HC Deb 24 January 1985 vol 71 c1147 4.20 pm
Mr. Dave Nellist (Coventry, South-East)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

Is it connected with Question Time?

Mr. Nellist

Yes, Mr. Speaker. It is connected with Question Time.

Given your well-observed tolerance during the past 40 minutes in allowing questions to the Leader of the House about next week's business—this may or may not be some of the coded language to which reference was made a couple of days ago—and given your role as protector and guardian of the traditions and reputations of this Chamber, do you recall during your time as Speaker or before whether there has been any other subject or dispute in recent decades for which no time for debate was granted by the Government of the day?

Mr. Speaker

I hope that there is no code in my reply to the hon. Member. I allowed business questions to run on because I believe that is valuable Back-Bench time. Wherever possible, I allow Back Benchers who wish to put a question to the Leader of the House to do so.

While on my feet, may I make one further comment? The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) said earlier that 18 applications had been made for debate under Standing Order No. 10. The right hon. Gentleman will know that one of those applications was, in fact, granted by me.

I think the whole House understands that I am tied by the provisions of Standing Order No. 10. Perhaps that is not so widely understood outside the Chamber. The truth of the matter is, as has been mentioned several times this afternoon, that I do not control Government business. Business is determined through the usual channels. There is a Opposition day virtually every week. In granting or turning down applications made under Standing Order No. 10, I am bound to have regard to other opportunities in the House to raise these matters. I must say to the House that I do not take all that kindly to the pressure under which I have been put recently.