HC Deb 13 December 1928 vol 223 c2342

May I ask for your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on a matter which is a Parliamentary one? The Minister of Health laid on the Table of the House on the 5th December a very long set of regulations—National Health Insurance, Medical Benefit (Consolidated) Regulations. It has to be laid for 21 Parliamentary days. It is not a Command Paper. Up to the present no Member of the public is able to obtain a copy from the Stationery Office, and on inquiry I am told that it cannot be ready for printing until the 17th December. I want to ask whether in the circumstances you could advise that in a case of this kind that the Paper should be re-laid so that Members can have an adequate opportunity of examining lengthy regulations of 70 pages and so be able to exercise properly and fully their Parliamentary privilege?


I understand that it was held by my predecessors that the days count from the day on which it is available to hon. Members.


It is a matter of principle. It has been said on previous occasions that if a copy is filed in the Library it is available for Members, but I submit that when you are dealing with Consolidated Regulations of 70 pages, and there is only one copy filed in the Library, not a Command Paper for hon. Members to consult, that it is an impossibility for the parliamentary privilege of revision during the 21 days to be exercised.


The 21 days count when the full copy is available for hon. Members in the Library.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Do they count if one copy is available, or is it your ruling that a copy must be available For all hon. Members in the Vote Office?


That would be so. When the copy is available.