§ Mr. S. Silverman
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,the decision to send British troops into a foreign country without the authorisation of Parliament.I wish to say only two things, in view of the fact that we discussed the matter at length a week ago. Since then, two things have happened. One is that the decision has been taken and that the troops are being ordered to go. Therefore, the last element of hypothesis that may have attached to the debate last week has now disappeared. This is now as definite, as urgent and as publicly important as any matter can possibly be.
The second change that has taken place—and I am grateful to the Leader of the House for making it so clear—is that, if the Government can help it, there will never be a vote of the House of Commons on this issue. If a matter is definite and urgent and of public importance, and it is clear that we are never to have an opportunity to vote upon it at all, I should have thought that it would 681 be absolutely essential that you, Mr. Speaker, should allow this Motion to be put to the House.
It is true, I say in conclusion, that there will be two opportunities today of debating the matter. One would be if the House did not accept the understanding about taking the Supply debate on the Foreign Office Vote formally. We need not take it formally; we could debate it. If we do accept the understanding, it can be raised again on the Motion for the Adjournment. But, in both cases, the procedure has been deliberately selected to prevent the House from coming to a clear decision upon this one matter, unaffected and unembarrassed by any other matters on which the division of opinion might be different in the House of Commons. Therefore, I submit that I have made a case under the Standing Order.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,the decision to send British troops into a foreign country without the authorisation of Parliament.I cannot allow the Motion to go to the House. There is an immediate, or almost immediate, opportunity to discuss that and any permissible topic on the Motion for the Adjournment.
§ Mr. Silverman
Nobody questions that there is a reasonable opportunity this very day to discuss that, but that is not the importance of Standing Order No. 9—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The distinction which the hon. Gentleman makes is between an opportunity for discussion and an opportunity to vote on a precise issue. I have them both in mind, but I desire to adhere to my Ruling.