HC Deb 19 May 2004 vol 421 c975 1.30 pm
Mr. Speaker

Following this morning's suspension in the Chamber, I wish to make a brief statement.

As Members will know, a security screen has been erected in front of the main part of the Strangers Gallery. Members sponsoring guests or visitors for admission to the unscreened Galleries are required to certify that their guests are known to them. They are also required to vouch for their good behaviour. Members whose guests disrupt the Chamber will be required to apologise to the House; it will be for the House to decide what further action to take.

In this case, I understand that a member of the House of Lords signed the visitor who disrupted our proceedings into the Gallery.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) (Lab)

Abolish them!

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must hear me out.

I expect the relevant member of the House of Lords to provide me with a full explanation before this day is out. I am directing the Serjeant at Arms that the right of members of the House of Lords to sponsor visitors for admission to this Chamber is suspended with immediate effect.

I am pleased to inform the House that, after detailed examination, the substance has been found not to be harmful. I and the authorities in the House will review the way in which this incident has been dealt with to ensure that all appropriate procedures are followed, if necessary, in the future.

David Winnick (Walsall, North) (Lab)

On that point, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

I am obliged to take points of order, but I must say to the hon. Gentleman that the House has been disrupted, Prime Minister's Question Time has been stopped and the best thing we can do is to get back to business as usual.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.