HC Deb 04 July 1995 vol 263 cc143-4 3.30 pm
Mr. Ray Whitney (Wycombe)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. On a number of occasions in recent months you have expressed your view on the failure of hon. Members to advise other colleagues of visits to their constituencies. I have to report that, on Sunday 2 July, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) visited High Wycombe. I learned about the visit a few days before it took place, but the hon. Gentleman did not seek to advise me.

That gross breach of parliamentary convention and courtesy by the hon. Member for Hillhead was compounded by the fact that he sought to address members of the Pakistan and Kashmiri community in High Wycombe on the subject of Kashmir, playing on their understandable concern about the desire for self-determination of the people of Kashmir—a subject on which I have collaborated and worked with them for the 17 years that I have been a Member of Parliament.

In his speech, which descended to the lowest level of political muck-raking, the hon. Member for Hillhead seemed to display total ignorance of the record of policies of the Labour party on Kashmir. I seek your guidance, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker

The only matter that concerns me as a point of order is the fact that an hon. Member did not inform the hon. Gentleman that he was in his constituency. The House well knows my views on this matter. I have made them known many times. I have asked Members to comply, but as the hon. Gentleman and the House know, I have no authority to enforce these matters. It is simply a matter of courtesy that I would like to be observed.

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. May I make it plain on behalf of myself and certain of my colleagues that we do not mind at all who comes to our constituencies? We do not require notice. I do not want anyone to write to me to tell me that they are coming to my constituency; any hon. Member of any political persuasion is welcome. We find it difficult to understand why Conservative Members are increasingly sensitive to the fact that people come to their constituencies, when it is a free country in free world, and they should simply grow up.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)


Madam Speaker

I take it that it does not relate to the previous point of order.

Mr. Winnick

indicated dissent.

Madam Speaker

No—in that case, I must hear it.

Mr. Winnick

As you know, Madam Speaker, the decision is being taken today as to who is to be the Prime Minister in this Parliament. My point of order is simply that, as the media will be notified immediately a decision is reached, would it not be courteous for the House to be notified, too? Is it not another case where the media are notified, but we are not? We get our information from the press or television.

I put it to you, Madam Speaker, that the Leader of the House should make arrangements now, so that, when the result of the ballot is known, whether or not there is to be a second ballot—and that is inconclusive today—the House should be notified officially. I hope that arrangements will be made accordingly.

Madam Speaker

That is a matter not for me but for the usual channels. The job of the Speaker is to see that our work and our Order Paper continue to be dealt with in the Chamber. The matter that the hon. Gentleman has raised is a matter for the usual channels, if they wish a statement to be made. I prefer to see that our business goes on. Hon. Members who wish to know the result need only take a few strides out of the Chamber and they will soon be told.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Blackpool, South)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. When I returned to the House across Westminster bridge this afternoon, I was disturbed to note that long telephoto lenses, presumably belonging to members of the paparazzi, have been installed and are trained on the whole of the Terrace, including your private section of the Terrace. Is it within your powers, or within those of the Officers of the House, to do as members of the Metropolitan police do when they protect access to the House on the public highway, and to take steps to prevent that unwarranted intrusion within the precincts of the House?

Madam Speaker

I cannot accept that it is an unwarranted intrusion if individuals, whether private persons or people from the press, wish to take photographs of the Terrace. There is nothing that we can do about it. I shall certainly not be doing anything of which I would be ashamed if photographs were taken of me. Now can we get on with our business?