HC Deb 19 June 1997 vol 296 c467

4.5 pm

Mr. Nigel Waterson (Eastbourne)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I have given you and the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Baker) notice of this matter. Last week, I was surprised to open my local paper in Eastbourne to discover that the hon. Gentleman, with my defeated Liberal Democrat opponent at the recent election, had presented a petition, signed by my constituents, about my local hospital to the Department of Health.

I am sure that you would agree, Madam Speaker, that, at the very least, that is a gross departure from the normal courtesies of the House, and may even breach parliamentary protocol. However, given the fact that the hon. Gentleman is a new Member, you may wish simply to clarify the position for all our benefit, and perhaps point out to him, as a new Member, the way in which we do things in the House.

Madam Speaker

I am delighted to clarify the position, and to inform the hon. Gentleman and the House that it is not a point of order or a matter for me.

Mr. Bernard Jenkin (North Essex)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Will you look into the question whether the powers of the House are going to be transferred by royal prerogative to European Community institutions, rather than the Amsterdam treaty being ratified with the authority of a parliamentary Act of Parliament, because whether that would be legal and whether it would be your duty to intervene in the process would be very serious questions to raise?

Madam Speaker

As the hon. Gentleman is aware, that is a matter for the Leader of the House and for the usual channels, but I assure him and the House that I shall not fail in my duty in that respect, and that I will consider the matter to satisfy my own interest, curiosity and conscience.

Mr. John M. Taylor (Solihull)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. By her answer regarding fireworks and this morning's government by press conference, the Leader of the House implied that firework safety is trivial. There cannot be one hon. Member whose constituents think that.

Madam Speaker

That is not a point of order. I can see the anger and frustration that is now rising in the House, and I am going to move on to the next business.