HC Deb 20 July 1994 vol 247 cc317-8 3.30 pm
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Now that you have had a chance to look at yesterday's Hansard, does it occur to you that it was just a little bit presumptuous of the Prime Minister to assume that permission to ask the private notice questions which he recommended to all of us would necessarily be granted by you? On the basis of the Prime Minister's attitude, have you, by chance, had a request from him to make a statement to satisfy us in relation to Mr. Santer's statement yesterday in Strasbourg?

Madam Speaker

No, I have had no information from any members of the Government, including the Prime Minister, that they seek to make a statement. As the hon. Gentleman is well aware, although I am often tempted by the questions put to me about private notice questions, I do not discuss them, or my decisions about them, across the Floor of the House.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) made a suggestion to the Government at Question Time about the possibility of keeping the Post Office together rather than splitting it up. I seek your guidance, Madam Speaker. The Under-Secretary of State for Technology roundly rejected that suggestion in spite of the fact that the President of the Board of Trade had said that a consultation process was in hand. The House is rising tomorrow—

Madam Speaker

Order. I do not want an argument. I am not involved in political argument. I simply want a procedural point to be put to me.

Mr. Bruce

The point is that the House will rise tomorrow and will not meet again before the consultation process has been concluded. What avenues are available to hon. Members to ensure that we get guidance from the President of the Board of Trade about which Minister is in charge of the consultation?

Madam Speaker

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Order Paper, which shows that we are due to have a three-hour motion on the Adjournment which, if I am allowed to, I shall get to fairly shortly.

Mr. David Shaw (Dover)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Looking at the Order Paper for today, I see that the business of the day has been changed as a result of an hon. Member's action yesterday. In consequence, Back-Benchers' time in the Adjournment debates under the Consolidated Fund Bill debate will be limited and it may not be possible, because my debate is No. 16—[Interruption.] It has been changed, I understand, to No. 15 as a result of the withdrawal of a debate by an hon. Member. However, it may not be possible for the House to discuss the very important matter of saving the Royal Marines school of music in Deal before the recess. Could we not have some arrangement whereby Back Benchers' matters are taken into account better than they have been?

Madam Speaker

Over the past few weeks, I have heard the hon. Gentleman raise on many occasions the matter to which he refers. I am sure that his constituents are delighted by the methods he uses to bring the matter to the House's attention.