Representation of the People

Orders of the Day — Delegated Legislation – in the House of Commons at 6:20 pm on 15th April 1999.

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That the draft European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 1999, which were laid before this House on 24th March, be approved.—[Mr. Pope.]

Question agreed to.

Photo of Mr Gerry Bermingham Mr Gerry Bermingham Labour, St Helens South

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It has come to my notice over the past few weeks that, when there are curtailed speeches—that is, a limit of 10 or 15 minutes—and when Front Benchers are replying to debates, there has grown up a practice of refusal to accept interventions. I have not suffered from it personally but I have sat in my corner and watched it on many occasions. Perhaps you could discuss with Madam Speaker the fact that that practice destroys debate and detracts from the value of the House.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Today's debate was not time-limited. Interventions are accepted at the discretion of the hon. Member speaking. On time-limited speeches, although it may not be popularly known, interventions can be taken and injury time can be given to the hon. Member concerned.

Photo of Mr Gerry Bermingham Mr Gerry Bermingham Labour, St Helens South

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I heard that yesterday for the first time. Perhaps it could be made more widely known throughout the House, because many hon. Members are unaware of it, and that has restricted their ability to give way.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

The ignorance of some hon. Members is absolutely nothing to do with the Chair.

Photo of Mrs Teresa Gorman Mrs Teresa Gorman Conservative, Billericay

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it not the case that the Chair, quite rightly, gives preference to hon. Members who have attended the whole of the debate, so that they can get in their 10-pennyworth, so those who would like to contribute would be well advised to come and sit through the debate?

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Patience is always a virtue in the House, as the hon. Lady well knows.