Business of the House

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 2:34 pm on 24th November 1988.

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Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Chair, House of Commons (Services): Computer Sub-Committee, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 2:34 pm, 24th November 1988

I thank the Leader of the House for his answer, although, on the basis of what he announced, it appears that he and I will feature rather heavily next week.

I remind the right hon. Gentleman that he promised us a half-day debate on the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs, whether it is set up or not, and it is unsatisfactory, that half a day should begin at 10 o'clock in the evening. We would like the debate to start earlier, or we shall feel that he has not honoured his promise.

When the right hon. Gentleman is considering the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs, may I ask him to reconsider his position, as enunciated until now, that there is no way on earth in which he can get enough Tories to serve on the Committe to allow it to be established. He and the Tory party owe it to the people of Scotland to establish the Committee under the Standing Orders of the House, and they should use the famous discipline of the Tory Whips to ensure that they get enough members of that Committee.

Will the House be given an opportunity to debate the purchase of the next generation of tanks before the Cabinet comes to a decision, and especially before the Cabinet comes to a decision to sell British industry down the river and buy American to make us fit in better in Washington?

When may we expect a debate on the housing crisis? The debate on the last Friday of the previous Session was postponed to permit debate on the Housing Bill, now the Housing Act 1988, which will make the homelessness crisis even worse.

When will the House be given an opportunity to debate the Fennell report on the King's Cross fire and its implications for the safety of railway passengers?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Prime Minister to come to the House to make a statement and answer questions to clear up the discrepancy between her denial that there was any discussion of her stopping the Queen accepting an invitation to the Soviet Union and the off-the-record briefing by her press secretary, Mr. Bernard Ingham, which said the opposite? They cannot both be right. We know that, according to the rules of the House, the Prime Minister cannot be a liar. Therefore, Mr. Bernard Ingham must be. She should explain to the House how this happened.