§ Order read for resuming adjourned debate on consideration.
§ Debate to be resumed on Monday 16 May.
§ Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Following the reply by the Leader of the House during yesterday's business questions, and given that the Abortion Act 1967 was enacted at the seventh attempt only when the Government of the day gave time to enable it to make progress, I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman, through you, Sir, can tell the House whether he has been able to consider further the early-day motion which has been signed by 113 hon. Members and the representations which he has received from thousands of people that time should be provided to decide this important matter, which is the concern of millions of people.
§ Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If it is unparliamentary and out of order for an hon. Member to accuse another hon. Member of being a liar or a hypocrite, surely it is unparliamentary and out of order for an hon. Member to accuse another hon. Member of being in support of the murdering of babies. That charge was made earlier today by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith), who accused those who had taken part in the debate on new clause 1 and the—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)
Order. The hon. Member is going back to something that apparently took place much earlier in the day. We cannot return to that point at the present time.
§ Mr. Madden
Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If the Hansard report bears out the fact that the hon. Member for Rochdale accused hon. Members who had participated in the debate on new clause 1 of being in support of the murdering of babies, will you ask Mr. Speaker to request the hon. Member for Rochdale to withdraw what many of us who took part in that debate regard as a grossly offensive and unparliamentary remark? Will you ask Mr. Speaker to ask the hon. Member for Rochdale to withdraw that remark, which was made specifically against a group of hon. Members who had taken part in the debate? I have reason to believe that the occupant of the Chair at that time did not hear the remark. I ask you, Sir, to look at the Hansard record. If the allegation is reported there, will you ask Mr. Speaker on Monday to ask the hon. Member for Rochdale to withdraw the remark? The hon. Gentleman has left the Chamber and I have reason to believe that he is prepared to withdraw it if requested.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
We shall all be able to check the Hansard report. I shall of course draw the hon. Member's comments to the attention of Mr. Speaker.
§ Sir Bernard Braine (Castle Point)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Before the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) raised his point of order, the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) addressed a question through you to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, who made no immediate response. That may well have been because the hon. Member for Bradford, 651 West wished, quite properly, to raise a point of order. We have had no answer from my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.
Last Friday, and again in a sense today—I make no comment on today's debate—we have seen a determined attempt by a minority to frustrate the progress of a Bill which had a substantial majority on Second Reading, passed through the Committee stage and completed its Report stage, save for the votes at the end. May I ask the Leader of the House, through you, Sir, whether he will comment on the way in which private Members' rights are being abused and the will of the majority is being made a mockery? Will he do something about it?
§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Wakeham)
Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I should like to reconfirm that it is not the Government's practice to grant time for any individual private Member's Bill, however important the issues with which it deals. As I said yesterday, we believe that it would be a very grave step to intervene in the process of private Members' Bills. However, my right hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point (Sir B. Braine) and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton), the promoter of the Bill, have asked me to consider other ways in which hon. Members could consider the matter. I understand their point and will of course bear it in mind. As the Leader of the House, I am always happy to see them, or any other hon. Member, to discuss the matter.
§ Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)
Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You have been in the Chair for much of today. To prevent repetition in answering accusations of parliamentary mugging, foul play and cheating, will you confirm that the two Bills debated today have been debated absolutely properly and in full conformity with the Standing Orders and that no hon. Member has been called out of order? As Mr. Speaker has said, any accusation by the media of parliamentary mugging would be exaggerated and very much out of place.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. Let me deal with the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Bradford, South. It is a simple answer to a simple question: the hon. Gentleman is correct.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I must be fair to hon. Members who have other Bills on the Order Paper. I intend to take them now.