§ Mr. Brian Sedgemore (Hackney, South and Shoreditch)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter of which I have given you notice, Mr. Speaker, that should have urgent consideration, namely,the conduct of the Prime Minister in relation to a contract to build a university in Oman.
The matter is specific as it concerns the dealings of the Prime Minister, her son and her husband, in relation to the Oman contract. It specifically concerns the interest and knowledge which each member of the family had of the other member of the family and the family's interest. Specifically, it concerns how the Prime Minister came to be involved in this contract in the first place, when we now know that there have been corrupt payments and share dealings by Omani and other interests. It is important because, as the Attorney-General said in 1948:Unless you secure the very highest standards and propriety at the top of public life, you cannot expect to have good standards at lower levels."—[Official Report.]
The matter is important because for the past three weeks the Prime Minister has appeared to be saying to the House that her family is above the constitution, whereas Members of the House have been trying to say that her family is perhaps becoming the unacceptable face of democracy.
What makes the matter urgent are the precise revelations over the weekend about corrupt share dealings and payments by Omani and other interests. This matter is now damaging British credibility abroad and is the subject of intense speculation, not just in the middle east, but in America and France.
Every member of the House knows that the aura of suspicion spreads widely and tends to attach itself to the innocent and guilty alike. I urge you, Mr. Speaker, to protect the dignity of the House by saying that this is a matter which should have precedence today.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) asks 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, namely,the conduct of the Prime Minister in relation to a contract to build a university in Oman.
I regret that I have to give the hon. Gentleman the same answer as I gave his hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline, West (Mr. Douglas). I listened carefully to what he said and to the exchanges in the House last week and the week before. I regret that I do not consider the matter that he has raised appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 10. I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.