HC Deb 09 March 1972 vol 832 cc1672-3
Mr. Carter

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This arises out of events last Friday when my Ten-Minute Rule Bill, the Protection of Otters Bill, came before the House. An hon. Member objected to the Bill, and it was therefore deferred; and when you, Sir, asked the House on which day the Second Reading should take place, that same hon. Member—I believe it was the same hon. Member—suggested 16th June.

The point I wish to put to you, Mr. Speaker, is that if a Bill is deferred till the last possible day on which Private Members' business can be taken it has effectively been removed from the Order Paper. That removes the need for hon. Members to be present in the meantime to object to the Bill when it comes before the House. I wish to ask, Mr. Speaker, if you do not feel that this is behaviour contrary to the spirit of the procedure of the House, and whether it was not discourteous for that Member to do what he did without informing me of the line of action he was taking?

Mr. Speaker

I am grateful to the hon. Member for giving me notice on this point. The deferment of a Bill in this way, though rare, is not unprecedented. I believe that it happened once last Session, although no complaint was made to me at the time. On 26th May, 1937, however, Mr. Speaker Fitzroy, when a similar incident was brought to his notice after it had occurred, strongly deprecated the use of this method for killing a Bill by an opponent as contrary to the established usage of the House. I entirely agree with my predecessor, and state that in future if objection is taken to a Bill the Chair will not accept its deferment to a distant date unless so requested either by the hon. Member in charge of the Bill or by another hon. Member known to be acting with his authority.