HC Deb 17 November 1981 vol 13 c165
Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. One appreciates that the Upper Galleries reserved for hon. Members have been used for a long period, for reasons which we understand. Is there not a case, however, for the House to consider removing the right of hon. Members to speak from those Galleries? In view of the events of yesterday, is there not a strong case for establishing a tradition that hon. Members may speak at Question Time or in debates only from the Floor of the Chamber? I therefore ask you, Mr. Speaker, to give careful consideration to removing the right of hon. Members to speak from the Upper Galleries.

Mr. Speaker

Naturally, I have been giving consideration to that question I in no way seek to limit the rights of right hon. and hon. Members. I am always very guarded about limiting a right which has existed. I have, however thought to myself that where the Speaker's eye falls is his business—and, of course, the business of the person upon whom his eye falls—and that in future it is more likely to fall down here than up there.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have considerable sympathy with the view that the position of speakers in the Upper Galleries is anomalous. However, should not the House resist altering its procedures merely because advantage is taken of them by those who wish only to gain publicity and who, as was said yesterday, have no interest in treating the House with respect? It seems to me, therefore, that we should ignore that reason for changing the procedure, and that if there are any other reasons they should be separated from that one.

Mr. Speaker

I should greatly welcome it if any Select Committee were to examine this matter. I should, indeed, have a few other matters to refer to the Committee.