HC Deb 15 November 1982 vol 32 c18
39. Mr. Winnick

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will seek to refer to the Select Committee on Members' Interests the matter of hon. Members voting on issues in which they might have an interest if proposed legislation duly becomes law.

Mr. Biffen

No, Sir. I believe the long-established rules on this matter are well understood by hon. Members and work satisfactorily.

Mr. Winnick

Can it be considered right for some Conservative Members to vote for legislation to denationalise British assets, such as Britoil, when they clearly have in mind making a profit for themselves? Does this not involve a conflict of interests, and should not this matter be referred to the appropriate Committee?

Mr. Biffen

Equally, it would not be right for hon. Members with overdrafts to vote for a reduction in bank rate. Were the hon. Gentleman's proposal to be considered and extended, it would bring practically all parliamentary processes to a halt. That is why in the past there have been clear rules governing such matters, and there is nothing to suggest that those rules are out of date.

Sir Albert Costain

Has my right hon. Friend noticed the anomaly that Labour Members who talk about Members' interests are often sponsored by trade unions, yet have no hesitation in voting on matters affecting trade unions?

Mr. Biffen

I had noted that anomaly in a casual and disinterested fashion, but I do not believe that the House operates at its best when the motives of either side are called into question by the other.