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Government Information (Disclosure)

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 26 November 1981

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Again I raise the question of the regular official leaks we are having from the Government. Today we have heard my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition quoting official ministerial statements. The deputy Prime Minister, or the acting Prime Minister—

—has said that there will be a statement next Wednesday. What authority he has I do not know, because I believed that it was Mr. Speaker who decided the business of the House. Then we find that the Home Secretary refuses to answer questions that must be in order. When will something be done to protect the rights of hon. Members, who seem to come second to the media, the press and everyone else?

Order. I have two points to make. First, it is unfair to interrupt the hon. Gentleman. Secondly, I should be grateful if the hon. Gentleman would come to a conclusion.

Order. The hon. Gentleman is following an old cartoon. He is about to finish his point of order.

You have told me, Mr. Speaker, that I seem to have lost a lot of weight recently; perhaps that is why you could not see me.

I am interested, as the House should be, in trying to ensure that the House reverts to the position that we had for many years. If a Minister made a statement, he was responsible for it and he would be asked questions upon it. The Leader of the Opposition has tried to do that on several occasions. He has a little more privilege than we Back Benchers, but if day in and day out the Government are leaking like a colander and no one protects Back Benchers——

Order. I have no desire to pick a quarrel with the hon. Gentleman, but he must remember that, like everyone else—he above all, because he has been a Member for so long—he must observe the rule of the House that he must resume his seat when I stand up to address the House. I am very surprised at him. I believe that we should leave the matter there. We shall now move on to business questions.

Order. The hon. Gentleman's point of order has already wasted four minutes of the House's time. I do not propose to allow him to continue any further. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am telling the hon. Gentleman that. I in no way seek to pick a quarrel with him, but, like everyone else, he must obey the rules. The hon. Gentleman has made his point at considerable length. If he persists I shall ask him to leave the Chamber. I have no desire to ask him to do that, but he must therefore acknowledge——

Order. I shall not take another point of order from the hon. Gentleman. We shall now move on to the Business Statement for next week.

Order. I have given the hon. Gentleman one more opportunity to recognise that the House has been very tolerant with him. He has been allowed to take up five minutes of the House's time when there is great pressure on the two short debates that are to take place today. No one can say that I have not shown patience with the hon. Gentleman. Therefore, it would be good manners on his part now to accept the ruling of the Chair and to leave the matter there.

The ruling is that the hon. Gentleman has wasted our time for five minutes and that he has not made a substantial point of order on which I can rule.

Order. I gave the hon. Gentleman warning after warning. He took no notice and he will leave the precincts of the House for the rest of this day's sitting.

All right, Mr. Speaker. So I cannot raise another point of order?

The hon. Member, having conducted himself in a grossly disorderly manner, was ordered by Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to Standing Order No. 23 (Disorderly conduct), to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of this day's sitting, and he withdrew accordingly.