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Order Papers

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 27 March 1952

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On a point of order. I understand that there are not sufficient Order Papers, or there were not a moment or so ago, in the Vote Office for hon. and right hon. Members. I should like to be assured that copies are available for Members; otherwise we shall not know what Question is being put. If we were to have an explanation as to why the Order Papers were not available, that would be useful. I do not see why it should be owing to the late Sitting of the House. It is inconvenient if hon. Members cannot have an Order Paper at the usual hour. Perhaps, you, Mr. Speaker, or the Leader of the House could give some information about it and tell us whether Order Papers are now available.

I share the feelings of the right hon. Gentleman. I had my own Order Paper only a short time ago. I understand that what has caused the delay is that those responsible for the Order Paper had to wait until the Sitting that has just terminated came to an end before they could publish the Orders of the Day and notices of Motion appearing on page 1604. Therefore, though my information is not yet complete, I understand that, to some extent at any rate, the delay is due to the long Sitting we have had yesterday and today.

I should like to know what are the facts. I gather that some more supplies are available. If they are available for everybody now I raise no further point about it, if I can be so assured. If not, I suggest that the Sitting be suspended until Order Papers are available, otherwise it will be impossible to know what Question is being put.

I understand they are now available, and if it is the wish of the House I am prepared to wait some minutes until hon. Members have had an opportunity of obtaining a copy.

I do not know anything more about this than does the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), but I understand that Order Papers are now available in the usual quantities in the usual places.

On a point of order. Surely the explanation given is no explanation with regard to the Questions. The Questions had been put down on the Order Paper long before yesterday, and there was ample opportunity for a list of Questions, at any rate, being printed apart from other matters that would normally appear on the Order Paper.

Further to that point of order. Could we have three or four minutes extra at the end of Questions to make up for this delay?

I am bound by the Standing Order on that matter. However, I shall use what discretion I can. On the first point of order, I think the answer is that the whole Order Paper runs consecutively, and after Questions there appear notices of Motion and Orders of the Day. It was not until only a few hours ago, if that, that the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill, which was down for Second Reading yesterday, was postponed till today. Until the fate of that Bill had been determined by that postponement, it was not possible to print a consecutive Order Paper.

As I raised the matter, perhaps I should say that I think everybody will agree that I was on a real point affecting the general convenience of the House. I now understand that Order Papers are available. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, and I think my hon. Friends, we have no objection to business proceeding.