Tonight we are discussing a significant point of principle. We are lucky to have a benign Leader of the House, but that will not always be the case.
Yet again we see the Executive abusing their position by getting rid of Standing Orders, or abandoning them for the day. It is clear, as my hon. Friend Mr Chope said, that on Tuesday, if private business has been laid down by the Chairman of Ways and Means, it should be debated between 4 o’clock and 7 o’clock. That is specified for certainty, so that we will not be discussing important legislation late at night just because it is private. Of course, there might be an emergency debate under
“Consideration and Third Reading
4. Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.
5. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.”
Nowhere in that programme is there discussion of a four-hour rule. I am sure the Leader of the House is about to correct me.