HC Deb 17 December 1957 vol 580 cc217-8

4.0 p.m.

Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)

I May I begin. Mr. Speaker, by thanking you for the very considerable trouble to which you went in arriving at the very interesting Ruling that you gave a short time ago. I believe that it is said of the elder Pitt that he once addressed Mr. Speaker of his day as "Dear Sir". He must have done that after hearing a Ruling very similar to yours.

When I first tried to introduce the Bill, it was my intention to try to remedy a long-standing injustice which prevented private patients obtaining their medicines and appliances under the same conditions as those ruling for State registered patients, and above all, to guard against what I consider would be a threat to the standards of medicine if private practice disappeared altogether. I am very grateful to right hon. and hon. Members opposite for having helped me to gain the maximum publicity for my argument and my case and for having made it quite clear that, in their view, we should aim at a State monopoly in medicine.

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)

Move the Bill.

Mr. Hall

Although I consider the principle behind the Bill of the utmost importance, nevertheless, in view of the large number of Motions on the Order Paper, which have been put down by hon. Members who had much more confidence in my judgment as to the correctness of the procedure than I had myself and also in anticipating your Ruling, Mr. Speaker; in view of that long list of Bills, which, if debated, would hold up Government business, and because I am not prepared to see my Bill used for that purpose, on the understanding that my right can be safeguarded to deploy my arguments on another occasion in this or in some other way, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member has not moved a Motion. Therefore, there is nothing to withdraw.

4.3 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

I do not believe that if the elder Pitt had been guilty of the same doubtful use of the procedure of the House and had found himself obliged to withdraw a Motion he would have done otherwise than withdrawn it quite simply, in which case he would have had much more of the sympathy of the House than has the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall). However, I have consulted my right hon. Friends and my hon. Friends whose Motions for Bills appear on the Order Paper after that of the hon. Member for Wycombe. I have had consultations with all of them except one, whom I was unable to find, and they tell me that in these circumstances, the hon. Member for Wycombe having withdrawn his Motion, they would not wish to move theirs.

My hon. Friends, however, would reserve their right, as the hon. Member for Wycombe has done, to put forward similar Motions on some other occasion, and particularly so in the case of the first of my hon. Friend's Motions on the Order Paper. It is that in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Blenkinsop), relating to National Parks, where my hon. Friend has a very good case and a procedural grievance of some standing. I might, however, make one exception. I regret that my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras. North (Mr. K. Robinson) has inadvertently had twins and that he might have to find another father in the next occasion for one of his offspring.

Mr. Speaker

Will the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) give me the name of the hon. Member whose consent to the withdrawal of a Motion he has not obtained?

Mr. Mitchison

It is my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu).

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Albu. …

The Clerk will now proceed to read the Orders of the Day.