Orders of the Day — Business of the House

– in the House of Commons at 9:47 pm on 12th December 2000.

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Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business),That, at this day's sitting, the Motion on Section 5 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993 in the name of the Prime Minister may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. McNulty.]

Question agreed to.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Scottish National Party, Banff and Buchan

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I question whether the Standing Order under which motion No. 3 is to be debated is the appropriate Standing Order.

For the past 10 years, the Standing Order has allowed a fishing debate before the Minister goes to the Fisheries Council. As the forthcoming Fisheries Council is the most important for 10 years, would it not be extraordinary if the House of Commons and hon. Members representing fishing constituencies were not allowed to express their views to the Minister with responsibility for fisheries before he went to the Council, as opposed to afterwards? Is Standing Order No. 119(9) the appropriate Standing Order?

Several hon. Members:

rose

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of the point of order. There is no breach of any Standing Order. The matter that he raises is one for the business managers and not for the Speaker.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Parliamentary Secretary (Fisheries and the Countryside), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. There was an opportunity yesterday to debate the matter in Committee. All Members had the opportunity to talk about the annual fish quotas. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) was not present for that Committee debate.

Photo of Robert Smith Robert Smith Liberal Democrat, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be helpful for the Chair to enlighten Members, such as the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), that under the Standing Orders any Member is entitled to attend a European Standing Committee and put his points to the Minister? It was the absence of the hon. Gentleman and others that meant that points were not made on behalf of their constituents.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. The Speaker tries always to enlighten all Members.