HC Deb 28 April 1992 vol 207 cc28-38
Madam Speaker

I must now call upon the Members of the House, according to the usual custom, to take the Oath of Allegiance at the Table of the House, but first I must do so myself.

Thereupon MADAM SPEAKER first, alone, standing upon the upper step of the Chair, took and subscribed the Oath.

Madam Speaker

It may be for the convenience of the House if I indicate my intentions with regard to the taking of the Oath by right hon. and hon. Members. I propose to call, first, the Father of the House; then the Government Front Bench; then the Opposition Front Bench; then all Privy Councillors and former Ministers not included in those two groups, wherever they may be seated. Thereafter, I shall call 20 hon. Members from each side.

I intend to continue in the Chair until about half past 4. Then I shall suspend the sitting until half past 5. I shall return, of course, at half past 5, and again at 6 for the last time. I hope that this announcement of these arrangements will be of some assistance to hon. Members if they have something which they might wish to do in the meantime. A similar procedure will apply tomorrow and on Thursday. The House will again sit at half past 2 o'clock, and I have it in mind to finish not later than half past 5 tomorrow and half past 4 on Thursday. I understand that it will also be convenient to meet again for swearing in on Tuesday next, when I shall be in the Chair from 2.30 onwards.

I hope that that announcement enables all hon. Members to make their arrangements accordingly.

The following Members took and subscribed the Oath, or made and subscribed the Affirmation required by law:

Mr. Joe Ashton (Bassetlaw)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. This is developing into something like a rugby scrum. Could you point out to hon. Members that you said that you would call 20 Members from each side of the House, one after another? That would prevent—

Madam Speaker

Order. Perhaps some hon. Members were not in the Chamber when I made my announcement. I said that, after the Father of the House, I would call the Government Front Bench, the Opposition Front Bench, Privy Councillors from both sides of the House and former Ministers. I shall then call Back Benchers from both sides of the House.

I hope that there will be no rush. I have given ample time for the taking of the Oath, so let us proceed in an orderly manner.

Madam Speaker

It would be enormously helpful if the Whips, who know the procedure today, would help with the crowd.

Madam Speaker

Order. I have been very generous with time. I did say that I would leave the Chair at 4.30 pm. I wanted to accommodate hon. Members by being in the Chair to allow them to take the Oath. However, I fear that the numbers of hon. Members wishing to do so is growing. I must suspend at 4.45 pm. and I shall leave the Chair at precisely that time. Hon. Members can now make their own dispensations.

Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Arbuthnot.]

Adjourned accordingly at twenty minutes past Six o'clock.