HC Deb 15 May 1997 vol 294 c176 3.37 pm
Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Having had the opportunity of reading your statement in the Official Report, I am submitting a memorandum to you on the possible desirability of referring the matter to the Standards and Privileges Committee and I should be grateful if you would consider it and perhaps make a statement at an appropriate moment.

Madam Speaker

I shall certainly look at it when it comes into my Office.

Sir Peter Emery (East Devon)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I am sorry to say that I consider the answer from the Leader of the House to the question about Prime Minister's questions to be entirely inadequate. I shall raise the matter in an Adjournment debate at the earliest possible opportunity.

Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Following the exchanges in business questions this afternoon, I am greatly concerned that there appears to have been some tutoring of the official Opposition as to what question to ask the Leader of the House. The right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire (Dr. Mawhinney) has clearly been handing round questions because Opposition Members obviously do not have the wit to think of any of their own. I have a serious question for you, Madam Speaker. If hon. Members ask questions of a repetitive nature, surely you have the authority to hold them to account and stop them from doing so. I hope that you will consider doing that in future.

Madam Speaker

The hon. Gentleman is quite correct. At times this afternoon, questions became tedious and repetitive, and I have a shrewd idea about what was going on. I am rather tolerant, and it was the first time that the Leader of the House had been at the Dispatch Box, so I thought I would give her a good innings, but I shall watch the matter in future.

Mr. Bernard Jenkin (North Essex)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. May I ask you to reflect on the manner in which hon. Members take the oath and the fact that, while we respect republican sentiments among Labour Members, it is possible that the manner in which hon. Members take the oath could bring the House into disrepute? May I ask you to make a statement on the subject?

Madam Speaker

I do not think that a statement is necessary. It may be some years before many hon. Members have to take the oath again, but when new Members come in at a by-election, I shall bear in mind what the hon. Member has said and what I know is the feeling of the House. I shall watch hon. Members very carefully on taking the oath, the hon. Gentleman can be assured of that.