HC Deb 26 January 1967 vol 739 cc1796-7
Mr. Lomas

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to draw your attention and that of the House to a mistake in the Order Paper for yesterday, 25th January, in that the Paper gives the names of four hon. Members, my hon. Friends the Members for Lewisham, West (Mr. Dickens), for Glasgow, Woodside (Mr. Carmichael) and for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Hugh D. Brown), and myself as supporting the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) to Motion No. 340.

This is a serious matter, Mr. Speaker, and I completely absolve the hon. Member for Louth from any blame. I have told the hon. Gentleman that I would raise the matter, and I appreciate that these names were put to his Amendment by a mistake on the part of the printers and the Table Office.

The Table Office has courteously given the four Members concerned an apology, and it is, of course, accepted because, like all hon. and right hon. Members, we appreciate the great difficulties, stresses and strains under which those who serve us in the Table Office have to work, and we recognise their wonderful qualities.

This matter need have gone no further, Mr. Speaker, particularly after the insertion in today's Order Paper of a correction, but for the fact that printed in the Evening Standard last night, in the stop press of the West End final edition —no doubt in good faith—there was a headline saying that the hon. Member for Louth had received the support of four Labour Members. I understand that this has appeared also in other newspapers in the country.

In the circumstances, my hon. Friends and I felt that we had no alternative but to draw the attention of the House to the mistake purely for the sake of the record and for the sake of our own political integrity.

Mr. Speaker

I am extremely sorry that the hon. Members' names were added by mistake to the wrong Motion. I can understand the political embarrassment involved. They will have noted that a corrigendum appears on page 6681 of today's Notices.

Having said that, may I remind the House that business in Early-Day Motions has increased threefold over the last two years and that copy is produced for the printers in a state which is often very diff cult to decipher. It would help to avoid error if hon. Members would indicate clearly which Motion they wish to support when handing in their manuscript and if they would also, wherever possible, use the forms which are available for this purpose.

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the tribute which he so rightly paid to chose who provide the mass of documentation for the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I know that I can express our gratitude to all of them for the way in which so few mistakes are made in what is done through the night in incredibly difficult conditions.

Sir C. Osborne

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I add a word, since the matter affects me? I also was caused certain political embarrassment, and I received further political embarrassment from the fact that, when the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Lomas) was courteous enough to tell me that he proposed to raise the matter with you, Sir, I could not get from him any reason why he should now dissociate himself from such a sensible Amendment.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The embarrassment should be over by now.