Oral Questions

– in the House of Commons at 3:46 pm on 21st October 1985.

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

Order. Does this point of order arise directly out of questions?

Photo of Mr Raymond Powell Mr Raymond Powell , Ogmore

Yes, Mr. Speaker it does. I have raised a similar point of order with you before, and I raise it again so that I may have your guidance on it. It concerns the time allocated for Welsh questions. We reached only question No. 11 today. Question No. 12 was mine, and it was on a very important matter affecting the Ogmore constituency — unemployment — which is rife throughout south but particularly in Ogmore. A further question had been partially dealt with by the Secretary of State.

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

Order. We cannot go beyond that because that would be an extension of Question Time. I realise that we did not get far in Welsh questions. That was because I made a judgment, in which I hope that I was correct, that the Parrot Corporation issue was of considerable importance to a number of hon. Members. Therefore, I allowed a rather long run of questions on it. In fairness, I called the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell) on question number 8, and I thought that he made rather a good contribution.

Photo of Mr Raymond Powell Mr Raymond Powell , Ogmore

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I hope that, as the Leader of the House is here, he will undertake to consider whether we may have an extension of time for Welsh Questions beyond the current 35 minutes.

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

Order. That is patently not a matter for me, although I have sympathy with the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Leo Abse Mr Leo Abse , Torfaen

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to ask about the propriety of the Secretary of State's behaviour. In answering the many questions about the Parrot Corporation, he left a firm impression that an independent inquiry was to be appointed. By that it was understood by everybody, I am certain, that the inquiry would be independent of the Secretary of State, the Welsh Office and the WDA. However, as you will recall, Mr. Speaker, when my hon. Friend the Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) pressed the point, he was told that the inquiry was to be internal. By its very nature, that will be a whitewash.

I appreciate that that is not a matter for you, but I ask about the propriety of a right hon. Member either deliberately or inadvertently misleading the House into believing that an inquiry will be independent when, by the end of questions, it was abundantly clear that nothing of the kind was to take place. My second point is that I hope that you will not discourage the Secretary of State from making the statement that he has refused to make up to now which would clarify this issue and, I hope, the whole of the miserable Parrot issue.

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

Order. I do not think that very much of that point of order has anything to do with me. It is entirely a matter for the Government as to whether statements are made.

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Shadow Secretary of State

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. In Question Time, the Secretary of State for Wales described the inquiry as "independent". How can an internal inquiry be independent? Why cannot the Secretary of State ensure that a judicial figure heads the inquiry? We fear a whitewash. We wish to hear the Secretary of State putting things right.

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

Order. It is not good practice to continue Question Time by means of points of order. None of that is a matter for me.