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Business Of The House

Volume 894: debated on Friday 4 July 1975

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Motion made and Question put:

That, at this day's Sitting, proceedings on or relating to the proposed Motion (Aids to Shipbuilding), if not previously concluded, shall lapse one and a half hours after they have been entered upon, and may be proceeded with after Four o'clock, though opposed—[Mr. Harper.]

The House divided: Ayes 35, Noes 14.

You will be aware, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the House has been in difficulties because of EEC documents being outdated by subsequent events. If at 4 p.m. or before the Minister in charge comes to House and tells us that the document before us is out-dated, that will affect the time allocated for discussion of the document. The House may well wish to discuss the document in any case, but not necessarily in the time which is limited by the motion. May we have some guidance from the Government on their expectations in this matter?

The House has taken its own decision on the timetable for today. We all know that Press reports are sometimes true and sometimes not, but we do not base our activities on Press reports, and I cannot rule on the basis of Press reports.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have in my possession a longer version of the statement which was published yesterday in The Times. The same statement by the same writer was extended in The Scotsman yesterday. The article in The Scotsman makes clear that new rules were introduced partly because of pressure by Britain. It is, therefore, extremely important that a Minister from the Department of Industry should be here to say what is the new position and also to tell us that the Commission's document has been changed. I quote from The Scotsman:

"At the insistence of the Italians a paragraph has been added to the Commission's text clarifying this point".
The point is that—

It is an important point, and I have already ruled on it. The fact that the hon. Gentleman is referring to The Scotsman rather than to The Times does not affect my ruling.

Immediately after the Clerk has read the Orders of the Day the hon. Gentleman may care to raise his point of order on the Orders of the Day when we turn to the subject.