HC Deb 27 July 1998 vol 317 c54 5.40 pm
Dr. Evan Harris (Oxford, West and Abingdon)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As an Opposition Back Bencher, I seek your advice on my own behalf and that of other Back Benchers who are co-sponsors of the age of consent amendment which was defeated in another place.

We understand that the business is now in the hands of the Government and the Home Secretary, but surely, as Opposition Members made a political stand and co-sponsored the amendment, we should be entitled to be consulted on the fate of the measure. This matter is of great concern to us, and I should like your advice, to us or to the Government, on whether it is appropriate that we were not consulted about what happened, and whether it is appropriate that the first occasion on which we are liable to hear about the fate of the amendment that we and Labour Back Benchers strongly supported will be at a press conference later this evening.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)

That is not a point of order for the Chair. It is a matter that hon. Members must find ways to take up with Ministers. The Home Secretary is on the Treasury Bench and will have heard what the hon. Gentleman said. I am sure that he can pursue it in some other way.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I think that you will agree that it is distracting, particularly for Ministers who face complicated questions such as I asked the Home Secretary on trauma and asylum, when mobile phones or bells go off outside the Chamber. Could something be gently done about that, because it is very distracting?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Madam Speaker has ruled that mobile phones are not permissible within the House. There is slightly less control over what may happen in other areas that are above the Chamber. The matter will be attended to. I am sure that the Serjeant at Arms will note that fact, and will make sure that Madam Speaker's ruling runs throughout the Chamber.