§ Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am not by nature a whinger, because one has to take the rough with the smooth in this place, but during Prime Minister's Question Time you ruled me out of order when I was asking a question because you said, "It has got to be a matter for which she has responsibility." The question before mine was from the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Marshall) and he referred to the Labour party's defence policy. Where is the Prime Minister's responsibility concerning the Labour party's defence policy?
I was asking a question that involved the welfare of the Prime Minister's son and her future grandchild. I cannot see that there could be any other matter more closely within the Prime Minister's purview and area of responsibility than the welfare of her son and her grandchild. I therefore think, Mr. Speaker, that on this occasion you grossly overreacted, because you were seeking to defend the Prime Minister when there was no need for you to do so. I had mentioned to your secretary—because I thought that you might be a bit sensitive about this—that it would be a gentle question, and it was.
During business questions, the Leader of the House twice referred to the mother of my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours). You, Mr. Speaker, did not say at any stage that that had nothing to do with the Leader of the House. What responsibility has the Leader of the House for the mother of my hon. Friend the Member for Workington? That is the last time that I shall try the kid-glove approach.
§ Mr. Speaker
If the hon. Gentleman looks at Hansard tomorrow, he will see that I said that the matter referred to had to be part of the Prime Minister's parliamentary responsibilities. If a Conservative Member had put a question of that kind about the Leader of the Opposition, there would have been uproar. When we are dealing with the Prime Minister's parliamentary responsibilities, there is no reason for hon. Members to introduce family relationships.
§ Mr. Doug Hoyle (Warrington, North)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I always abide by your rulings, but it appeared that you applied one rule to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) and another to the Leader of the House. Surely, if the Leader of the House refers to the mother of my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours), he should he ruled out of order.
§ Mr. Speaker
Those are two entirely different things. It is a question of the context in which the question was put and the answer was given.
§ Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) has a point.
This is a matter directly for you, Mr. Speaker. I do not know whether you have noticed that in today's newspapers there is a report that the Italian Republican party, which I believe is a very Right-wing party, has suggested that it will be calling upon Liberals, or Social Democrats, or whatever they call themselves nowadays, to stand in Italy. That raises an interesting question for you. We had a long discussion about this the other day. What will be the position if they get an invitation to stand on behalf of the Italian party In Europe, in the Common Market or in Italy itself? Will the Chiltern Hundreds apply or the Manor of Northstead? Will we have to get out "Erskine May"? Will there have to be a new copy printed? This may lead to some very interesting developments. Will they get the Short money? Can they serve in both Parliaments? I could go on, but I know that we are very busy people. What is the answer?
§ Mr. Speaker
We are indeed very busy people. I think that the answer is for the hon. Gentleman to discuss this with me in private. I am sure that with his background of experience he will be able to give me some useful advice.