HC Deb 07 May 1973 vol 856 cc35-6
Mr. Speaker

Mr. McBride—a point of order arising out of Questions.

Mr. McBride

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you are the guardian of the rights of back benchers I wish to protest, through you, for the first time in all my years here, about the lack of courtesy in failing to intimate to me the transfer of Question No. 37. I do not intend to debate the merits of it or, indeed, the Minister's right to transfer it. However, the Question was transferred from the Secretary of State to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I had no knowledge of that transfer until today when I saw the Order Paper. Consequently, I seek protection against this form of discourteous ineptitude.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understand from impeccable sources that the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride) was informed in writing by the Welsh Office on 3rd May.

Mr. McBride

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I question the status of the hon. Member for Conway (Mr. Wyn Roberts) in replying to my point of order. It is a matter which I resent.

Mr. Speaker

We cannot debate this matter now. The hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride) gave me notice that he intended to raise this point. I gather that there was no irregularity on the part of the authorities of the House. The other matters are not for me. I have no doubt that what the hon. Gentleman said has been noted.

Mr. Alan Williams

On a further point of order, Mr. Speaker—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Does the hon. Gentleman's point arise out of Questions?

Mr. Williams

Yes, Mr. Speaker. It is a different point of order.

Question No. 12 refers to the Green Paper on EEC regional policy. A later Question, No. 23, refers to matters which are discussed in the document. Before coming into the Chamber I tried to obtain a copy of the Green Paper from the Vote Office. I was told that no copies were available. I went to the Library and there I discovered only one copy, which had arrived earlier today, the Library having tried to obtain one on Friday, the day of its publication. I gather that even the Welsh Office has been trying to borrow a copy, although it is one of the Departments which are allegedly to take part in the consultations. For the protection of back-bench Members, Mr. Speaker, will you consider what measures can be adopted to ensure that important documents emanating from outside but which are relevant to this House are available to Members immediately?

Mr. Speaker

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for raising this point. I will look into the matter.