§ Mr. Palmer
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I raise with you a point of order which I believe is of general application to the proper working of the House of Commons. The Select Committee on Science and Technology, of which I am chairman, has a sub-committee looking at developments in Japanese industry which may be of possible application to, or hold lessons for, British industry. The subcommittee intends to visit Japan next week. All detailed arrangements have been made with Japanese industrial establishments. Today the Leader of the Opposition has instructed the Conservative Members of the sub-committee to withdraw from the visit—may I say to the great despair of the Conservative Members involved—
§ Mr. Palmer
The magic date of 7th November has been quoted, like the Ides of March. What can be done to protect the working of Select Committees of this House from arbitrary interference by leaders of any political party?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman is an experienced Member of this House. He has been here a long time and he knows that that is not a point of order 274 for me. Arrangements between the parties are not my concern.
§ Mr. McNamara
No. I accept the point that you have made, that arrangements between the parties are of no concern of the Chair. However I suggest that the working of Select Committees is a matter for the House and a matter for you because they are Committees of this House. This is not the first occasion that the right hon. Lady has acted in this manner—