HC Deb 02 December 1983 vol 49 c1107

Mr. Secretary Fowler, supported by Mr. Secretary Prior, Mr. Secretary Younger, Mr. Secretary Edwards, Mr. Secretary Tebbit, Mr. Secretary King, Mr. John Moore, Mr. Kenneth Clarke, Dr. Rhodes Boyson and Mr. Tony Newton, presented a Bill to amend the Opticians Act 1958 in relation to the supply of optical appliances and publicity relating to their supply; to make amendments of the National Health Service Act 1977 and the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 in relation to general ophthalmic services and finance in the National Health Service; to make amendments of the National Health Service Act 1977 in relation to Family Practitioner Committees; to amend the law relating to social security, statutory sick pay and contracted-out occupational pension schemes; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time upon Monday next and to be printed. [Bill 69.]

Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the Bill that has just been read the First time not to be available to hon. Members until 11 o'clock, although it will be available to members of the press at a press conference being organised before 11 o'clock?

Mr. Speaker

Not for the first time, I say that hon. Members should always have papers available to them, if not before the press, certainly at the same time. I shall look into the matter.

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I bring to your attention the fact that the same problem occurs with the GLC transport Bill that should be produced today, but which hon. Members will not have until after the press conference? It is unacceptable to the Opposition that such a thing should happen when we are expected to give a response to a Government Bill. To have the Bill before the press may be a matter for argument, but to have it at the same time as the press is the least that any hon. Member should expect.

Mr. Speaker

I agree with the hon. Gentleman's sentiments, and I shall look into the matter.

The Minister for Social Security (Dr. Rhodes Boyson)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Health and Social Security Bill will not be made available to the press before it is made available to hon. Members.

Mr. Speaker

I hope that that puts the matter into perspective.

Mr. Prescott

What about the transport Bill?