§ Mr. Gow
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 charge of conspiracy between the Opposition Front Bench and the House of Lords and the constitutional position of the House of Lords.The Prime Minister made this charge in relation to legislation before the other House—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Gow
The Prime Minister also threatened that there would be serious consequences for another place if it pursued its constitutional duty.
This is a specific matter. It is urgent because there is nothing of greater importance to the constitutional future of this country than that the constitution itself should be observed. Long before we embark on the other matters which stand upon the Order Paper, we ought to discuss the rôle of another place in defending the liberties of the people of this country.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely:the charge of conspiracy between the Opposition Front Bench and the House of Lords and the constitutional position of the House of Lords.As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take into account the several factors set out in the Order but to give no reasons for my 214 decision. I have given careful consideration to the representations that the hon. Gentleman has made, but I have to rule that the hon. Gentleman's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.
§ Mr. Strauss
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I put to you a more serious matter arising out of the application of the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow)? Is it not a dangerous abuse of the proceedings of the House if, following a statement made by a Minister, an hon. Member can carry on the debate on the Floor of the House on a point raised by a Minister under the suggestion that it has something to do with Standing Order No. 9?
If this were accepted as a precedent, any statement made by a Minister during Question Time could be raised and the argument continued by any hon. Member after Question Time is over, thereby delaying other business. I suggest that action should be taken by you or the Select Committee on Procedure to prevent this abuse of the Standing Order from becoming a permanent feature of our proceedings.
§ Mr. Peyton
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I congratulate you on the expeditious way in which you dealt with my hon. Friend's application under Standing Order No. 9? We are totally without need of advice from the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) on such matters, especially when it is wholly unfounded and badly based.
§ Mr. Speaker
May I remind the House that from time to time—not often, but from time to time—hon. Members from all parties have felt obliged, following a ministerial answer, to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9. The House has appointed me as the guardian of its rights and, though I am conscious that there have been occasions when Standing Order No. 9 has been used in a way which I thought was not wise, I believe that the House needs to be very cautious before it gives up the liberties and rights of its own Members.