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Grimsby By-Election

Volume 929: debated on Friday 1 April 1977

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask whether the Government Chief Whip has asked your permission to make a statement to explain to the House why he was not here at the beginning of this morning's sitting to move the Writ for the Grimsby by-election? His failure to be here is particularly surprising, first, because he did not move the Writ and, second, because he has not come here to give an explanation, in view of the staggering overnight news of the major Government defeat at the Stechford by-election, which showed that the public have very quickly reacted to the Lib-Lab pact by causing the Liberal Party once more to lose its deposit.

Would you be good enough to say, Mr. Speaker, whether the Chief Whip came to ask you whether he might give an explanation to the House showing why the Government have not sought an early opportunity for the people to give a second opinion showing the contempt in which his Government are plainly held?

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it possible that if the Government Chief Whip has not asked permission to make the statement to which my hon. Friend refers, he has asked for permission not to move the Writ for Grimsby but to move Writs for 634 other constituencies, which would be more appropriate, since this honourable House appears no longer to represent the political opinions of the country regarding this Government?

The House knows that I am far more generous on a Friday morning. I expected something along those lines, but the point raised never approached being a point of order. I say only that I have had no request from the Chief Whip.