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Prayers

– in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 9th March 2007.

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The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 163 (Motions to sit in private):—

The House divided: Ayes 0, Noes 32.

Division number 73

See full list of votes (From The Public Whip)

It appearing on the report of the Division that fewer than 40 Members had taken part in the Division, Madam Deputy Speaker declared that the Question was not decided.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 9:44 am, 9th March 2007

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Would you organise a search of the premises, because it is apparent that although there are a considerable number of Labour Members here, it seems as if the Leader of the Opposition has decided to tell the Tories to keep away—or something very similar—because they have not turned up for work?

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Shadow Secretary of State (Justice), Shadow Secretary of State

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it not a victory for democracy and free speech that rather than choosing to sit in private, thus preventing the many people who might want to hear our deliberations from doing so, we have actually decided, by an overwhelming majority—a total majority—that we will sit in public?

Photo of Sylvia Heal Sylvia Heal Deputy Speaker

Whatever the pros and cons, a decision has been made and the motion has fallen.