Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 25th July 1984.

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Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough 3:32 pm, 25th July 1984

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Today 35 minutes were allowed for 84 Foreign and Commonwealth questions and 20 minutes to deal with only six EEC questions. As there is clearly far too little time for the many Foreign and Commonwealth questions and far too much time for the very few EEC questions, may I suggest that we have a full hour for Foreign and Commonwealth questions and relegate EEC questions to a vital, critical time, such as a Friday morning?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

As the hon. Gentleman well knows, the allocation of time for questions is not for me but for the usual channels. I am sure that his comments will have been heard.

Photo of Mr Donald Coleman Mr Donald Coleman , Neath

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In business questions last Thursday I raised with the Leader of the House the subject of the serious drought in Wales, especially in south-east Wales, and asked for a statement. Is it possible for that matteer to be raised today?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I have had no notification of such a statement today, but I am sure that the matter will be borne in mind.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley , Eltham

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Today, as on other days, right hon. and hon. Members have been disappointed at not being called during Question Time or at not being able properly to put their questions when they were called. If Members of Parliament come to believe, rightly or wrongly, that bullying and blustering will allow them to obtain preference, Question Time will deteriorate. Having tried to facilitate the normal progress of questions by not pushing my claim on Question No. 1, may I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, that I and others like me will no longer be inclined to do that if others, such as the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), manage to get away with the behaviour that I have described?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I hope that the House will not feel that any hon. Member is getting away with anything.

In relation to what was mentioned earlier, we did not get very far in Question Time today. I make a judgment every day on which questions are of major interest to the House. With four interventions from the Front Bench, I felt that it was right to move on.

Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Next week the industrial valleys in south Wales will be cut off from water for 17 hours out of every 24 hours. Is it too much to expect the Government to make a statement in the House before that comes about?

Photo of Mr Nicholas Edwards Mr Nicholas Edwards , Pembroke

I hope to make a statement in the House on Monday.

Photo of Mr Allan Rogers Mr Allan Rogers , Rhondda

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I object so strongly that you refused a Private Notice question on this issue of the drought——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that he must not mention in the House anything relating to the refusal of a private notice question.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

The Secretary of State has intervened about water. If the point of order is about water, I cannot say anything. It will not be a matter for me.

Photo of Mr Allan Rogers Mr Allan Rogers , Rhondda

The right hon. Gentleman should resign.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Arising directly out of questions, Question No. 1 today asked whether the Secretary of State had received any response to his representations to the Soviet Foreign Minister earlier in the current month regarding individual cases of abuse of human rights

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I said to the hon. Gentleman yesterday, and I repeat to the House again, that we cannot prolong Question Time by raising points of order. We have come to the end of Question Time. There have been a number of points of order about the fact that we moved on to another question, and that I did not give the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) an opportunity to ask his question. I cannot take any further points of order on that.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I am not taking it, I am sorry.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

This is a genuine point of order.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

It is not. The hon. Gentleman started his point of order by drawing attention to Question No. 1. I draw to his attention to what I said to him yesterday and again today. I am not prepared to allow any further extension of Question Time.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise for dwelling on this point. Bearing in mind that you said that the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), the shadow Foreign Secretary, could raise a point of order at the end of Question Time, can you guide the House and say——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. It is July, and we do not want anything further of that kind.

Photo of David Marshall David Marshall , Glasgow Shettleston

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply to Question No. 89, I wish to give notice that I shall seek to raise that matter on the Adjournment.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I have been very patient with the hon. Gentleman. I must ask him, please, not to refer to Question Time or any further extension of that. If he has a point of order on a matter on which I can rule, I shall of course hear him, but if it is not a matter on which I can rule, I shall have to ask him to sit down.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

In column 981 in questions to the Foreign Secretary on 27 June—[Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

The House must allow me to hear what the hon. Gentleman has to say, and then I shall rule.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

On 27 June my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British subjects are currently detained in Saudi Arabia; how many complaints he has received about the lack of assistance given to those subjects by the British authorities; and if he will make a statement. Later the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Adley) asked: Have the Government objected to the recent detention of a British military attaché by the Israeli Government? The Minister replied Yes, Sir." — [Official Report, 27 June 1984; Vol. 62, c. 981.] The hon. Member for Christchurch was allowed to ask a question on Israel on the back of a question tabled as No. 5 on that day in relation——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I have been patient, but that is not a matter on which I can rule. The hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) is abusing the opportunity that I gave to him.

Photo of Alan Williams Alan Williams , Swansea West

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I recognise your difficulty. None of us want to encourage the abuse of points of order. I believe that when you read Hansard tomorrow you will discover that my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) had not, at this point, developed his point of order. He knows that he will be condemned by both sides of the House if he fails to make a proper point of order. In retrospect, you might feel that you had been less than fair to him if you discovered that you ruled him out of order without allowing him to develop his case.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I appreciate that the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) is defending his hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours). I think that I have been more than generous. However, if the hon. Gentleman's point of order is valid today it would have been valid on 27 June when the question was first raised. I cannot imagine that anything he is likely to say today will be a point of order for milt:, but if the the hon. Gentleman puts his case briefly I shall listen.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

My point of order is that you, Mr. Speaker, allowed the hon. Member for Christchurch to ask his question on the Israeli Government as a supplementary question to a question about Saudi Arabia. My point of order arises directly out of Question Time(today when I did the same, based upon that precedent, but was ruled out of order by the Chair. What is consistent about the two decisions?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I shall look into what was said on 27 June. If that is what I allowed to happen, evidently I was in the wrong. I am certain that I was in the right today.

Photo of Mr Raymond Powell Mr Raymond Powell , Ogmore

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I do not wish to abuse the privilege of the House, but I envisage great difficulty as a result of you allowing the Secretary of State for Wales to state, on a further point of order, that he planned to make a statement about water in Wales on Monday. The situation is critical and needs a statement——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I think that the Secretary of State rose to help the House when a point of order was put to me. It was not a matter for me. The Secretary of State voluntarily said that he would make a statement on Monday. That is fair enough.