§ The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It may be of assistance to the House if I say now that it is the Government's intention for an oral statement to be made tomorrow concerning the Ponting case.
§ Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be in order for me to make an application under Standing Order No. 10 at this stage? If not, at what stage would it be appropriate?
§ Mr. Speaker
I say to the right hon. and learned Member for Aberavon (Mr. Morris) and other right hon. and hon. Members who have given notice of Standing Order No. 10 applications that this is a private Members' day, and we already have two statements and two other applications under Standing Order No. 10 that came in before 12 o'clock. I appreciate that the judgment in the Ponting case was not received until after noon, so it might be appropriate to delay further applications under Standing Order No. 10 until tomorrow, in the interests of private Members.
§ Mr. Morris
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is my intention, as I have given notice, to move my application today because the earliest that we could have a debate, as opposed to a statement, would be tomorrow.
§ Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas (Chelmsford)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. As many hon. Members will not even have heard the verdict in the Ponting case as yet, and as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has given an undertaking that there is to be a statement tomorrow, would it not be reasonable for hon. Members to read and reflect on the verdict before we have a discussion in the House?
§ Dr. David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. As the Leader of the House has raised this point of order, would it be in order to ask him which Minister will make the statement? Will it be the Prime Minister, in view of her responsibilities as head of the Civil Service? Can it be made clear to the Government that many of us feel that, as the Prime Minister has misled the House, she should make the statement?
§ Mr. Biffen
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The purpose of my point of order was to inform the House that a statement would be made at the earliest possible opportunity. I shall take account of what right hon. and hon. Members have said.