HC Deb 23 July 1973 vol 860 cc1164-5
Mr. William Hamilton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will recollect that on Friday last the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) sought to imply that I had not given him notice that I proposed to raise the question of Bembridge harbour during the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill. I wish to make quite clear that that is completely false. I gave him notice in a letter which was put on the Members' message board on Thursday morning. If he did not get it on Thursday, that is not my fault.

Mr. Woodnutt rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. We cannot debate this matter now. I was asked for guidance about the convention of the House, and I said that the convention was that notice should be given. The time of the House cannot be taken up by two hon. Members arguing about whether the notice was adequate.

Mr. Woodnutt

May I seek your further guidance, Mr. Speaker? The hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) made most defamatory statements about me on Thursday evening, all of which were quite untrue. If he had read The Times on Saturday he would have seen that two of them had been refuted by The Sunday Times and Thomson Newspapers. The hon. Gentleman is obviously perpetuating this matter. I accept that he put a notice on the board for me. I was not here. I was at the Royal Isle of Wight County Show. If an hon. Member proposes to make defamatory statements about another Member, is it adequate notice for the hon. Member—in this case myself to receive the notice on the morning following the day on which the defamatory speech was made?

Mr. Speaker

I was asked for guidance, on a point of order, and I doubt that it was a point of order. The guidance which I gave was that notice should be given when an hon. Member intends to make defamatory or critical statements about another Member. Hon. Members take responsibility for their own statements. It is not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Hamilton

The hon. Member for Isle of Wight did not give me notice that he would raise a point of order on Friday morning. I was in the Tea Room at ten o'clock on Friday. The hon. Gentleman gave me no notice on Friday that he would raise the matter—

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