Motion made, and Question put,
That this House takes note of European Community Documents Nos. 4126/88, 7396/88 and the proposals described in the unnumbered Explanatory Memorandum submitted by the Department of Trade and Industry on 30th November 1988 and the Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum of 11th January 1989 on machine safety: and supports the Government's intention to agree to the adoption of this directive as a step towards the completion of the single market by reducing incipient non-tariff barriers to trade.—[Mr. Garel-Jones.]
§ The House proceeded to a Division—
§ Mr. Teddy Taylor (Southend, East) (seated and covered):
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This is probably the most ridiculous and irrelevant exercise in which I have ever engaged. I am about to express a view on something that has already been approved by the Council of Ministers, something that has already happened, making our views irrelevant and making the House look completely stupid. May I ask whether it is in order to have the vote before you have announced the decision on whether the amendment has been selected?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)
Order. I apologise to the hon. Gentleman. I understood that Mr. Speaker's decision not to select the amendment had been communicated to him. As for his other remarks, they are not a matter for the Chair, as I am sure he recognises; but doubtless they will have been heard.
§ Mr. Taylor
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I do not want to be silly, but may I appeal to you somehow to get the two sides together to go to the Procedure Committee? What the blazes is the point of hon. Members coming here to express an opinion on something that has already been agreed? Can we not at least accept that on this issue the sovereignty of the House has disappeared?
Tonight and on Thursday hon. Members are being asked to vote on something that has happened, and on which the views of the House of Commons are of no consequence whatever. Like other hon. Members, I came here to play a part in democracy. What is the point of asking hon. Members to vote for something that does not matter at all—to express an opinion on something that has already happened, and applies to us all? Surely the House of Commons must make some sense. We are here as democrats to make decisions on things that matter, but on Thursday we shall be discussing something on which, because it has already happened, our views are completely irrelevant.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I have considerable sympathy with the views that the hon. Gentleman has expressed, but these are not matters for the Chair. If the hon. Gentleman feels that the matter is appropriate for the Procedure Committee to consider, perhaps he ought to make a 952 submission to that Committee. As I said earlier, what he has said will doubtless have been heard. In any case, it will be on the record.
§ Mr. Cook (seated and covered)
Would you have the courtesy, Sir, to explain to the House why hon. Members must endure the inverse convention of sitting here with a hat on while you can answer points of order standing in the normal way, with your head bare? Is this not a means of making hon. Members look ridiculous, and deterring them from raising points of order during a Division?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Gentleman must riot hold me responsible for the conventions, traditions and Standing Orders of the House. That is a matter for the House. And when the hon. Gentleman talks about bald heads—well, with respect—
§ Mr. Cook
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I did not mean to imply that I held you responsible. I thought that perhaps you, from your vantage point of vastly greater experience than mine, might be able to explain the reasons for this particular requirement of the Standing Orders.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I would not dream of trying to explain to the House the reasons for our Standing Orders. If the hon. Gentleman was suggesting that on future occasions I should be appropriately covered, he might be prepared to have a whip-round for a wig for me.
§ The House having divided: Ayes 62, Noes 11.953
|Division No. 84]||[1.49 am|
|Amos, Alan||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Arbuthnot, James||Irvine, Michael|
|Ashby, David||Jack, Michael|
|Beith, A. J.||King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Knapman, Roger|
|Boswell, Tim||Knowles, Michael|
|Bowis, John||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Maclean, David|
|Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Burns, Simon||McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael|
|Carrington, Matthew||Moynihan, Hon Colin|
|Carttiss, Michael||Neubert, Michael|
|Chapman, Sydney||Norris, Steve|
|Chope, Christopher||Paice, James|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Cran, James||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||Shepherd, Cohn (Hereford)|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Durant, Tony||Stern, Michael|
|Favell, Tony||Summerson, Hugo|
|Fishburn, John Dudley||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Freeman, Roger||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Gill, Christopher||Waddington, Rt Hon David|
|Gregory, Conal||Wallace, James|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Harris, David||Wood, Timothy|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Mr. Kenneth Carlisle and|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Mr. John M. Taylor.|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Haynes, Frank|
|Barron, Kevin||McCartney, Ian|
|Battle, John||Meale, Alan|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)|
|Cohen, Harry||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Mr. Bob Cryer and|
|Dixon, Don||Mr. Dennis Skinner.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That this House takes note of European Community Documents Nos. 4126/88, 7396/88 and the proposals described in the unnumbered Explanatory Memorandum submitted by the Department of Trade and Industry on 30th November 1988 and the Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum of 11th January 1989 on machine safety; and supports the Government's intention to agree to the adoption of this directive as a step towards the completion of the single market by reducing incipient non-tariff barriers to trade.