HC Deb 13 December 1977 vol 941 cc298-422

Considered in Committee [Progress, 12th December.]

[Mr OSCAR MURTON in the Chair]

4.28 p.m.

Mr. Tim Rathbone (Lewes)

On a point of order, Mr. Murton. I should like to draw your attention to starred Amendment No. 133 standing in my name and the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Morrison), which I presume has not been selected for several reasons—one being that it is starred.

The reason for this amendment being put down was to enable the Committee to discuss today the broad principle of different types of more proportional electoral systems than the one suggested in the Bill.

Amendments Nos. 121, 122 and 123 put forward one alternative to the regional list system suggested in the Bill. My hon. Friend and I hoped that you would decide, Mr. Murton, to choose this other amendment for discussion so that the Committee, in these peculiar circumstances when we are discussing a point of principle rather than a point of detail, could discuss this as an alternative system.

The Chairman

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice that he intended raising this matter. I reply very shortly. I know that he will understand that in the selection or non-selection of amendments I have to exercise my usual discretion.

Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

May I raise a point of order, Mr. Murton, of which I have given you notice? At the top of page 669 of the Amendment Paper there is a printer's error in Amendment No. 78, a new schedule. In line 12" Truro" should be included at the end of group 1, not at the beginning of group 2. There is no dispute that this is an error in printing, but it is worth pointing out now, otherwise those reading this amendment might regard it as bizarre. It is not a bizarre amendment. The transposition is due to a misprint. Truro properly belongs to group 1.

The Chairman

I thank the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) for warning me that he was raising this point of order. Perhaps I should apologise on behalf of the printers in that Truro has moved too far to the east. I have no doubt that, if the amendment be selected in due course, it will have been put right.

The first amendment which I have selected is Amendment No. 24.

Mr. Charles Morrison (Devizes)

Further to the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone) on Amendment No. 133, Mr. Murton. I am a little intrigued as to why the amendment has not been selected, given the selection of, for example, Amendment No. 121—I have no desire or intention to question your ruling—so may I ask whether it will be in order during the debate to refer to the question of additional Members? If this idea of an additional Member system should find favour with the Committee it might be sensible for it to be raised at a later stage.

The Chairman

I think that the answer to the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Morrison) is that "incidental references" may be made. If the hon. Member can use his ingenuity without going too deeply into the matter, the Chair will be benevolent.

  1. Clause 3
    1. cc299-422
    2. METHOD OF ELECTION 46,502 words, 1 division
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