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Members (Personal Attacks)

Volume 22: debated on Monday 26 April 1982

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. On Thursday 22 April the hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon) raised a point of order with you in which he claimed that during the Adjournment debate on the previous night I had used about half the time available to me to launch a personal attack on him. You said in your reply, Mr. Speaker, that you had not read the details of the Adjournment debate, as, indeed, you could not have done because it had not been printed in Hansard at that time. As you have now had a chance to read my speech, I should be grateful for your ruling on whether I made a personal attack on the hon. Member for York.

I have had time to read the speech now. My arithmetic differs very considerably from that of the hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon). It is not really for me to say as I was not in the Chair, but I did not sense in the speech of the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Montgomery) a personal attack on anyone that was stronger than what is normal in debate in the House. I have read some that have been a great deal tougher.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry if I exaggerated the nature of my complaint. I assumed that where it was the intention of one hon. Member to criticise the views of another in a way that was personally directed at him, there was a duty on that hon. Member to inform the other hon. Member of his intentions. In this case, the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Montgomery) referred to me a number of times, read out a considerable section of a piece that I had written, and subjected that to criticism. If that is to happen, Mr. Speaker, surely it is normal for notification to take place. It was only in that sense that I referred to the hon. Gentleman's remarks as a personal attack. I did not suggest for one moment that the hon. Gentleman had abused me.

Order. The hon. Members for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Montgomery) and York (Mr. Lyon) should have settled this matter between themselves in the Tea Room. It is not big enough to bring to the Floor of the House.