HC Deb 23 February 1984 vol 54 c977 3.40 pm
Mr. Allan Roberts (Bootle)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Mine is a point of order, Mr. Speaker, not the outpourings of a spoilt child from Devonport. I am sorry to have to raise a point of order, because it is seldom that I have ever done so, but I have been trying to table an early-day motion—this is a matter for you, Mr. Speaker —drawing attention to the extent of unemployment on Merseyside. In it, I wanted to list the number of redundancies and factory closures that have taken place over the past two years. I have been refused leave to table the motion because, I am told, it is too long. It is not my fault that it is too long. I have not been responsible for the length of the list of closures and redundancies. I call upon you, Mr. Speaker, to protect the rights of Back Benchers and allow me to illustrate the unemployment levels and the number of redundancies and closures on Merseyside by being able to table my early-day motion.

Mr. Speaker

I can answer that point simply. The hon. Gentleman sought to table a long motion, which was brought to me. I disallowed it because it was over 700 words long and contained a long extract from a newspaper article. In a previous ruling, as I am sure the hon. Member will know, because he studies Hansard, I ruled that private Members' motions on Fridays should not exceed an average of 250 words. Therefore I ruled that his long motion, which contained that long extract, was not in order, and I have already been in touch with the hon. Member about it.

Mr. Roberts

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

There is nothing further to say. I have told the hon. Gentleman why I disallowed the motion.