Proceedings of the House

– in the House of Commons at 4:54 pm on 11th January 1988.

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Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Vice-Chair, Labour Party 4:54 pm, 11th January 1988

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It would be remiss if the House did not have on record what happened today during Prayers. What happened was not made known to all hon. Members and to the public at large because a decision was taken that is without precedent. I should like this to be carefully looked at. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Hughes) raised a matter before Prayers, and in my view and in the view of other hon. Members he was dealt with in a fashion that could have been avoided. It was a secret decision because the public and the press were not present and proceedings were not being recorded by Hansard.

The matter should be carefully looked at and referred to a Committee to see whether the issue could have been dealt with in a different fashion. Many of us were of the view that my hon. Friend was trying to raise a matter of extreme importance, the one that has just been referred to, about whether—

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

Order. That is not a point of order, but I shal deal with what the hon. Member has said. I do not know whether he was present in the Chamber at the time. I think that perhaps he was not. He should know that I did what was necessary in order to allow the House to proceed with its business. The proceedings of the suspension of the hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Hughes) will be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings and in the Official Report.

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I express to you the appreciation of many Conservative Members, and I am sure of many Opposition Members for upholding the ancient and vital tradition of the House that we start our proceedings with Prayers? You did that, Mr. Speaker, even though you were under wrong pressure not to do it. Could you establish once and for all, by saying what you have demonstrated by your action, that whatever happens, Prayers will take place every day before we commence our proceedings and that no hon. Member, whatever his grievance—I do not comment on anyone's grievance — will be allowed to disrupt that important and vital tradition?

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

I confirm what the hon. Gentleman has said and draw to the attention of the House the Prayer for Parliament, which encompasses what we are about in this place.