HC Deb 09 March 1981 vol 1000 cc616-8
Mr. John Stokes (Halesowen and Stourbridge)

" On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise for not having given you notice earlier, but I should like to know whether it is compatible with the dignity and independence of Parliament that entry to the Palace of Westminster should be picketed?

Mr. Speaker

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that hon. Members were picketed on their way in? I can only express a personal opinion, as the guardian of the House. If anyone tries to stop hon. Members—[Interruption.] Order. If the question is that hon. Members were asked not to come in—[HON. MEMBERS:"NO."]—it would be undermining our democratic system. If that were not the question, and the pickets were just standing there, I am afraid that it is an old custom that has gone on since the time of Mr. Speaker Hylton-Foster.

Mr. Stokes

You asked me a question, Mr. Speaker. Before entering, I was asked whether I would read a piece of paper. I do not wish to be asked to read a piece of paper before coming here.

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is different. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand that that is different from an attempt to stop an hon. Member from coming to this free Parliament.