HC Deb 14 February 1995 vol 254 cc797-9 3.30 pm
Dr. John Cunningham (Copeland)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Have you received a request from the President of the Board of Trade to make a statement to the House about policy on the future ownership and control of the regional electricity companies? Bearing in mind the fact that he accepted in the House that some important questions remain to be answered in that area of policy, and also the public interest, as well as the interests of consumers and employees in regional electricity companies, should not the President of the Board of Trade make such an important statement of policy in the House, rather than simply issuing a press release from his Department?

Madam Speaker

I have not been informed so far today that any Minister wants to make a statement to the House, on that or any other matter.

Mr. Patrick Nicholls (Teignbridge)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Have you received any request from the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) to make a personal statement about the shambles in the House of Commons last night, on the basis that a leaked exchange of notes between Liberal Members of Parliament is not sufficient explanation for what occurred?

Madam Speaker

I have not had any note from the hon. and learned Member, but I was in the Chair last night, and I very much resent the suggestion that there was a shambles in the House. There is never a shambles when I am in the Chair, and the hon. Gentleman should be very careful.

Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. During the Christmas recess, the Prime Minister made an unwarranted and unexpected attack on Wales and on my own party. During each Prime Minister's Question Time since then, I have tried to catch your eye so that I could put our viewpoint on that matter to the Prime Minister and elicit clarification from him. If it is impossible for members of my party to question the Prime Minister on the Floor of this House for two months, how on earth will democracy work as far as Wales is concerned? Is not that another argument for us to have our own Parliament, as this one cannot deliver us democracy?

Madam Speaker

I am not certain whether any members of the hon. Gentleman's party have tabled questions to the Prime Minister, but I will check on that. If the hon. Gentleman not only looks at the Order Paper but reads it, he will realise that the opportunities to call any of them—or, indeed, any Opposition Member—during the past few weeks have been very limited, simply because of the way in which the Order Paper is laid out.

In addition to those hon. Members who have a question down, I seek to call those who have not yet asked the Prime Minister a question during this Session. Of course, I have the hon. Gentleman in mind, and will do my best to ensure that he is able to put his question to the Prime Minister as soon as possible. He will understand the limitations on the Chair during Prime Minister's Question Time.

Mr. Derek Enright (Hemsworth)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I learn from this morning's The Independent that the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Mr. Wardle) made a particular decision about the entry of the Al-Fayed brothers, and was subsequently asked to reconsider it by the Home Secretary. Is that a matter for the Committee of Privileges?

Madam Speaker

If the hon. Gentleman believes that it might be, he should send a written submission to me, and I will look very carefully at the way that it was done.

Mr. Denis MacShane (Rotherham)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Are you aware that, as we meet at this time, Mr. Gianfranco Fini, leader of the Italian fascists, is being greeted in the House by Conservative Members—the Mr. Fini about whom early-day motion 429 has been tabled, signed by 112 hon. Members, condemning his fascism, his anti-semitism and his connection with Mussolini? Is it in order, in the anniversary year of the defeat of fascism, for hon. Members to invite Mr. Mussolini's political descendant to visit the House?

Madam Speaker

It is up to individual Members to issue invitations to outsiders to address private meetings in the House. Some people, of course, may find such invitations unpalatable and even offensive, but it would be invidious for me, as Speaker, to be set up as an arbiter of who can and who cannot be invited into the House. It is for Members individually to take the responsibility upon themselves, and to think very carefully before they issue their invitations.