HC Deb 27 July 1982 vol 28 c934
Mr. Arthur Lewis (Newham, North-West)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. A little while ago you said that a large number of right hon. and hon. Members wished to participate in today's debate. I have raised this matter with you before. I hope that you have a long and happy Summer Recess, but perhaps you will seriously consider the matter and discuss it through the usual channels. I know that the Chair is in an invidious and difficult position.

The subject is the privileges that are given, taken or granted to Privy Councillors. Most hon. Members share my opinion. There are a few right hon. Members who abuse their privilege. My right hon. Friends the Members for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) and Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) and some others do not abuse it, but there are others who regularly, in every major debate, come to the Chamber, make their speech and go away, and we do not see them again for the rest of the debate and sometimes not even during the winding-up speeches.

Worse than that, some Privy Councillors never take the trouble to table a question but when another hon. Member tables a question they come into the Chamber at 10 minutes or quarter past 3 and are immediately called to ask a supplementary question. Other hon. Members who have waited to raise an important point are therefore not called.

Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, you would discuss this matter with those concerned and suggest that, as we all believe in fair shares for all, certain right hon. Members should try to ration themselves. Furthermore, I suggest that if too many right hon. Members wish to speak, they also should be told that they will not be called and that you will only call one or two on each side to prevent Back Benchers from being forced out. I am sure that the House would welcome that.

I hope that if you cannot give an answer now, Mr. Speaker, you will consult the relevant persons on the matter.

Mr. Speaker

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. I hope that every speech today will be as brief as his. The Privy Councillors that I may call today who have said that they would like to be called are very good ones.