HC Deb 17 May 1979 vol 967 cc393-5

The following motion stood upon the Order Paper:


  1. (1)Save as provided in this Order, Standing Order No. 6 (Precedence of Government business) shall have effect in this Session as if the Session had been opened at the first meeting of the House after the Summer Adjournment;
  2. (2)Private Members' Notices of Motions shall have precedence over Government business on Friday 13 July and the ballot for these Notices shall be held after Questions on Wednesday 27 June; no Notice of Motion shall be handed in for that day in anticipation of the ballot;
  3. (3)Government business shall have precedence at every other sitting until the Summer Adjournment and no bill other than Government bills shall be introduced.

Mr. Speaker

Business motion not moved.

Mr. Foot

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Following what the right hon. Gentleman has said about item No. 1 on the Order Paper not being moved today, can he give us an indication when he will be moving it, and whether it is to be moved in the same form or in a different form?

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. St. John-Stevas)

Yes, I can give the right hon. Gentleman that assurance. A motion will be moved as soon as possible. [HON. MEMBERS: "This motion?"] No, another motion will be moved, or this motion will be amended. [Hon. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because objections have been expressed, and I am taking those objections into account. Hon. Gentlemen must not be annoyed with me, because I am acceding to their wishes. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] Before the Whitsun Recess.

Mr. Mellish

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I think the right hon. Gentleman would agree that it would have been helpful if we had heard what were the objections to the order which he has not moved. Is it not a fact that with such motions as that, concerning every Member of this House, there should be consultations between the Front Benches so that when they are put forward such motions will be unanimously approved? Was that done in this case? If not, why not?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I hope that practice will be followed.

Mr. Foot

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker, may I say to the right hon. Gentleman that it would be helpful if, say, tomorrow we could have some indication of when the discussion on this motion will take place. It is a matter that is likely to take up some time. There is a part of the order which may be controversial. We hope that the right hon. Gentleman will take into account what the remaining business of the House is at that time so that there will be an opportunity for discussion.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Of course I shall do that. This motion, which has caused some misunderstanding, referred only to motions and was without prejudice to any question of legislation. May I give the right hon. Gentleman a view of my intentions in this respect, whatever motion is put down involving Private Members' Bills? I am determined that the full rights of private Members in regard to their legislation will be respected.

Mr. English

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not the case that the last line of the first order prohibits private Members from introducing any Bill from now until next October?

Mr. Speaker

Order. We need not discuss the matter now, because the motion has not been moved. There have been genuine points of order, but we must not go into the details of the motion.

Mr. George Cunningham

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Since we are talking—whether about legislation or about motions—about private Members' time, not Front Bench time, can the Leader of the House guarantee that there will also be consultation with those Back Bench Members who wish to have consultations with him before the motion comes forward?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

indicated assent.

Mr. Kaufman

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman two questions about his intentions on this particular order? First, could he give us an assurance that there will not be any great delay in tabling it, because otherwise, of course, he would have the opportunity of saying that, because of the delay, the amount of time was limited? Secondly, will he assure us that it will not be taken for a couple of days after it is tabled, so that hon. Members who wish to table amnedments have the opporunity to do so?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I am delighted to give the right hon. Gentleman both those assurances.