The following Motion stood upon the Order Paper in the name of Mr. GARRO JONES:
That this House, taking note that its procedure governing the number of questions which may be put by Members has from time to time been established by Mr. Speaker's taking the general sense of the House upon successive proposals for limitation made to him
by hon. Members; observing from the official reports that the general assent of the House has been on subsequent days challenged or denied; recognising that the practice of the House, as now followed, has not resulted in even and consistent regulation of supplementary questions as between the hon. Members desiring to put them, or in equal opportunities, as between different Ministers, for putting starred questions; being of the opinion that the schedule of days allocated to the questioning of various Ministers has reached a complexity which defeats its own object of facilitating oral interrogation of Ministers on specified days; and deprecating in regard to unstarred questions the frequent failure of Ministers to adhere to the dates named for replies; resolves that the matters above-mentioned be referred to the Committee on Standing Orders for consideration and report to the House upon the best methods of regulating the right of Parliamentary interrogation within the limits of time available for that purpose
§ Mr. Garro Jones
On a point of Order. May I submit to you that you had called this Motion and I requested that it should be taken now. You had begun to put the Question, and therefore it was not in order for the right hon. Gentleman to move that the House do now adjourn. I respectfully submit that no objection having been taken before you began to put the question you are entitled to pat that question if you think fit.
I have learnt from other sources as well as from the advice given me by the hon. Member on other occasions that a matter is not finally dealt with until the voices have been collected on both sides.
§ Mr. Buchanan
May I put it to you, Sir, that far from an objection, the only thing that happened was that the moment the Chief Whip heard you call the Motion, he rose and moved the adjournment of the House, and nobody yet has objected. All that has happened is that you have said, "Is this matter objected to?" and up to that stage no one said, "I object." At that point the 772 Chief Whip moved the adjournment of the House, and in these circumstances I claim that you, having called the Motion, it is now before the House for Debate.
The hon. Member's Motion cannot be before the House now for Debate if it is objected to. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman moved the Motion to adjourn before I had fully collected the voices objecting to the Motion on the Order Paper. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Will the hon. Member be good enough to give me a chance of stating the case? It is true that the right hon. and gallant Member moved the Adjournment of the House, but I have not put that question. The position at the moment is that I called the Motion on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member and that Motion has now been objected to—[Interruption]—and cannot, therefore, be proceeded with.
§ Mr. Silverman
I submit to you that in fact no hon. Member has yet objected to the Motion of my hon. Friend. What happened, I submit, is that when you called upon the hon. Member to say when he wished it to be dealt with, he said, "Now," and that all that has happened since then is that while my hon. Friend was actually on his feet, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman moved the Adjournment; in fact, he moved another Motion while the first Motion was being moved. I submit that even at this moment there is no hon. Member who will claim to have objected to the Motion of my hon. Friend prior to the moving of the Adjournment, and that such a Motion should not have been moved while the Motion of my hon. Friend was before the House.
I did not say that the Motion to adjourn had been put to the House, but it has been moved since. The hon. Member has made a statement to the effect that the Motion of the hon. Member behind him had not been objected to. In that case, I must claim for once that my physical powers are greater than those of the hon. Member. I distinctly heard objection taken to the Motion.
§ It being Half-past Eleven of the Clock,Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, according to the Standing Order.