HC Deb 04 April 1990 vol 170 c1215 4.26 pm
Mr. George Foulkes (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you know, the shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman), has already complained about the delay in the publication of the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill. A few seconds ago the Bill was presented to the House. I was told by the Vote Office a few minutes ago that we will still not be able to get copies of the Bill at the Vote Office until after 5 o'clock. That is quite ridiculous, and it is inhibiting the work of the House that we did not get the Bill yesterday. The Bill was printed yesterday. It has been presented to the House and it is not available. You should protect the interests of Opposition Members and of Back Benchers on both sides of the House in this matter, Mr. Speaker, and ensure that the Bill is available immediately.

Mr. Speaker

I shall consider that matter. It is for the Minister responsible to ensure that copies of the Bill are available. I am sure that the hon. Member's voice will have been heard—at least, I hope so.

Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have just given a First Reading to the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Bill. You may not know officially, but the House knows that the Second Reading is timed for Thursday 19 April. In other words, there will be a lapse of only two parliamentary days between now and then. Is it in order that such an important Bill should be provided with such little time for consideration between First and Second Reading?

Mr. Speaker

It is certainly in order. Whether the time available for hon. Members to study the Bill is sufficient is a matter for hon. Members to take up with the Government. It is not a matter for me. As was said earlier, it is perfectly true that two sitting days will elapse, but there are other days in the recess when hon. Members may have the opportunity to study the Bill.