Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 4:13 pm on 24th March 1994.

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Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Warley East 4:13 pm, 24th March 1994

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You will be aware, as is the House, of the interminable interventions of the hon. Member for Newham some-geographical-point-north-somewhere.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Warley East

North-West—thank you so much for that information.

Would you not agree, Madam Speaker, that there is a sort of understanding in the House that, when one hon. Member wishes to make reference to another, he gives that other hon. Member notice? It was drawn to my attention a few days ago that, on an earlier occasion, the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) made reference to the discomfiture he suffered when I placed my buttocks beside him on this Back Bench.

Photo of Mr Andrew Faulds Mr Andrew Faulds , Warley East

Is there nothing sacred to this wanton boy? Is the House not aware that I have the most beautiful statuesque haunches, like carved Greek marble? Should the House not be aware that, when I place myself beside this hon. Gentleman, I get not a whimper of pain but a whinny of pleasure?

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

That was a very amusing comment, but it is hardly a point of order for the Chair.

Photo of Mr Graham Riddick Mr Graham Riddick , Colne Valley

I apologise to you, Madam Speaker, if my question to the Leader of the House was too long, but, having watched the activities of other hon. Members, I was misled about what we can get away with.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

I understand the hon. Gentleman's frustration at having to wait for some time before being called. His pent-up feelings may have caused him to continue talking for much too long, but I am sure that he will watch it in future.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West

Will you, Madam Speaker, arrange for an investigation into the use of privilege in this House? While we all greatly prize that power, should we not be reminded that the use of privilege can destroy the careers and ruin the reputations of people outside this building?

May we examine those who have put their names to an amendment to early-day motion 899, which draws attention to the fact that a Member—I warned him that I would draw attention to this matter this afternoon—has alleged that an ex-Member of this House got a job under circumstances that were close to nepotism? In spite of being told personally that that information was incorrect, and being told in a letter from Gwent county council that it does not employ the former Member, that Member has refused to withdraw his allegation. May we take the matter to the Select Committee on Privileges so that the Chamber cannot be used for McCarthyite accusations?

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

To some extent, I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that point of order. Although I shall not comment on the individual case, whether in speeches or early-day motions, all hon. Members should exercise great care and restraint. We are all enormously privileged in this House; no one outside has our tremendous privileges. But privilege must always be tempered with responsibility, and I hope that all hon. Members will keep that in mind.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton , Macclesfield

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

It hardly needs a further point of order, but of course I shall listen to the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton , Macclesfield

The hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) mentioned the Select Committee on Privileges. On a point of information, has that Committee met this Session?

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

No, it has not met. We should be proud of the fact that, in this Parliament, we have not yet had to have a Select Committee on Privileges. I hope that we all conduct ourselves in such a manner that we have no need to establish one under my Speakership.