HC Deb 15 February 1973 vol 850 cc1461-2
Mr. Molloy

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, may I seek your advice and guidance? We have various means of drawing attention to what some of us might consider as grave national crises. We can use the machinery of Standing Order No. 9. Another method is to seek to influence the Leader of the House on Thursday afternoon, when he announces the business for the next week, to see whether he will amend what he is proposing so as to meet the requirements of hon. Members who think that a serious situation has arisen.

It seems that both the Chair and hon. Members are placed in a very difficult situation when some of us think that there is a serious industrial crisis and that Parliament ought to promote on its agenda the issue of that industrial crisis, if the only person who can give us any guidance whether such a discussion ought to take place is the Leader of the House. Although you, Mr. Speaker, have no powers to make a Minister answer, it seems pointless to have a procedure by which a request can be made yet no answer whatever be given. Ought it not to be within the rules of procedure that an answer should be forthcoming, even if it is a myopic one and a refusal?

Mr. Prior

There are two occasions next week on which this matter could be raised. The first is a Supply Day when the Opposition has the absolute choice of business to be discussed. On the following day, Thursday, it is by the special request of the Opposition that the debate is to be devoted to the international monetary situation. I do not think it can be said that this is not meeting with the wishes of the House. The House has these methods by which hon. Members on a matter of urgency may seek your advice. I think that the arrangements for business next week meet with the convenience of the House and if necessary they can be altered.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy) asked me for guidance and the Leader of the House has given it. I believe that that is quite right because one of my predecessors once said that it is very dangerous for the Chair to give guidance. Nevertheless, I would endorse what the Leader of the House has said. There are Supply Days and by means of them the Opposition may raise grievances.