Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 4:25 pm on 11th January 1993.

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5 pm

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You have been more than generous to me this afternoon and I am a little shy about raising a point of order. However, I was wondering whether, in view of the alleged Iraqi incursion into Kuwait, the statements from Baghdad about the need for a dialogue among America, Britain, France and Iraq—which some of us strongly support—and as the operation is not conducted under the umbrella of the United Nations—Dr. Boutros Ghali has made it clear that it has nothing to do—

Madam Speaker:

Order. I have been enormously generous this afternoon to all hon. Members, especially the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), and if he will be good enough to come to his point of order, I shall deal with it immediately.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow

My point of order is simply whether you, Madam Speaker, have received a request from the Government to make a statement on those grave and urgent matters.

Madam Speaker:

I have had no approach from the Government for a statement today.

Photo of Mr Gary Waller Mr Gary Waller , Keighley

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. As you will recall, on the day before the Christmas recess our proceedings were interrupted by a demonstration. I make absolutely no criticism of the action that you found it necessary to take on that occasion when you adjourned the sitting. However, is not it a fact that our hard-won democratic freedoms are threatened when hon. Members use the power of numbers to bring proceedings to a halt and your authority in the House is ignored?

Madam Speaker:

As the House knows, during the Christmas Adjournment debate, a number of hon. Members, with extreme selfishness, set about preventing the discussion of several important matters on the ground that a subject of their own choosing was not to be raised. I trust that I shall have the active support of hon. Members in all quarters of the House in my determination that such an outrage—which is what I considered it to be—against the long tradition of freedom of speech in the House should never be repeated. The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) was one of the hon. Members who lost their Adjournment debates that day. Those hon. Members were successful in the ballot and I shall see to it that they will soon have the chance to raise their Adjournment debates on days other than Thursday, on which I usually grant such debates. I have written to all the hon. Members involved about the matter.