HC Deb 10 March 1980 vol 980 cc924-5
Mr. Speaker

On Thursday last the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) raised a point of order with me about second Adjournment debates. I said that. I would make a brief statement when I had looked at the matter again. I have decided that the policy of firstcome-first-served is the only fair one for the House to pursue, but in order to avoid any difficulties, the first hon. Member whose name comes in, even if at that point he has not been able to get a Minister to be ready to reply, will still be first if he secures the agreement of a Minister in the course of the day before it is time for the second debate to take place.

Mr. Foot

Thank you for the ruling that you have given, Mr. Speaker. I believe that it will greatly assist the House and will ensure that there will be no recurrence of what happened last week. I think that that is a guarantee to Back Benchers in all parts of the House, and we are most grateful to you for it.

The Under-Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. David Mitchell)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. A problem arises of which I think the House should be aware. If an hon. Member seeks to raise a second Adjournment debate on what one might call a hybrid subject—that is to say, small businesses and hotels, small businesses and agriculture, or small businesses and education—it presents a certain amount of difficulty for Ministers in discovering to which aspect they are meant to reply.

Mr. Speaker

Under the ruling that I have just given Ministers will probably have all day to decide which one of them is to reply.