HC Deb 29 June 2004 vol 423 c157 12.33 pm
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow) (Lab)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

This is a gentle and 90 per cent. genuine point of order. In the very courteous and helpful answer from the Advocate-General to Question 17, she said, in relation to the Lockerbie trial and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, that it was up to my ingenuity to find a way of raising the issue in the House and that on the whole it was a question for the Scottish Parliament. I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is rather more than that. It is not a question of my ingenuity or lack of it, but of the rules of the House and the delicate grey area in such matters of the relationship between the House and the Scottish Parliament. May I ask you to ask the Clerks to think carefully about the issues raised, in the event of some very interesting and perhaps important conclusions from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission?

Mr. Speaker

I think that the Minister was really saying that the Father of the House always shows great ingenuity anyway. The best course of action is for the Father of the House to go to the Table Office and perhaps discuss this matter. He is quite right to suggest that, usually, his points of order are 90 per cent. genuine—it is the 10 per cent. that always worries me.

Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York) (Con)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be open to the Father of the House or any other right hon. or hon. Member to pursue this point by requesting an Adjournment debate to be answered by the Advocate-General? Would that be in order?

Mr. Speaker

It is in order to try, and then I can come to a reasoned decision.

Mr. Oliver Heald (North-East Hertfordshire) (Con)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. During Advocate-General's questions, the Advocate-General admitted that it is almost impossible for her to answer any question that is put to her because of parliamentary convention. Would it therefore be possible for perhaps you, Mr. Speaker, but certainly the Government to consider what the purpose of that short Question Time is and how necessary it is?

Mr. Speaker

The question rota is matter for negotiation between the usual channels.

Mr. Dalyell

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. How could I raise Lockerbie?

Mr. Speaker

If I needed advice on how to raise Lockerbie, I would go to the Father of the House.