HC Deb 23 June 1977 vol 933 cc1770-1
Mr. Eldon Griffiths

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise to the Minister, to my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) and, indeed, to the fish for delaying matters longer. I wish to raise a matter of importance for the order of our procedures. On the one hand, the House must be conscious of the sub judice rule and the need to preserve the rights of individuals who might find themselves before the courts. On the other hand, there is the clear matter of urgent public importance arising out of the threats to order at the Grunwick factory.

I recognise the dilemma in which you find yourself, Mr. Speaker, in wanting to protect both of these aspects. However, one cannot always be bound by the precedent of "Erskine May" in these matters. Perhaps over the next day or two you might find it possible to consult the Lord President, who did not answer my question on this issue earlier, and other authorities of the House. Perhaps you could consider whether there is a way in which the House could extricate itself from the present difficulty which would allow us to do our duty by discussing these issues without being inhibited in every respect by the sub judice rule.

Mr. Speaker

I am obliged to the hon. Member. No doubt he reflects the views of many other hon. Members. I listened carefully to today's exchanges. I must say that I am anxious to protect the rights of the House, but also, of course, to maintain our complete caution with regard to cases before the courts. I shall bear in mind what the hon. Member has said.