§ Mr. Speaker
I have received three applications to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9, from the hon. Members for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley), Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) and Abingdon (Mr. Benyon). all three deal with the same subject, the Middle East. I propose to take the first one and to give my ruling on that because there is no point in the same application being made three times.
§ Mr. Frank Hooley (Sheffield, Heeley)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namelythe invasion of the Lebanon by Israeli forces and the threatened occupation of the Lebanese capital, Beirut".
That the matter is specific is beyond doubt. Israeli regular armed forces have advanced between 40 and 20 miles into the Lebanon. They are now attempting to encircle Beirut and have stated that they intend to occupy it.
The matter is important for the following reasons. First, the Lebanon is an independent sovereign State, a member of the United Nations, and is entitled to the protection of its territory and unity, as are all other members. Secondly, there has been a unanimous Security Council resolution requiring the withdrawal of Israeli forces, which Israel has so far disregarded. Thirdly, there is the question of human suffering and the massacre of mothers and babies, boys and girls. The figure has already been put at 8,000, and the killing and murder go on. Fourthly, and of fundamental importance, the principle of collective security and United Nations peacekeeping is at stake. If no action is taken to uphold the rule of law, the consequences for international peace not only in the Middle East but in the world at large are terrifying.
The matter is urgent for the following reasons. Not only does the fighting involve Israeli, Lebanese and Palestinian people, but the Syrian forces have been drawn into the conflict. It is reported today that forces may also be sent from Iran. The Saudi Foreign Minister has flown to Bonn to talk personally to President Reagan, and the American Secretary of State, Mr. Haig, has gone to Jerusalem for direct talks with the Israeli Government. The Ministers of Western Europe have discussed the matter urgently and are talking in terms of economic sanctions.
In the light of these considerations the House ought as a matter of the greatest urgency to discuss this conflict, which could have most fatal implications not only for peace in the Middle East but for the world at large.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman gave me notice before 12 o'clock this morning, as I indicated, as did two other hon. Gentlemen whom I have identified by constituency, that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namelythe invasion of the Lebannon by Israeli forces and the threatened occupation of the Lebanese capital, Beirut".
The House listened, as I did, with deep and anxious concern to what the hon. Gentleman said. The House knows that my powers are strictly limited in this matter. I am directed to take account of the several factors set out 407 in the Order, but to give no reasons for my decision. I have given careful consideration to the representations that the hon. Gentleman has made, but I have to rule that the hon. 408 Gentleman's submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.