HC Deb 30 October 1990 vol 178 cc891-2

Mr. Michael Latham presented a Bill to abolish the General Synod of the Church of England, on a date to be appointed; to provide for the creation of a Church of England Assembly, consisting of a House of all Diocesan, Suffragan and Assistant Bishops, and a joint House of Clergy and Laity, to be directly elected by all clergy and lay persons on parochial electoral rolls; to empower the Assembly to decide on all appropriate matters, except those within the responsibilities of the Church Commissioners, without further reference to Parliament; to provide for the election of new Bishops by members of the House of Bishops, saving the right of final approval of the chosen candidate by the Crown; to abolish the Ecclesiastical Committee; to abolish the automatic places of Bishops in the House of Lords; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Thursday 1 November and to be printed. [Bill 209.]

Mr. Roger Knapman (Stroud)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is my understanding correct that you have laid some stress on hon. Members being called on subjects in which they have some specialist interest? Is there any point in me being a vice-chairman of the European Affairs Committee when I am never called to ask a question at times such as this? Do you intend to disfranchise me or——

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must resume his seat. I am not having that. I shall send him his computer printout.

Mr. Richard Holt (Langbaurgh)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have given you notice that I would raise again today a point that I raised yesterday about the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short). I note that she was in her place until I rose, but that she has now left the Chamber. I have also given the hon. Lady notice that I would raise this matter. Now that you have Hansard in front of you, Mr. Speaker, and can read what it says, you will note that on several occasions—in fact, on no fewer than 11—I clearly asked the hon. Member for Ladywood to withdraw the allegations that she had made against my hon. Friends.

When I raised that later, after you had had the opportunity to read part of Hansard—although not the part to which you took exception—no opportunity was afforded to the hon. Lady finally, on a 12th occasion to note what she had said and realise the offence in the remark that she had made. We have just talked for two hours about the sovereignty of the House. If it means anything, it should also mean the dignity of the Chair and respect for it. For that reason, I ask you to instruct the hon. Lady to return to the House and apologise in accordance with your wishes.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Yesterday's proceedings brought no credit upon the House or upon the hon. Lady. I received the extract from Hansard containing the allegation made against the hon. Member for Harlow (Mr. Hayes). Once the matter had been resolved—in the end it was resolved almost as a matter of farce—I took the view that that was the time to leave it where it was. I have no authority to deal with it again today.