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Petitions

Volume 31: debated on Friday 12 November 1982

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Sheppey General Hospital

9.35 am

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I beg to present a humble petition in support of the Sheppey general hospital in the name of Sheppey hospital watch committee and signed by over 7,500 residents of the Isle of Sheppey. It has the support of the Swale borough council and myself. The petition reflects the united determination of the island community to retain locally the widest possible range of hospital services.

The petitioners pray
that your Honourable House will request the Secretary of State for Social Services to instruct the Medway district health authority to maintain all existing facilities at Sheppey General Hospital in their present or improved state until the proposed new Swale hospital is completed.
And, as in duty bound, your Petitioners will ever pray.

To lie upon the Table.

Disqualification Of Clergy

9.36 am

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I beg to present a humble petition on behalf of my constituent the Venerable Robert Dell, Archdeacon of Derby. Archdeacon Dell petitions this honourable House to repeal the House of Commons (Clergy Disqualification) Act 1801 which was passed to effect the retrospective disqualification of a Member of this honourable House, the Rev. Horne Tooke, the great radical pamphleteer of those days. Archdeacon Dell draws the attention of the House to the fact that opinion within the Church of England has substantially changed in recent times as shown by a vote in the General Synod. The petitioners pray

that your honourable House do repeal the House of Commons (Clergy Disqualification) Act 1801 and other relevant Acts and end the injustice of these laws.
And, as in duty bound, your Petitioners will ever pray.

To lie upon the Table.

Adjournment Debates

9.37 am

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to draw your attention to matters that affect the rights of Back Benchers and the convention and usage of this House on which our ultimate liberties in this land depend. The motion before the House in a moment will be discussed on the Adjournment. Over the last 10 years there has been considerable discussion and difficulty about matters of order relating to EEC business.

It had been hoped, following discussions, the changing of Standing Orders and various motions passed by the House, that we had reached a modus vivendi at least on matters of order, if not merit. One feature was that White Papers and Government motions relating to the EEC were almost always discussed on a substantive motion to which Ministers often added comments and which were amendable either by the Opposition or by Back Benchers.

The motion before the House today was, I understand, tabled only yesterday. It is not amendable. The rights of both the Opposition and Back Benchers are being reduced. It is desirable, I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that in future we should have not motions for the Adjournment of the House on White Papers but substantive and amendable motions.

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for the way in which he has submitted his point of order. He will appreciate, as will the House. that this is a matter for the usual channels rather than for me. I have no doubt that what the hon. Gentleman has said will have been noted by those responsible.