Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Motion relating to Television Broadcasting of Proceedings may be made after the time for opposed business, and if so made, the Question thereon shall be put forthwith.—[Mr. Edward Short.]
I understand that this motion is debatable. It seems that the House ought not to pass it without some indication that this form of motion will in no way be taken as a precedent. By its terms it pre-empts the possibility of a closure. Indeed it provides in effect for a closure without a Division. In general, of course, the only proper time for a closure is when the Chair in its wisdom thinks it appropriate that the House should consider whether the debate should continue and when the House has had the opportunity to express its opinion upon it. Unless this motion is controverted now, it has exactly the same effect as a motion for the closure accepted by the Chair and duly carried by the House at some time after ten o'clock.There is a further and minor inconvenience in this form of motion. It is within your recollection, Mr. Speaker, that some years ago arrangements were made for motions suspending the rule to be taken only at ten o'clock in the event of their being controverted. This afternoon we have, in a sense, two innovations together in this motion. I quite understand that there is a special purpose, which probably would be acceptable to the House in any case, in the framing of this motion. Nevertheless, unless it were clearly understood that no precedent could be drawn from it, I would suggest that it should not be passed unless there is also an assurance that the matter will be placed before the Select Committee on Procedure. If this type of motion were to be repeated it would, in effect, bring about an alteration in procedure which I do not think would be acceptable to many hon. Members.
This form of motion has been used on many occasions. The House will be expressing the view that the time between now and ten o'clock will be an adequate time to discuss these two motions. Certainly we shall not use it as a precedent. We shall judge each occasion on its merits. There is nothing unusual about the motion. It has been used on many occasions.
The only point raised by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) with which I have to deal is the question of the closure. As for the first motion, it is still for the Chair to accept a closure motion if it thinks fit. On the second motion, I agree that under the terms of the business motion it is automatically closured.
Question put and agreed to.
That the Motion relating to Television Broadcasting of Proceedings may be made after the time for opposed business, and if so made, the Question thereon shall be put forthwith.