Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 18th May 2007.

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Photo of David Howarth David Howarth Shadow Minister (Energy), Trade & Industry 9:33 am, 18th May 2007

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. At this point in the day, is it in order to move a motion that the House do sit in private? It has been almost customary for an hon. Member to do so. Today, however, a large number of petitions are before the House. Will you rule on whether it is in order to move a motion that the House do sit in private when the next business is the presentation of petitions? It seems to me that the whole purpose of presenting a petition is that it is done in public, so the two Standing Orders are in conflict—

Photo of Sylvia Heal Sylvia Heal Deputy Speaker

Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that he is raising a point of order rather than making a speech. I will now rule on that point of order. Of course, a motion that the House do sit in private can be moved at any stage during today's debate.

Photo of Andrew Dismore Andrew Dismore Labour, Hendon

I beg to move, That the House do sit in private.

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

The House proceeded to a Division.

Photo of Sylvia Heal Sylvia Heal Deputy Speaker

I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the No Lobby.

The House having divided: Ayes 0, Noes 52.

Division number 118

See full list of votes (From The Public Whip)

Question accordingly negatived.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick Labour, Walsall North 9:50 am, 18th May 2007

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. On Wednesday, in response to a point of order from me regarding today's debate, Mr. Speaker said that everyone will get a voice in this Chamber, which is of course to be expected. Will there be a proper opportunity to debate fully the important issues addressed by the private Member's Bill that we are about to discuss, and which is of crucial importance to the standing of Parliament? You will have noticed, Madam Deputy Speaker, that a number of Ministers and Whips are present. That places us ordinary Back Benchers at a disadvantage—

Photo of Sylvia Heal Sylvia Heal Deputy Speaker

Order. I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is beginning to debate the Bill rather than make his point of order, which I shall respond to. As always, the occupant of the Chair will ensure that there is fair debate and will judge that on the conduct of the debate during this morning's proceedings.

Photo of Andrew Dismore Andrew Dismore Labour, Hendon

Further to an earlier point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, as the Liberal Democrats are so keen on presenting their petitions, would it not be appropriate for them to inform the House why they were so tardy in the Lobby that we had to wait for the Serjeant at Arms to chase them out?

Photo of Sylvia Heal Sylvia Heal Deputy Speaker

That is not a point of order for the Chair.

Photo of David Maclean David Maclean Chair, Statutory Instruments (Joint Committee), Chair, Statutory Instruments (Select Committee)

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I was going to raise the same point as Mr. Dismore. Although it has been ruled as a non-point of order, it is still a valid debating point.

Photo of Sylvia Heal Sylvia Heal Deputy Speaker

Order. I shall now proceed to take petitions, to enable Members who wish to present them to do so.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes

I have six petitions, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I seek your guidance as to whether they should be presented in the order in which they were submitted. Is that important?

Photo of Sylvia Heal Sylvia Heal Deputy Speaker

All the petitions are down to be presented at the commencement of proceedings, as provided for in the Standing Orders.