HC Deb 05 April 1984 vol 57 c1123

4.3 pm

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wonder whether you have made any representations to the Leader of the House or to those who arrange business in the House, in view of the fact that, during the course of the past fortnight at least, you have been inundated with requests to have a debate on a very important matter which is specific and urgent—the coal mining dispute and the associated police activites—and in view of the fact that you have been placed in the middle of what is obviously a tug-of-war between the Government and others who have some influence in arranging business.

Since the Leader of the House has said several times already that there is a lot of pressing business to arrange, my constituents — particularly those who watched the police put blankets over the heads of a handful of strikebreakers and bundle them into a bus and take them through the picket line—will never believe that a debate on the Ginns and Gutteridge, Leicester (Crematorium) Bill is more necessary to the nation, and to civil liberties, freedom of the individual and police activity than a debate on a matter which most people in the country are discussing.

It seems to me extremely strange, Mr. Speaker, that you have been placed in this predicament, in which we are this afternoon to debate for three hours the Ginns and Gutteridge, Leicester (Crematorium) Bill, yet there is no time to debate such an important matter.

Mr. Speaker

I must say to the hon. Gentleman and to the House that the Speaker is frequently in the middle of a tug-of-war.

Mr. Paddy Ashdown (Yeovil)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As I am sure you will recognise, the rules about Standing Order No. 10 are wondrously complicated, especially for new Members like myself. If I remember correctly, one of the requirements is that the matter be urgent. How is it possible, therefore, for the Leader of the Opposition to give five days' notice, as he did during business questions, about raising a matter under Standing Order No. 10, and is this not an abuse of the system?

Mr. Speaker

We have not heard that application yet, and I cannot rule on what is still a purely hypothetical matter.