I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely:
Mr. Speaker, as to the form of the application, I have taken it from the precedent of the murders at Uplands in Kenya, on which your predecessor granted the Adjournment of the House on 31st March, 1953, on the ground that that attack at Uplands constituted a new phase in the Mau Mau emergency and one which this House should have the opportunity to discuss. I simply name the incident without including any argument. That seems to be the form, in the majority of the precedents which I have consulted. When I tried to raise the subject of the new phase of violence which is happening in Rhodesia on 2nd May you then refused my application upon the ground that all the facts were not then clear or available to us. In my submission, the facts are now clear and available, and I am in a position to place before the House evidence of the following: First, that this is the work of organised gangs and an organised movement; secondly, that this movement has its headquarters and direction in Zambia; thirdly, that it has the connivance and encouragement of the Zambian Government. As far as that is concerned, I shall be able to lay before the House broadcasts from the Zambian Government's broadcasting station and statements inciting to murder by the Zambian President. Last—and this is, of course, only ascertainable as from yesterday—that the purpose of these gangs is murder. Now, the second point on which you had doubts was the question of responsibility. In my submission, the Government clearly have responsibility for law and order and for security in Rhodesia. I would quote from the Attorney-General on 12th November last:"the murder at Hartley, in Her Majesty's Dominion of Rhodesia, of Mr. and Mrs. Viljoen, which took place yesterday."
a new Bill he was proposing to introduce—"In the first place, it"—
Then later, speaking of an Order the Government proposed to make, he said:"declares the legal position, which is that Southern Rhodesia is part of Her Majesty's Dominions, and that the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom have responsibility and jurisdiction in respect of it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1965; Vol. 720, c. 513.]
That Order was duly laid and passed. But there is another aspect in which, in a de facto manner, in my submission, the Government have responsibility, and that is in regard to Zambia. We have troops in Zambia for the maintenance of the authority of the Zambian Government; we support the economy of Zambia; we maintain her by an airlift. That surely gives us de facto responsibility for what happens there. There is terrible bitterness in Rhodesia today. That bitterness will become utterly unmanageable if we do not at least make it clear that we do not connive at murder."The Order will also empower the Secretary of State to exercise executive authority in Rhodesia. The Government will further take a general power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Southern Rhodesia."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 12th November, 1965; Vol. 720, c. 514.]
The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) seeks leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,
I thought that the hon. and learned Member might seek to raise this under Standing Order No. 9, and I have carefully looked at the precedent to which he referred of 31st March, 1953. I recognise the hon. and learned Member's concern, and, indeed, that of the whole House, where lives are being lost in tragic circumstances. Nevertheless, I have to consider many factors before allowing an application under the Standing Order. I cannot find that this one is sufficiently urgent in the Parliamentary sense of the term, implying, in Mr. Speaker Peel's words,"the murder in Hartley, in Her Majesty's Dominion of Rhodesia, of Mr. and Mrs. Viljoen, which took place yesterday."
It could not, in my view, justify the setting aside of the business of the House this afternoon, and I cannot, therefore, allow the hon. and learned Member's application."a sudden emergency either in home or foreign affairs."
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, does not it make the position very difficult if, on the first occasion, there is not sufficient information, and, on the second occasion, when one is waiting—
Order. I hope that the hon. and learned Member is not going to put himself in the position of questioning not only today's refusal of the application under Standing Order No. 9, but also an earlier one. This is a very difficult task which is placed on the shoulders of Mr. Speaker. He is, however, guided by precedent, and I hope that the hon. and learned Member will accept the Ruling which I have given.