§ Mr. Marten
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,The situation in the Island of Anguilla".I will be brief, Mr. Speaker. The House is aware that the Island of Anguilla declared U.D.I, in January of this year and that the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs—we are sorry to hear that he has been taken ill—visited the island this month, but was forced to depart in the unpleasant circumstances of small arms fire.
That in itself is serious enough, but on the one o'clock news today, a commentator stated that parachute troops were being prepared to go to Anguilla and that a force of police were being prepared to go into Anguilla. The commentator said that he had checked with the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office to see whether that was true and that they had both refused to comment. You yourself, Mr. Speaker, this afternoon heard the Foreign Secretary also refuse to comment when I asked the self-same question.
But whether that is so or not, I regard the situation as sufficiently serious to ask for the Adjournment of the House for a debate. Anguilla is only a small island, but the principles involved are very great. I submit that it is a specific matter in that it affects an island for which Britain has defence responsibilities. It is important, because the sending of troops would raise a grave constitutional issue, particularly for associated status.
The matter is also urgent because if the Government are set on this course the House should certainly debate it at an early opportunity. It may not be the 51 most convenient moment for the Government, but there are wider issues than the Government's convenience.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) was courteous enough to let me know just before I came into the Chair that he would seek to raise this matter.
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the situation in the Island of Anguilla.As the House knows, under new Standing Order No. 9, Mr. Speaker is directed to take into account the several factors set out in that Order but to give no reasons for his decision.
I have given careful consideration to what has happened in the Chamber this afternoon, and to the representations made by the hon. Gentleman, but I have to rule that his submission does not fall within the provisions of the revised Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.