I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a matter of definite and urgent public importance, namely
It is exactly 20 years to the day since I was first elected to the House and this is the first occasion—"the need for Foreign Office Ministers to clarify the attitude of our European partners towards the Falkland Islands crisis."
Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that the matter that he wishes to raise was known before 12 o'clock midday. Therefore, he should have given me notice that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House.
Order. The hon. Gentleman must behave exactly like other hon. Members.
I was about to say that it was the first time in 20 years that I had not given you notice—
Order. I fear that this is the first time in 20 years that the hon. Gentleman has been out of order. The House and the hon. Gentleman knew about this issue before 12 o'clock, and I cannot allow him to pursue his application.
Certain events have taken place since 12 o'clock. I refer to the broadcast by the Foreign Minister of France, M. Cheysson, on Radio 4, which throws into question the amount of support that we can expect from our European partners. The matter is important, not least because every ministerial statement, broadcast and television appearance mentions the importance of international support, yet that is in grave danger—
Order. I have listened to the hon. Gentleman. If he has new information that has emerged since 12 o'clock midday that might have a serious effect, he is justified in seeking the leave of the House to move the Adjournment under Standing Order No. 9, but he must make out the case for urgency, and so on.
The case for urgency is that our European partners may question the legality of the whole Falkland Islands operation. They are mystified and obfuscated about whether we are at war. Only recently, after 12 o'clock—
Order. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will not seek to make the speech that he would make if I were to allow his application. I hope that he will tell us about the new information that was not available before 12 o'clock midday.
The new information is the mystification—
Order. I am afraid that I disagree with the hon. Gentleman and believe that he could have given me notice of the matter that he wishes to raise. I am sorry, but I do not propose to allow him to continue.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), I do not intend to seek to move the Adjournment of the House. Has the Foreign Secretary made any application to make a statement? Since the House met on Friday there have been many important developments of which hon. Members on both sides of the House should have been informed. I refer not only—
Order. The answer is that I have not received any application to make a statement to the House. If I had received an application, there would have been a statement.
On a genuine point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Foreign Minister of France, one of our major partners, has made a broadcast since 12 o'clock, which we could not have anticipated—
Order. I have already given a ruling on that point and I must stand by it. Like everyone else, I listened to the news at 1 o'clock but heard nothing that I could not have been told before 12 o'clock midday.