 1983.

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Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Second Reading [18th November].

Hon. Members:

Object.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Debate to be resumed what day?

Photo of Robert Wareing Robert Wareing , Liverpool, West Derby

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. In view of the considerable interest that there has been in the Bill and of the fact that 14 organisations for disabled people—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order."]—wrote to The Times only today, it is in the interests of the people that they know the names of the right hon. or hon. Gentlemen who objected. I do not know whether that——

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. The hon. Gentleman must resume his seat when I am standing. This is not a matter for the Chair. I understand the hon. Gentleman's grievance, but the matter has been raised in the House from time to time. It is not a matter for the Chair.

Photo of Mr Alf Morris Mr Alf Morris , Manchester Wythenshawe

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing) was debated for five hours last Friday, with no vote on Second Reading. Its main principle was debated previously for five hours on 11 February, also without a decision on Second Reading, in the debate on the Bill presented by the right hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Stewart). The principle of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Amendment) Bill is deeply important to Britain's 5·5 million disabled people and their families and there will be widespread dismay and disquiet that it is now being killed off by a nameless person.

This defeat for disabled people is a victory for unjustified secrecy. I hope that it will be agreed on both sides of the House that secrecy in this case does no honour to the name and reputation of the House of Commons. Is it not time that the Select Committee on Procedure (Finance)—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] I am raising ail important point of order. Is it not time for the Select Committee on Procedure (Finance) to review the procedure whereby—after 10 hours' debate—a single Government Whip can destroy a Bill in secrecy on the floor of the House?

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. I have heard the right hon. Gentleman's point. I well understand it and his sense of resentment, but it is not a matter for me. Questions——

Photo of Mr Tom Cox Mr Tom Cox , Tooting

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

I am dealing with a point of order. The hon. Gentleman will resume his seat. It is a matter more for the Leader of the House than for me. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman will read the comments by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) in the Official Report.

Photo of Mr Tom Cox Mr Tom Cox , Tooting

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Hon. Members are aware of the difficulties that you face when such issues are raised, but I refer to you the comments repeatedly made by the previous Speaker, now Lord Tonypandy, warning hon. Members of the general public's image of Parliament. May I please ask——

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. I doubt whether that is a point of order. If the hon. Gentleman could come quickly to his point of order, it would help the House.

Photo of Mr Tom Cox Mr Tom Cox , Tooting

The point is that we know what goes on behind the Chair. The Government Chief Whip is here. Is it possible for Mr. Speaker to—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order."]

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. What goes on behind the Chair is not a matter for me. Debate to be resumed what day?

Photo of Mr Max Madden Mr Max Madden , Bradford West

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It would be helpful if you will explain to the public and to the public gallery the purpose which is served by the intervention of an hon. Member in a strangled voice saying, "Object."

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. With respect to the hon. Gentleman, I have ruled on this matter.

Photo of Mr Peter Snape Mr Peter Snape , West Bromwich East

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is there not something peculiarly offensive about the way in which the objection has been recorded in the debate? The hon. Member for Harlow (Mr. Hayes), who is a would-be Whip, judging by his behaviour, has objected to a Bill in the proceedings on which, as far as I know, he has taken no part whatever, and he has immediately left the Chamber. Surely, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you could bring to the attention of Mr. Speaker——

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

rose——

Photo of Mr Peter Snape Mr Peter Snape , West Bromwich East

—the abuse of the proceedings of the House, which should be investigated by a Select Committee.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. The hon. Gentleman must resume his seat when I stand. Our practice is not to record the names of the individual hon. Members who may or may not have shouted, "Object," any more than it is when we seek to collect the voices when a question is put to the House, and hon. Members shout "Aye" or "No".

If I recall correctly, several hon. Members shouted "Object," and if it was within the responsibility of the Chair to attempt to do so it would frequently be quite impossible for the Chair to identify those hon. Members. Can we get on?

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Brent South

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I appreciate that this is not within your power, but Mr. Speaker has the responsibility of protecting the interests of Back-Bench Members. Will you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, ask Mr. Speaker on our behalf whether he would ask the appropriate Select Committee to examine the number of hon. Members who are required to vote if a motion is to be agreed? At the moment, the figure is 100. The House might be assisted in these difficult circumstances if the Committee could review the number, because the Bill introduced by the right hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Stewart) was defeated when only 77 Members voted. Had the hon. Gentleman had a few more votes, the Bill would not have reached the House this time, as we would have passed a Bill on the same principle last year.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

I understand the point made by the hon. Gentleman. If the House wishes, the Select Committee on Procedure might well look at this matter. As I said earlier, this is more a matter for the Leader of the House than for Mr. Speaker. I shall certainly draw to Mr. Speaker's attention the remarks of the hon. Gentleman. I hope that the Leader of the House in his daily perusal of Hansard will note the remarks made by the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Max Madden Mr Max Madden , Bradford West

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am grateful to you for your assurance that you will convey to Mr. Speaker the views of my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) and other of my hon. Friends who have put points to you. In view of the uncertainty which clearly exists about who objects to the Bill, would it be helpful to the House and to you if the Question on the Bill could be put again, so that we could clear up the matter?

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

I think, with respect that the hon. Gentleman is trying it on. He has had much experience in the House and he knows that that is certainly not a point of order, nor a matter with which I could deal.

Debate to be resumed on Friday next.