HC Deb 22 June 1989 vol 155 cc505-6 4.15 pm
Mr. Ken Maginnis (Fermanagh and South Tyrone)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should be grateful for your guidance. Following the deliberately evasive answer given by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to my question during Question Time, I should have liked to give notice that I would seek to raise an Adjournment debate at the earliest possible moment. Is it in order for me to give such notice now?

Mr. Speaker

I note what the hon. Gentleman says.

Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not true that informal contacts are a very important part of the political process and that, as such, they should be treated with utter confidentiality? Is there any possibility of the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) being reminded that the very distasteful way that he related that which was confidential at a dinner hosted by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has harmed the political process? Is it not the duty of the House to protect not just what happens on the Floor of the House, but those informal contacts and discussions that are so essential to our lives as politicians?

Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is an extension of Question Time, when we had a long run on the question—

Rev. Ian Paisley

It is to the point.

Mr. Speaker

Order. No. I regret that because of that long run we did not get very far down the Order Paper. There are to be two very important debates on Northern Ireland in just a few moments.