HC Deb 17 November 1987 vol 122 cc1016-8
Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, concerning a matter of some urgency and importance. This afternoon, the divisional court ruled on the deportation of Frank Larsen, who was one of the four defendants in the Lambeth case, which came before the House in the form of points of order and a statement from the Attorney-General last month. At that time, he was ordered to be deported, and the learned judge sitting on that occasion said that some time should be given to Mr. Larsen in which to choose when he was to go. It now turns out that he is to be moved to the Queen's building at Heathrow at 8 am tomorrow and deported at 2 pm, which is before the House sits again.

The Home Secretary should be summoned to the House tonight to make a statement on why there is this unseemly haste in the deportation. Could it possibly be that Mr. Larsen has a number of matters in his knowledge and possession that would be somewhat damaging and dangerous if revealed? Could it be that someone is trying to obscure the fact that he was not prosecuted for forgery of certain documents, for example, or for being in receipt of certain classified information — for example, Operation Layout—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I cannot possibly answer questions such as that. What is the point of order for me, please?

Mr. Bermingham

My point of order is that, before the House sits again, someone is to be removed from this country in respect of whom a considerable number of important and relevant questions must be asked and about whom the Attorney-General made a statement last month. All I wish to do is to request you, Mr. Speaker, to ask the Home Secretary to come before the House and explain why Mr. Larsen is to be deported with such speed, the learned judge's comments notwithstanding.

Mr. Speaker

This is not a matter for me. Undoubtedly the Government Front Bench will have heard what has been said.

Mr. Peter Archer (Warley, West)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The House has a problem of the sort that you may think occurs from time to time. The House can express a view or even ask a question only if the process is initiated in some way. For example, it can be initiated by a ministerial statement. If that does not happen, it is normally open to hon. Members to initiate the process in some other way.

In this case the vital decision will be taken tomorrow and the House will have no opportunity to initiate the process until the horse has escaped. You may think, Mr. Speaker, that that is likely to bring the House into disrepute. Normally the House would not seek to review an executive decision by the Home Secretary, but here there is some reason or some allegation that what is in issue is not the public interest, but the political interest of the Government. Therefore, you may think that the House is in a difficulty, and I respectfully invite you to advise the House on how it can proceed.

Mr. Speaker

The only advice that I can give the House is that the Leader of the House is present and will have heard these comments. I cannot answer this question, but I can tell the House that we now have the timed business of a prayer and that we should get on with it. The debate on the prayer must end at 11.30, and these points of order take time from the debate.

Mr. Richard Caborn (Sheffield, Central)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you well know, you and I have had correspondence on this issue about this person, and you were kind enough to call me at Prime Minister's Question Time when the matter was raised. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

I wish that the hon. Gentleman had not said that.

Mr. Caborn

A number of court cases are now taking place and the person who is to be deported, or who may be deported, before the House meets again is a major actor on that stage. Many serious questions have been raised and we are asking for your guidance about how we can prevail upon the Executive not to deport this person until the issue can be debated, because there are major political implications in the case.

Mr. Speaker

Again, the only advice that I can give the hon. Gentleman is what I have already said. It is a matter not for me but for the Government, who will undoubtedly have heard what has been said.

Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Since the Leader of the House is present and heard your earlier comments, perhaps he will respond to the anxiety of my hon. Friend and say whether between now and 11.30 he will consult the Home Secretary to see whether a statement may be made.

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. and learned Gentleman's comment will undoubtedly have been heard. This is a matter to be discussed through the usual channels, if at all. We should now get on with the prayer.