§ Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)
I hope it is for your convenience, Mr. Speaker, that I should raise a point of order about private business after Prayers now rather than delaying Question Time.
A practice has grown up which is grossly inconvenient to hon. Members. Business which is down for consideration this day is not accompanied by the necessary papers being available to hon. Members in the Vote Office. They are instead invited to go the Private Bill Office in the hope that there will be someone there who will be able to show them that which, in my view, should be readily available in the Vote Office, as is the case with all other papers which are necessary for the conscientious conduct of the House's business.
Therefore, I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consider whether it would be in the interests of the House for instructions to be given that all amendments to Private Bills should be available to hon. Members in the Vote Office on the day on which they are on the Order Paper for discussion. I can see reasons why this might not be done in the case of personal Bills because it might involve greatly added expense to impecunious parties. Therefore, I would not insist on that in the case of personal Bills. But it is a bad practice when Members cannot draw from the Vote Office the papers that they need conscientiously to discharge their duties as set out on the Order Paper, and it turns the House into a rubber stamp.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his point of order. He has raised a serious point. I have started to look into the question, but I would prefer not to give a ruling today. I shall give a ruling in the near future.