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Points Of Order

Volume 67: debated on Monday 12 November 1984

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4.30 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will have noticed that during questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the Leader of the SDP, the right' Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen), asked a question early on as a result of you giving him the opportunity to do so. He seemed to get in very early. Some hon. Members on both sides of the House could not ask a question, and I should have thought that it was taking things a little too far even for this pompous sod down here—

Order. I must ask the hon. Gentleman immediately to withdraw that word, which I will not mention again.

It is not that word but the other one that I want the hon. Member to withdraw. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that moderation of language in our proceedings is all-important if we are to have civilised debate. He is an experienced Member of the House. I appeal to him at the beginning of this Session—will he please now withdraw that remark?

I order the hon. Member to withdraw from the Chamber for the rest of this day's sitting.

The hon. Member, having used a grossly disorderly expression, was ordered by Mr. SPEAKER to withdraw the same, but he declined to comply with that direction; whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to Standing Order No. 24 (Disorderly conduct), ordered him to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of this day's sitting; and he withdrew accordingly.

May I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker? You are right to say that there are still two days for the debate on the Loyal Address and that there may yet be opportunities to pursue other matters. An important matter that has not yet been discussed is prescription charges. Have you received a request from the Secretary of State for Social. Services to make a statement to the House, which the House can then debate, on increased Health Service charges?

I have not received such a request, although it may come. I repeat to the hon. Gentleman and to the House that I allowed a full hour for questions on the Chancellor's statement, which I realise is extremely important, but there are two further days of debate on the Loyal Address. I am certain that the matter will arise again at Question Time and in subsequent debates.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, further to that raised by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner). Would it not assist the hon. Member to overcome his problems if you would ensure that hon. Members did not wish to leave the Chamber because of so many boring interventions by Labour Members, and because of two interventions from Labour Front Bench spokesmen, one of which amounted to a speech longer than the one made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Back Bench Members much appreciate your considerable role in ensuring that we are heard, but today many people were disappointed because the Leader of the SDP abused the House, after you had said that you were giving time to Back Bench Members, by catching your eye and thereby excluding many hon. Members who wished to make a point.

The right hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen) is a Back Bench Member.

Further to the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, South (Mr. Pavitt), can you, Mr. Speaker, tell us when we are likely to be told about the increase in NHS charges, which is causing fear and concern to users and workers in the service even today?