Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 5:08 pm on 17th June 1991.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Dafydd Wigley Mr Dafydd Wigley Leader and Party President, Plaid Cymru 5:08 pm, 17th June 1991

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. On Wednesday of last week the Government were defeated on an important vote in European Standing Committee B on the question of patent terms for medicines. The Hansard report of the Committee's proceedings shows that the Government's motion, subsequently amended on a vote, was resolved. In view of the controversy over the reporting of European Standing Committees on other issues, may we be assured that the resolution as passed in Committee will be presented to the House and that the Hansard report will be corrected?

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

I have not had notice of this, but does the hon. Gentleman allege that Hansard has misreported what happened?

Photo of Mr Dafydd Wigley Mr Dafydd Wigley Leader and Party President, Plaid Cymru

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Although Hansard correctly reports that the amendment was carried, it then says that the original motion was resolved. Other hon. Members who were present will testify to the fact that that did not happen.

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

I should like to look into that matter before I make a ruling on it.

Photo of Dr Norman Godman Dr Norman Godman , Greenock and Port Glasgow

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. As a member of the Committee, I can confirm that the Government's motion was amended by a vote and that the motion, as amended, was carried by the Committee. The Official Report does not mention that.

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

I shall look into the matter and be in communication with the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Tony Marlow Mr Tony Marlow , Northampton North

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Today, we have had a bit of Welsh and a bit of Scottish, and I hope to further the entente cordiale by introducing a bit of French. Apparently, the French Prime Minister has sought to insult the virility of the British male because when she was last in London she did not receive enough admiring glances. I sought to table a motion—

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

Order. Hon. Members' virility is not a matter for me.

Photo of Mr Tony Marlow Mr Tony Marlow , Northampton North

I sought to table a motion explaining that hon. Members do not fancy elderly French women, but I was told that that was out of order. How can the House stand up for half the British population when it is insulted like that?

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

I think that the hon. Gentleman's motion was probably turned down by the Table Office as being "tendered in a spirit of mockery"—which is not allowed.

Photo of Mr Harry Ewing Mr Harry Ewing , Falkirk East

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. First, may I apologise on behalf of myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) for going on a bit. In my own defence, may I say that my hon. Friend was a lot worse than me.

My point of order is this. You, Mr. Speaker, are always generous during statements. If, at the end of the statement, some right hon. and hon. Members have not caught your eye, you make it clear that you have noticed that and that, in future, if the subject is raised again, you will keep that fact in mind. As a good crawler, I have always appreciated that during your Speakership, Mr. Speaker. However, you will have noticed that during our exchanges today no Scottish Tory Back Benchers or Scottish National party Members have been present. In order to protect you, Mr. Speaker, may I draw to your attention that, in future, you should not allow absent brethren—

Photo of Mr Harry Ewing Mr Harry Ewing , Falkirk East

—or sisters, to prevail upon you saying that they were not called during today's exchanges on the statement and thus try to persuade you to call them as a favour. If they are absent today, you should score them off your list.

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

I think that that is a hypothetical matter. I bear in mind all kinds of things, one of which is the regularity with which hon. Members come into the Chamber. It is true that, the more frequently Members are present, the more likely they are to be called.

Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

On a point of order arising out of Overseas Development Questions. I have given the Minister for Overseas Development notice of what I propose to say, Mr. Speaker.

It is totally inadequate for the Minister to give the House misleading statements on the position of Kurdish refugees. During the Gulf war, the Government made a statement almost every day about the conduct of the war. In the aftermath of the war, the Government have a responsibility to make statements to the House on what is happening to the Kurdish refugees. Much Government aid and individual help has been invested in solving that problem, but we have had no statement from the Government on the withdrawal, or the proposed withdrawal, of British and allied troops from Kurdistan. Those refugees are in a parlous position, and it is incumbent on the Government to make a proper statement to the House instead of dealing with the crisis in two minutes of Overseas Development Questions.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. There is increasing anxiety about what the position would be once the allied troops had left. I have been trying to find out, and perhaps you, Mr. Speaker, can advise me, about the allies' precise intentions. Are they to leave by a certain date? Will you, Mr. Speaker, bear in mind that when Foreign Office Questions are taken—I believe, a week on Wednesday—for obvious reasons there will be few opportunities for Back Benchers to be called to press the Minister? In what circumstances would the Minister, whether the Foreign Secretary or the Defence Secretary, come to the House to tell us precisely what the allies will do? Are they going to leave, and, if so, what sort of safety and security would the Kurds have, bearing in mind that a notorious criminal remains in power in Baghdad?

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

I do not know whether the hon. Members for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) and for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) were here for business questions last Thursday when the Leader of the House said that he was giving careful consideration to whether there should be a debate on that subject.

The answer that the hon. Member for Cynon Valley received to her question on overseas matters today was a long one and it caused the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) to say from a sedentary position that the Minister was making a statement. As he made that comment from a sedentary position, it will not be reported in Hansard, but it was certainly a long answer.