HC Deb 27 April 1982 vol 22 c725 3.35 pm
The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a short business statement.

The business for this Thursday will now be a debate on the Falkland Islands, on a motion for the Adjournment of the House. The business which was set down for that day, namely, the Finance Bill in Committee, will be taken on another occasion.

Mr. John Stokes (Halesowen and Stourbridge)

Is it wise to have yet another debate on the Falkland Islands? Will it help our diplomacy, and will it help our task force?

Mr. Biffen

I believe that it will be wise because the sound sense of the House will reinforce our diplomacy.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Norman Lamont.

Mr. Michael English (Nottingham, West)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I put a question on the business statement?

Mr. Speaker

It was a brief statement, merely changing the business for one day. If the hon. Gentleman feels that he must ask a question about it, I shall call him.

Mr. English

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Instead of the debate being on the Adjournment, will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it should be on a motion to refer the legalities of the issue to the International Court of Justice? If we propose that to the Security Council, the Security Council has the power to do it whether Argentina wishes it or not.

Mr. Biffen

This form of motion, which is customary, was chosen after consultations through the usual channels. I am sure that they will have heard the hon. Gentleman's comments.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, if hostilities break out and fighting takes place on an extensive scale, there will be a need not just for a debate on Thursday but for a debate on Friday or Saturday? If there is to be war without a declaration of war between this country and Argentina, the House must meet to decide in an ongoing situation.

Mr. Biffen

The hon. Gentleman elaborates a number of hypotheses on which the House would like to make a judgment, should those hypotheses occur.