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Business Of The House

Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 5 April 1977

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I inquire, while the Lord President is here, and since there seems to be some doubt about the matter, whether the proposed debate on Mr. Agee and Mr. Hosenball will take place tonight? Can you assist us, Mr. Speaker?

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understand that notice of appeal to the House of Lords has been given today, and in that case I take it that there is unlikely to be any debate because the matter would be sub judice. Can it be confirmed whether that is the situation and whether it will apply equally to both Mr. Agee and Mr. Hosenball? While on that point of order, I also ask whether, when the debate eventually takes place, we can try to clear the situation because it is very confusing when people do not know what the situation is and when debates are continually cancelled at short notice.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(Mr. Michael Foot)

In view of the appeal that has been made, the debate will not take place tonight. It would obviously be hopeless to proceed with the debate in this situation. We proposed the debate in response to requests from many of my hon. Friends, and if we had not done so we might have been laid open to the charge that we were not seeking an opportunity for debate.

I give an assurance to my hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Mr. Newens) that of course we shall seek to arrange a debate, as we have promised, at a time that is convenient to the House. I shall do my best to notify hon. Members who have shown a special interest in the matter, to give them some indication beforehand.