Libya

Clause 25 – in the House of Commons at 11:39 pm on 21st April 1986.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow 11:39 pm, 21st April 1986

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Earlier in the evening, I twice raised the need for a Government statement. The facts as given in the past 10 minutes by Cruise Watch are that in the air there are 52 F-111s out of Mildenhall, 48 F- Ills out of Upper Heyford, 72 tank busters from RAF Bentwaters and the bulk of the American tanker fleet from Fairford. If we are to believe that this is simply Exercise Elderforest it seems at best to be insensitive to a mindboggling degree. There should at least be a statement to the people in the vicinity of those are bases on what is happening. Will there be a reconsideration, even at this late hour, and will a Minister give the House a few explanations about the facts?

Photo of Mr Ernest Armstrong Mr Ernest Armstrong , North West Durham

The hon. Member knows that Ministers' statements to the House are not a matter for me.

Photo of Mr Ernest Armstrong Mr Ernest Armstrong , North West Durham

Order. Is the hon. Member raising a different point of order?

Photo of Mr Roland Boyes Mr Roland Boyes , Houghton and Washington

Surely, we should consider the consequences last week, when a member of the Opposition Front Bench tabled a private notice question and asked for a statement, which Mr. Speaker in his wisdom turned down. I do not criticise Mr. Speaker, but we know what happened that day when the House was not informed about the F-111s being in the air. Exactly the same situation is occurring. Action has been threatened by the President of the United States—

Photo of Mr Ernest Armstrong Mr Ernest Armstrong , North West Durham

Order. The hon. Member knows that, however serious the issues, a Government statement is not a matter for me. I have not been told that a statement will be made.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn , Islington North

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Photo of Mr Ernest Armstrong Mr Ernest Armstrong , North West Durham

Order. One cannot raise a point of order further to bogus points of order.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn , Islington North

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Will you advise us by what means these serious matters can be brought to the attention of the House and of the public?

Photo of Mr Ernest Armstrong Mr Ernest Armstrong , North West Durham

Those on the Government Front Bench have heard what has been said. It is not a matter for the Chair.