HC Deb 01 June 1960 vol 624 cc1447-8
Mr. S. Silverman

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask your indulgence to call your attention to Question No. 62, in my name, and to Question No. 59 in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Exchange (Mr. W. Griffiths). I know that it is unusual to ask you whether a Minister can be allowed to answer these Questions, but in this case a personal question of very great hardship is involved. Unless some answer can be given today, or before the Houses rises, it will be too late, because the deportation which is being questioned will already have taken place. It would be a great pity if the House had no opportunity of getting information in time.

Mr. Speaker

I understand the point made by the hon. Member, but he knows the limits of my powers. All I can say is that I have had no request from the Minister to be permitted to answer either of these Questions.

Mr. Driberg

Since the Minister has clearly heard what has transpired, would you, Mr. Speaker, be prepared to hear him if he were to ask your leave to answer these two Questions and also, incidentally, Question No. 47?

Mr. Speaker

I do not like the Chair being made, if I may say so without disrespect to the hon. Gentleman, an instrument of blackmail.

Mr. Silverman

If the matter cannot be tackled in this way, Mr. Speaker, would you be prepared to advise my hon. Friend and me as to any way in which the matter could be ventilated before the House goes into recess? Could we perhaps have a short time on the Adjournment day, or something of that kind? It would be a great pity if we had no information in the House about this matter until it is too late.

Mr. Speaker

If the hon. Member desires to see me privately about this when I leave the Chair, I will be glad to consider it, but I must emphasise that, in public at all events, it is not the duty of the Chair to advise but to rule about order.

Captain Pilkington

May I ask, Mr. Speaker, if you have had any request that Question No. 51, in view of its importance, should be answered?

Mr. Speaker

No. I must ask hon. Members to be a little careful about this practice, which seems to be becoming popular.

Mr. W. Griffiths

Reverting to Questions No. 59 and 62, Mr. Speaker, is not this a rather special case? I understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) sought earlier this week to raise this matter as a Private Notice Question, and that he was informed that today the Foreign Office would reply and that there would be an opportunity. That opportunity has now passed. The Foreign Office—

Mr. Speaker

Had there been any application to table a Private Notice Question I should, presumably, have been informed about it. I have not been informed about such a move, and the hon. Member must be misinformed in that respect.

Mr. Grimond

On a further point of order concerning Question No. 47, Mr. Speaker. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House was kind enough to say yesterday 'that he would consider making a statement on the Cyprus negotiations before the House rises. Is it the Government's intention to make such a statement?

Mr. Speaker

Hon. Members, in the guise of a point of order, are asking questions of the Government. At present I see nothing happening except, I suspect, the right hon. Gentleman preparing to move the Adjournment.

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