§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Eltham)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I raise the matter as a request for guidance on the timing of a Standing Order No. 10 application. It will be within the knowledge of the House that we are promised discriminatory action by the Greater London council and penalties on certain areas, which will lead to a failure of the Government and the authorities to carry out their responsibilities for education, housing, transport and various other matters.
I am referring to the potential threat that road safety crossings will not be put up in certain constituencies just because they have elected a Conservative Member of Parliament. I am referring to the threat to stop school improvements in some constituencies because they do not vote for Labour Members of Parliament. I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that this is the sort of matter that should be raised as specific, urgent and important.
The Government have stepped in to take over housing responsibilities and it is possible that they will take over others. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is this?"] The point that I am making, Mr. Speaker, is whether this is the time to raise under the Standing Order No. 10 procedure the matter of the GLC's threat of penal, political vindictiveness or must we wait until it is carried out? I should be grateful for your guidance on the timing of a Standing Order No. 10 application.
§ Mr. Speaker
The Standing Order No. 10 procedure is precious Back Bench time and should not be abused. I can entertain a Standing Order No. 10 application for the Adjournment of the House only if there is ministerial responsibility over the matter that is raised. Clearly, there 922 is no Government responsibility for action threatened by the GLC until it happens. The hon. Gentleman must find other means of raising the matter.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You gave guidance earlier that a Standing Order No. 10 application can be allowed only if there is ministerial responsibility. When local authorities failed to carry out their statutory responsibilities in the past, we had both Government statements and debates on those issues. When local authorities threatened to take certain action, we had both Government statements and debates, raised sometimes by the Opposition, sometimes by Government Back Benchers, and sometimes by the Government themselves.
I ask for your further guidance, Mr. Speaker, on how one can ask the Government at Question Time what they will do about the threat from the Greater London Council and/or certain of its members, and on what the distinction is between such an issue being raised at Question Time, or as an urgent, specific and important matter, as I tried to do following the intimation yesterday that certain members of the GLC will do the best that they can to fail to carry out their responsibility in an even-handed manner throughout the GLC area.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman was previously in touch with me about raising this matter of the threatened actions of the GLC. I told him then, and I tell him again now in the House, that there is no Government responsibility for actions threatened by the GLC. There are many other tactical ways of dealing with the matter. It could have been raised at Question Time this afternoon, or in an Adjournment debate.