HC Deb 20 October 1972 vol 843 c647
Mr. Speaker

I undertook yesterday to rule upon a submission by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) in relation to an Early Day Motion part of which I had previously ruled out of order. I want to correct a slip of the tongue which I made yesterday. I said that it was a decision of the Table. In fact it was a decision of the Chair.

I have considered the matter carefully and a form of words has been suggested which, in my view, would not infringe the sub judice rule. I hope that it may prove acceptable to the hon. Member. Of course, I am not expressing an opinion on the merits. That is not a matter for me.

Mr. Ashley

I am delighted to accept that form of Motion, Mr. Speaker. It is a powerful message to Distillers (Bio-chemicals) Company. Next week I shall submit to the Table a Motion on the wider question of changes in the law, but that does not affect the immediate matter of the thalidomide children. I express to you my warm appreciation for your Ruling and thank you very much indeed. I accept this form of Motion with great pleasure.

Mrs. Castle

I am sure we are all grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for the efforts you made to enable us to put this powerful expression on the Order Paper of the House of Commons. May I take it from what you have said that the way is now clear for an early and wide-ranging debate on the tragic condition of the thalidomide children, a debate for which we shall be pressing through the usual channels?

Mr. Speaker

Whether there is opportunity for debate or not is not a matter for me. I have stated what Motion I think is in order. We shall see how far people can go when we debate that Motion.

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