§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone)
My Lords, with the leave of the House, I should like to make a Personal Statement about the proceedings on the Social Security (Contributions) Bill and the Consolidated Fund Bill on 22nd December last.
I see from the Official Report that on a number of occasions the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, sought to address the House. These questions were all clearly debatable, but I understood on each occasion that the noble Lord had desisted from his attempt to speak in the face of opposition from the House itself. Having refreshed my memory from a reading of the Official Report and having listened to the tape of the proceedings, I am confirmed in my view that this is so. If I was wrong in this, I can only express my regret. But in view of the fact which appears from the Official Report that the next question was, in each case, moved from the Front Bench, I had no alternative but to propose that question.
I also see from the Official Report that when I was collecting the voices Lord Brockway continued to say "Not-Content". In each case I put the question twice and I heard no dissentient voice on the second occasion. If the noble Lord was still dissenting on the second occasion, I regret that I did not hear him. Had I done so, or had any noble Lord drawn my attention to the fact that he had said "Not-Content", I would have put the question again and, if dissent had been persisted in, in due course cleared the Bar for a Division.