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Early-Day Motions

Volume 76: debated on Wednesday 3 April 1985

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4.20 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to raise a point of order on an altogether more esoteric subject than that of the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist). You will have seen on the court page of The Times today, at the head of the list of birthdays being celebrated this day, the announcement of the 60th birthday of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn).

Last night I tried to table an early-day motion pointing out the significance of this event, and particularly highlighting the outstanding loyalty and unswerving devotion to the cause of his party and to his Leader that he has evidenced recently. The Clerk refused to accept the early-day motion on the grounds that it was tendered in a spirit of mockery. [Interruption.] It was not tendered in a spirit of mockery. I am not suggesting that the Officers of the House should in any way be making a judgment about the right hon. Gentleman's loyalty, but how would it be possible for the whole House to celebrate, as it would wish, this great moment and to express its satisfaction and gratification that this important milestone should have been reached?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not an abuse of procedures of the House that on a day on which a statement has been made purporting to deal with the question of youth unemployment in the country the matter should be so trivialised by that rubbish over there?

It is very nearly Easter.

The reason why the early-day motion of the hon. Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) was declined was that it was tendered in what was judged to be a spirit of mockery and, as the hon. Gentleman knows, that is not part of our conventions. I am sure that he will find other methods of celebrating this great occasion.