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Business Of The House

Volume 901: debated on Sunday 2 March 1975

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On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I ask your protection for Back Benchers? I see that we have on the Order Paper the Committee stage of the OECD Support Fund Bill and the possibility that

"Remaining Stages may also be taken "
This is to be followed by the Committee stage of the Moneylenders (Crown Agents) Bill, with a similar provision about remaining stages.

You will be aware that we have had a rather unsatisfactory day in which the nationalisation of the aircraft, shipbuilding and ship repairing industries have been pushed through in one Bill without proper opportunity for Back Benchers to speak. I hope you will agree with me that to begin the Committee stages of two Bills at one o'clock in the morning with the possibility of two lots of remaining stages would be rather unsatisfactory. I hope you will feel inclined to decide that it would be appropriate to adjourn the sitting.

We must continue with the Order Paper as it is. I have no option in this matter.

What is above the line on the Order Paper had been agreed—

It was announced in the Business Statement. The right hon. Gentleman must keep quiet. If he was not involved in the discussion, it is not my fault. We have not done anything of which others in the House were not aware. We put two Bills down because last week, when they received Second Readings, they went through very quickly. I understand that no amendments were put down.

I am very anxious to co-operate with the House. The usual channels relationship is as good as it could be. If it is the wish of the House, we shall not deal with either Bill now, and I shall discuss with the Opposition to ascertain whether the remaining stages of both Bills can be dealt with before Christmas. If we can arrive at a firm understanding that both Bills will be dealt with before Christmas, I am willing to proceed on that basis, otherwise we have no alternative but to go on.

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his more forthcoming reaction than I had expected. He can have the Bills before Christmas as long as he gives reasonable time for them to be discussed at a reasonable hour of the day. We do not wish to make a major issue of this, but to impose these Bills on the House at this hour is intolerable.

If the definition of the word "reasonable" was that they would come on immediately after 10 o'clock, that would have been much more acceptable. Today has been a hard day for the House. The last thing I want to do is to inflict anything more on hon. Members, or myself. With your leave, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and that of my right hon. Friend, may I say that I do not propose to move either of these Bills now.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We have had an exchange between two right hon. Members who have come to an agreement between themselves. But we are all Members of the House, as I understand it, with equal rights. How two right hon. Gentleman can come to an agreement about the business of the House, regardless of the sentiments of other hon. Members—

Order. It is remarkable what can happen here. If the hon. Gentleman will wait a moment, he will discover the answer.