HC Deb 17 October 1990 vol 177 cc1212-3 3.34 pm
Mr. Robert G. Hughes (Harrow, West)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In today's vote bundle, my name appears in error against various early-day motions, including early-day motion 1398. I have received an apology from the Table Office. It intends to include a correction in tomorrow's corrigenda. My concern, and what I believe is a matter for you, is that early-day motions are read by people outside the House and are taken to be an accurate reflection of the views of those hon. Members who sign them. I am most concerned that my name should have been added to those motions. I very much hope that something can be done to improve the mechanism. I am particularly concerned about early-day motion 1398, because it is about Israel and the middle east. I believe that those who signed that early-day motion did so either because they are naive or because they are anti-semitic.

Mr. Speaker

I regret the mistake that was made. It may have arisen because of the number of hon. Members who bear the same name. However, the hon. Gentleman has put the matter right and that is probably the best way to deal with it.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

On this point, and related matters, Mr. Speaker, although I know that you are not responsible for statements, you will know that the Foreign Secretary's visit to the middle east has produced a good deal of controversy on both sides of the House. I am wondering whether there is any way in which hon. Members can ensure that, when the Foreign Secretary returns to this country, there will be a statement. There is deep concern over what is happening in the middle east. Although the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) made derogatory references to a motion which I have not myself signed, that does not alter the fact that there is deep concern in the House over the killing of the 21 Palestinians.

Mr. Speaker

I share the hon. Gentleman's concern about that, as I think the whole House does, but he will have heard the Leader of the House's statement on Monday that he will take this matter into consideration.

Mr. Nicholas Soames (Crawley)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry to prolong this, but I wonder whether you could clarify the exact situation relating to Standing Order No. 20. The hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) asked for your leave to adjourn the House on a matter which for his constituency is, without a shadow of doubt, of cardinal and critical importance. In circumstances such as that, which affect Birkenhead and which, in other circumstances, might affect my own constituency, will you clarify for me exactly what scale and magnitude of disaster there has to be before an Adjournment debate can be granted on what is, for an ordinary Member of Parliament, a really desperate state of affairs?

Mr. Speaker

It is a friendly act by the hon. Member, but he will have heard me say that I am enjoined not to give my reasons to the House. However, I imagine that there are those outside the House who will be as interested as the hon. Member in what the criteria are. I have to take into consideration other opportunities that may arise and whether the matter is so urgent that it should take precedence over the business set down for today or tomorrow. These are very difficult decisions for the Chair. I hope that, as I said to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field), the matter will be raised on another occasion.