HC Deb 31 October 1946 vol 428 cc913-5

Motion made, and Question put, That the Control of the Cotton Industry (No. 68) Order, 1946 (S.R. & O. 1946, No. 1679). a copy of which was presented on 23rd October, be annulled."— [Mr. Erroll. ]

The House proceeded to a Division, but no Members being willing to act as Tellers for the Ayes, Mr. SPEAKER declared that the Noes had it.

Captain Crookshank (Gainsborough)

May I rise to a point of Order, Mr. Speaker, and, with great humility, ask you whether the proceedings on the Division were entirely correct, because, sitting here, what I understood happened was that the Division was challenged, the Question was put the second time, and then you announced from the Chair the names of the Tellers, after which you invited Members on this side of the House who supported the proposition to stand in their places. As I read Standing Order No. 31, with all due respect, it is that Mr. Speaker may, after the lapse of two minutes, if in his opinion the division is unnecessarily claimed, take the vote of the House, or Committee. by calling upon members who support and who challenge his decision, successively to rise in their places; and he shall thereupon, as he thinks fit, either declare the determination of the House or Committee, or name tellers for a division. From that it appears that the Tellers for the Division having been named, which is the last of the choices open to the Chair, it is not then possible, as I read Standing Order No. 31, to ask Members to stand in their places. I wondered if there had been a misapprehension of the circumstances or whether a new precedent is being created tonight. I must apologise for raising this matter.

Mr. Speaker

Tonight must not be taken as a precedent. I am not quite sure myself. I did make some inquiries, and I was not sure whether it should be done before I named the Tellers or afterwards. Tonight I think I was probably at fault but, at any rate, we may look that up later. I stand in a white sheet. I think there was only one voice saying "Aye and, therefore, I thought probably that! was entitled to ask Members to stand up, and I did so ask them. Perhaps I did so at the wrong time. We do not often have this procedure. Perhaps it might be more useful if we had it in future on these occasions.

Captain Crookshank

I again apologise to you, Mr. Speaker, for having raised the question, and I am sure that none of us really wishes to see you in a white sheet We gratefully accept your Ruling today and on every other occasion.

Mr. Speaker

I am obliged to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for having brought this point to my attention because, after all, one cannot be right every time. I am always grateful to the House for bringing to my attention points of this nature, and I would like to thank the right hon. and gallant Gentleman.