HC Deb 03 May 1985 vol 78 cc574-93

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

1.2 pm

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Hon. Members who have been deluged with letters on this subject from their constituents—putting both sides of the argument—thought in good faith that the Government would come forward with legislation on this important matter. Before we begin consideration of the Bill, could we hear a word from the Minister about the precise intentions of the Government——

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)

Order. That is not a point of order. It would be as well to give the Minister an opportunity to refer to these matters during the debate.

Mr. Dalyell

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I do not want to pursue this, but it has a bearing on the whole matter. Considering how seriously this matter is regarded by many thousands of people in Scotland and elsewhere, we thought that at least we would have a statement from the Minister or from the Scottish Office——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is an experienced Member of Parliament. He knows as well as I do that this matter is not for the Chair but for Ministers. I am not responsible for ministerial statements.

We come to amendment No. 2, with which we will discuss——

Mr. Tony Blair (Sedgefield)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must not rise when I am on my feet.

The first amendment to be called is No. 2, with which it will be convenient for the House to discuss amendments

Nos. 3, 4, 48 and 49.

Mr. Blair

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I hope that this is an appropriate moment to raise a point of order about a serious matter concerning the rights and privileges of Members of Parliament and, indeed, the record of this House. I gave notice that I would raise this matter——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman rightly reminded me that he gave notice of his intention to raise a point of order. He will recall that I told him that I would deal with that matter at half-past two. I see no reason to revise the opinion that I voiced privately to him. The hon. Gentleman must raise his point of order at half-past two or at the conclusion of business, and I shall listen

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