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Cabinet (Principle Of Collective Responsibility)

Volume 884: debated on Thursday 23 January 1975

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter which should have urgent consideration; namely,

that the constitutional principle of collective Cabinet responsibility no longer applies.
I apologise for the fact that it was not possible, Mr. Speaker, to give you much advance notice of my application this afternoon, but it was possible to consider this matter only after the Prime Minister's statement. I submit that this is a specific matter in the light of the new doctrine enunciation by the Prime Minister this afternoon. I suggest that it would be impossible to think of a matter of greater importance. We have, down the centuries, established the principle—

Order. I think that the hon. Member has only one point to which to address himself. This is obviously an important matter and a specific matter, but he has to convince me that it should be debated today or on Monday.

I am coming to that point Mr. Speaker. I now submit that it is also a matter which should have urgent consideration. There is no knowing what the Government may get up to over the weekend. It is precisely because of the turpitude of the Prime Minister today and because of the lack of courage of some of his right hon. Friends in not resigning today from his administration—I am thinking notably of the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Education and Science—that this matter is not only specific and important but also vitally urgent.