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Personal Statements (Mr Speaker)

Volume 629: debated on Thursday 3 November 1960

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I have an apology to make. I regret, and I must ask the course of exchanges yesterday about the Prime Minister's statement in personal explanation I said that which was wrong. The Prime Minister submitted to me what he proposed to say and, having read it, I gave leave for him to make that statement by way of personal explanation. In all that, the proper practice was most exactly followed.

What was wrong was that I used words to the effect that I did not officially know what the Prime Minister was going to say and so had formed no opinion about it until I heard it in public. That was wrong, because it is an essential step in protecting the House against any abuse of the right to make a statement in personal explanation that an hon. Member should submit to the Chair what he proposes to say when seeking leave to make one.

I have never wished to depart from the practice of my predecessors in this matter, and I am grateful to the House for allowing me to correct my mistake, and to maintain the matter clear for the future.

We are grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for your two statements. Needless to say, we accept absolutely what you say in the second one. In relation to the first statement, I think that it is a source of satisfaction that matters connected with the staff of the House should be cleared up in the way you have yourself indicated. Simply, on behalf of the House, I should like to express our satisfaction.

May I, too, Mr. Speaker, add my thanks to you. On the first statement, I am sure that it is a matter of satisfaction that you have agreed to the principle of trade union representation where that is the desire of the employees concerned.