§ Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the need for an urgent review of arrangements for Government financial support of Opposition parties.The reason for putting this case at this time is that we have a unique Opposition, with a unique Leader of the Opposition. This is a gravely important matter. I believe that there is no previous experience of a Privy Councillor involving himself with a lawyer in opposition to the Crown in a court case in a foreign country on issues relating to national security.
In considering the level of financial support to award to this Opposition, I believe that there are a number of specific issues that should be raised. The Leader of the Opposition has said, in a letter to you, Mr. Speaker, that his office has been involved in several phone calls to Mr. Turnbull in Australia. The sequence was initiated from Mr. Turnbull's office by Mr. Leigh, who I understand is a close acquaintance of the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition spoke to Mr. Turnbull. Subsequently, there were two phone calls from Mr. Charles Clarke, of the Leader of the Opposition's office, to Mr. Turnbull. This was followed by five phone calls from Mr. Turnbull to the Leader of the Opposition's office.
If one is to assume, charitably, that Mr. Clarke was an innocent seeker after the truth in ringing the Leader of the Opposition's office—a truth, moreover, that was available to the Leader of the Opposition's office by other means—what was the role of Mr. Turnbull in ringing up the Leader of the Opposition? What were the details of that conversation? Did Mr. Turnbull ask advice of the Leader of the Opposition? Did the Leader of the Opposition's office offer advice to Mr. Turnbull? What advice, if any, was given to the Leader of the Opposition by this lawyer fighting the Crown in Australia? What collusion has there been?
Allegations have also been made which the debate could clear up. Have members of the Leader of the Opposition's office been in Australia over the last few weeks, and what have they been doing? We on this side of the House are disinclined to accept allegations against those who are unable to defend themselves. A debate on the financial support of Opposition parties would give the Leader of the Opposition, who is currently undermining the United Kingdom's defence policy in the United States, a chance to explain whether he has also been undermining our security policy in Australia.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the need for an urgent review of arrangements for Government financial support of Opposition parties.I have listened with care to what the hon. Member has said, but I regret that I do not consider the matter that he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 20 and I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.