§ Mr. Christopher Price (Lewisham, West)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I raise the matter of the rules concerning prayer cards? I have not been able to give you notice of this because the incident has arisen only since the beginning of Question Time.
The rules for prayer cards have been laid down firmly in "Erskine May" and, in the early years, in Hansard. As I understand the ruling, it is that prayer cards reserve seats for the Member concerned and that it is an abuse for him to use them simply to take part in prayers and to hand over his seat to another right hon. or hon. Member who is unable to rise early enough to get to his seat in time.
It has always been a principle of prayer cards—which in many ways are a rather childish device—that early birds catch worms. If they are simply to be used to reserve seats for other hon. Members, that is an abuse of the process upon which I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to rule.
§ Mr. Speaker
Prayer cards apply to the person who places them. The House understands that. I know of nothing within the rules of the House which precludes any hon. Member giving way to another of his right hon. or hon. Friends if he wishes so to do.