HC Deb 02 July 1968 vol 767 cc1323-4
Mr. Hirst

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have given you some notice of the point and I am glad that the Leader of the House is here. It refers to notification of change of business.

I seek your guidance, if possible, on how hon. Members may be notified more adequately. Last Friday, we were discussing the Overseas Aid Bill, on Second Reading, and I was in possession of the House when the debate was automatically adjourned. The Government agreed to provide extra time, but no statement was made then. The Whip said, in the ordinary way,"Monday next". That is the ancient formula for keeping a Bill on the Order Paper. No further notification was made.

No doubt owing to unavoidable delays, I and other hon. Members did not receive our Order Papers through the post in the ordinary way and on arrival at the House yesterday I went to the notice board in the "No" Lobby to see whether the business had been changed, because I had heard it rumoured that the debate would be continued next Friday, when the remaining stages had been set down.

I was unable to be present for the resumed debate last night and it may appear that I was guilty of some discourtesy, particularly to the Parliamentary Secretary, who replied, by not being present—but that is of little account. It is, however, important that there should be a system whereby hon. Members can certainly know what the business is to be. May I ask whether some arrangement should not be made to notify change of business before you so kindly arrange to put it in the "No" Lobby?

Mr. Speaker

This is a matter for the Leader of the House. I understand that he is present. He will have heard what the hon. Gentleman has said and will obviously give consideration to what is a serious point, put very courteously.

The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart)

I will certainly give consideration to the hon. Member's point.