HC Deb 27 April 2004 vol 420 c753 12.32 pm
Mr. Andrew Dismore (Hendon) (Lab)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I bring to your attention the sub judice rule and its application to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission? Last month, I tried to table a question about Abu Hamza, and I was told by the Table Office that as a date had been set for his appeal to the SIAC, the case was now sub judice, and no parliamentary proceedings or debate could take place on his case. As the case was adjourned yesterday until January 2005, that effectively gags Parliament from discussing this case for almost a year. This case has generated huge interest among the public at large and in the media, and people will regard it as bizarre that we cannot discuss it in the House. Will you please review the operation of the rule in this case, to ensure that public concerns about Abu Hamza can be aired properly in the House?

Mr. Speaker

I say to the hon. Gentleman that I urge him strongly to write to me on this matter, and I will give it very serious consideration.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan) (SNP)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Earlier, in Advocate-General's questions, the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mr. Reid) asked a question about the Fisheries Jurisdiction Bill, which is before the House awaiting a Second Reading under my name and the names of many other Members. In reply, the Advocate-General suggested that one of the Bill's many clauses might be misnumbered. If the Advocate-General and her staff are spending their time, and our money, analysing in fine detail a Bill that is yet to get its Second Reading, does that place any obligation on the Government, in terms of our procedures, to make sure that that Second Reading has time for debate, so that the rest of the House can debate it in detail and decide on it when it comes before us?

Mr. Speaker

I think that the simple answer is no. If the hon. Gentleman has any further inquiries, the best thing to do is to take them up with the Advocate-General.