§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,The appearance on Weekend Television of the Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA, his admission and defence of the most atrocious of crimes, his threat to the economic, military, political and judicial life of the whole of the United Kingdom, and the sense of outrage felt by all right-thinking members of the community at his appearance.I am aware, Mr. Speaker, of the limitations that are mine in making this application, but the people of Northern Ireland and, indeed, of the rest of the United Kingdom, were outraged that, when the IRA was carrying out cold-blooded murders in Northern Ireland on Sunday, its leader should be appearing on the media, and discussing the cold-blooded murders of two members of the Northern Ireland judiciary. He said that the IRA warned these men and that as they did not resign their offices it murdered them. The time has come when the House should express itself upon this important matter.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) gave me notice of his intention to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing the weekend appearance of the IRA Chief of Staff on Weekend Television and the threat to the political, judicial and economic life of the United Kingdom.
I have listened carefully to what he has said. I have considered the matter and I do not think that it should be pursued further under Standing Order No. 9.
I think that other ways must be found of pursuing the matter.
§ Mr. Speaker
I have ruled on the Standing Order No. 9 and I now call the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stan-brook) on another matter. I shall come back to the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell).
§ Mr. Fell
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am not absolutely certain whether I am allowed to ask you this question and I am not absolutely sure how to ask it. The fact that the basis of my question is of a hypothetical nature makes it even more difficult to ask. Supposing that someone were to seek your guidance on raising a Private Notice Question on a matter of the deepest interest to millions of people, and supposing that you were to turn down the matter after due consideration but that it was then allowed to be raised under the Standing Order No. 9 procedure, would that not put the House in great difficulty?
In fact, this afternoon we had such a situation. The result is that the matter cannot be discussed by other hon. Members in the House because it will not be answered by a Minister. Therefore, the whole matter is shut out. In view of what happened over the weekend on television, it would seem that the House would want an answer from the Government as to their policy in such matters and that it would have been a great advantage for the House had the subject been accepted as a Private Notice Question.
§ Mr. Speaker
The acceptance of a Private Notice Question depends on my discretion and whether the Private Notice Question is in order. The Standing Order No. 9 procedure is entirely a matter for me. I do not think that I can go into the hypotheses of the hon. Member for Yarmouth any more. Other ways may be found of raising the matter.