§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I put to you on Monday that on the Third Reading of the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Bill an error of procedure occured. Will you confirm that you have written to me and that you confirm that that error occurred, but that you feel that no further action is necessary on this occasion? Will you also confirm that you have taken steps to ensure that failure to signify the Queen's consent on a Third Reading will not happen in future?
§ Mr. Speaker
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me the opportunity to refer to the matter. The hon. Gentleman was correct when he suggested to me on Monday that the House should have been informed that the Queen's consent had been obtained to the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Bill. I have satisfied myself that the Queen's consent had, in fact, been properly obtained. This was done as long ago as June of last year. The failure lay in not communicating that consent to the House. In these circumstances I consider that the proper course is to follow a precedent of 1971 and not to impede the progress of the Bill to another place. Had there been a failure to obtain the Queen's consent, the precedent of 1852, referred to by the hon. Gentleman, would have been appropriate and proceedings on the Third Reading would have been null and void. I have asked for steps to be taken to avoid an oversight of this kind occurring again.