In a moment, we will come to the ten-minute rule motion. However, the House will be aware of the subsequent business appertaining to Northern Ireland. By way of explanation, I wanted to mention the following. Last night, my office received a telephone call from a sadly rather uninitiated tabloid scribbler who seemed much excited by the rumour that “Mr Speaker would not be chairing Committee proceedings”. He was most anxious to decipher the reason for this, because it seemed to him most mysterious. Kindness and generosity of spirit prevent me from naming the said individual. [Hon. Members: “Go on.”] However, perhaps I can be permitted to say on the Floor of the House what is well known to Members: it is a very long established convention that Mr Speaker does not chair the Committee of the whole House. When I say a long established convention I am referring to a convention dating back to the 17th century.
I know that some people are slow learners and others are late developers, but I hope that the chappie has now got the point, and it will be a professional utility to him thereafter not to need to trouble my staff to be educated on this front. There we go, there is hope for us all. The fella has now, I think, probably grasped the point.