Mr Roger Knapman: In the areas that have large numbers of empty houses, can my hon. Friend discern a pattern between the scale of the problem and the political complexion of the councils in those areas?
Mr Roger Knapman: I am sorry that my hon. Friend believes that the motion has sinister implications. It would be interesting to know what they are. I am sure that my hon. Friend does not wish to suggest that the outcome of tonight's vote will in any way reflect upon the need, or otherwise, for a vote on amendment No. 27.
Mr Roger Knapman: I draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to the comments by my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) which are contained in Monday's record of our proceedings. I can confirm those, as can my hon. Friend the Member for Beverley (Mr. Cran).
Mr Roger Knapman: I listened with care to the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett). If I heard her correctly, she said that she was actively looking for other ways of dealing with the matter than amendment No. 27. I suspect some of us can understand why. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House quoted extensively from pages 404 and 405 of the procedural book, "Erskine May". Unfortunately, he...
Mr Roger Knapman: May I draw the attention of my hon. Friend to the fact that there is a movement towards new clauses 74 and 75? No doubt we shall be asked to look at new clauses which have not yet even been framed. The debate will be at a later stage. Therefore, there is little chance of amendment No. 27 being called by Madam Speaker at the appropriate time; of course, Madam Speaker, that will be a matter for...
Mr Roger Knapman: My hon. Friend is exactly right. That must be so, and it was among the points that I was trying to make. I promised in my note to you this morning, Madam Speaker, that I would not detain the House for more than one or two minutes. You will know that the whole House holds you in the greatest respect because we know that you are the guardian of Back Benchers' interests. My constituents are...
Mr Roger Knapman: Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Mr Roger Knapman: Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that we voted an increase of funds for the common agricultural policy as recently as the week before Easter? We voted an extra £150 million only a fortnight ago.
Mr Roger Knapman: On a point of order, Mr. Morris. You will acknowledge that right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the Committee have voiced over the past half an hour deep-seated concern about certain aspects of Committee procedures. You seemed to suggest that right hon. and hon. Members would be restricted to raising one point of order. Is that the case?
Mr Roger Knapman: We know that you have given very careful thought to the selection of amendments, Mr. Morris, because you tell us so. You have told us that selection depends on the clarity and effect of an amendment. In that case, under amendment No. 27, my constituents in Stroud are being asked to pay through their VAT towards implementation of the social chapter in other countries. Shall I have an...
Mr Roger Knapman: Will my hon. Friend deal with [Interruption.]—
Mr Roger Knapman: I asked my hon. Friend whether he would deal with fraud, which seems to come under the subject of internal finance. I appreciate that fraud is a very narrow subject.
Mr Roger Knapman: Does my hon. Friend agree that the root cause of the problem in Yugoslavia is that it is a federal state which believes in ever closer union, in a single institutional framework, in the free movement of peoples, and so on? The same applies to the old USSR. Is it not possible that that is the root cause of some of the problems in Bosnia?
Mr Roger Knapman: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Mr Roger Knapman: The hon. Gentleman should be making his points to the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston). It is rumoured that there is to be an important Liberal party conference—if that is not a contradiction in terms—tomorrow. The hon. Gentleman might benefit from asking the Liberal Member whether he has been given any undertaking with regard to business later today. In...
Mr Roger Knapman: Further to that point of order, Mr. Morris. Previously, a closure motion has always been granted immediately. Therefore, will you reconsider the answer that you gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Cash)?
Mr Roger Knapman: On a point of order, Mr. Morris. I seek your guidance on Standing Order No. 35 which says: After a question has been proposed a Member rising in his place may claim to move, 'That the question be now put,' and, unless it shall appear to the chair that such motion is an abuse of the rules of the House, or an infringement of the rights of the minority, the question 'That the question be now...
Mr Roger Knapman: Am I not entitled to finish my point of order?
Mr Roger Knapman: Further to that point of order, Mr. Morris.
Mr Roger Knapman: Whether or not we are lawyers—it turns out that we are not—would not it beggar belief that any nation would go through the pain of convergence and then not proceed to a single currency?