HC Deb 18 April 1994 vol 241 c657 4.27 pm
Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. This statement has run for nearly an hour, showing that there is widespread interest in and concern about the terrible events in Bosnia. You well know that you have said in the past that, when applications are made for an emergency debate, you are highly unlikely to consider them unless there has been a specific change of Government policy.

The horrors of Bosnia continue day by day, and the Government are clearly unwilling to provide a debate in their time which would give critics of Government policy time to expand on our arguments and a chance to answer the challenges that have been made to us during questions on this statement.

If the Government on Thursday do not announce a debate on Bosnia next week, would you be prepared to accept an application under Standing Orders for an emergency debate, to allow the Government to explain their policies on Bosnia, and to give critics of Government policy time to advance our arguments?

Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire, South)

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. I believe that the hon. Member for Bradford, West has made an important point. People outside do not understand why this grave international crisis is not properly debated in this House. In the whole of the two and a half years or more since the Serbian aggression began in Croatia, we have had a handful of debates, and most of those were not exclusively on the Yugoslav situation.

Therefore, may I ask you, Madam Speaker, to consider most sympathetically the point of order by the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden): that, if a debate is not announced on Thursday, you might be minded to consider its importance next week?

Madam Speaker

I never divulge my thinking in advance. The matter is rather hypothetical, and the House will have to leave it to me. I have clearly heard what hon. Members on both sides have had to say about the matter.

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