Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 9:44 pm on 22nd May 1995.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Newham South 9:44 pm, 22nd May 1995

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You may know that earlier today Madam Speaker replied to me on a point of order about the contents of a letter that she sent to my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) in connection with a matter of privilege which he raised. I should be grateful if you could relay these points to Madam Speaker on the points of order on which she graciously replied to me.

First, I take it that, because she did not say what was in the letter, it was not a ruling from the Chair in the normal sense and does not preclude any further ruling in respect of this matter. Secondly, unprecedented conduct, or possible unprecedented conduct, may require unprecedented procedures. In her letter, Madam Speaker told my hon. Friend that an early-day motion would be a possibility. However, this Session has shown that a debate arising from such a motion could not easily be instigated from the Back Benches. That is because, whereas in the last Session there were 12 occasions on which a Member winning the ballot would have been able to have a debate on such a motion, because of the Jopling arrangements there is none available in this Session. Therefore, I suggest that conditions have changed.

An early-day motion on this matter has been signed by 60 hon. Members. Will you ask Madam Speaker whether hon. Members should be able not only to defend but perhaps to explain such matters, which are of the privilege of the public rather than of the House?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse , Pontefract and Castleford

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that I am not able to deal with this tonight. I assure him that his comments will have been noted.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at fourteen minutes to Ten o'clock.