HC Deb 28 March 1984 vol 57 c306
Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In the debates that will take place tonight on two orders, in particular with regard to redundancy payments, may I remind you that a study of Hansard shows that on all occasions when such instruments have been debated hon. Members have been permitted to discuss the alternatives on which the money in question — tonight it will be redundancy money—could have been used?

So far as I can recollect, there has never been an occasion when Mr. Speaker or his deputy has intervened to say that hon. Members could not debate the issues for which the money was to be used or for which it could be used. I hope, therefore, that there will not be any restriction on hon. Members who wish to take part in tonight's debate, should they wish to refer to current matters arising out of the fact that not so much money would have to be made available by way of redundancy payments if there were fewer pit closures. In other words, I hope that we shall tonight be able to refer, as we have in the past, to such other matters.

Mr. Speaker

I fully understand what the hon. Gentleman says. As for tonight's debate, hon. Members will have seen the motions on the Order Paper and will appreciate that we must stick to the subject matter of those motions, otherwise order will completely evaporate. Nevertheless, in my judgment it can be a fairly wide debate, and the matters to which the hon. Member referred may certainly be mentioned in the debate.

The House will be aware there will tonight be two one-and-a-half hour debates, so that there will, in effect, be a three-hour debate. While, therefore, I reaffirm what the hon. Member for Bolsover(Mr. Skinner) said in the substance of his remarks, it would not be in order to discuss what the police are alleged to be doing and what the right hon. Member for Chesterfield(Mr. Benn) raised in his Standing Order No. 10 application.