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Questions To Ministers

Volume 81: debated on Tuesday 25 June 1985

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3.31 pm

I wish to make a statement.

I have reflected on the point of order put to me after Prime Minister's questions last Thursday. The difficult task imposed on Mr. Speaker is to balance the diverse and urgent claims of hon. Members, both Back Bench and Front Bench, and of nearly a dozen parties in the House. In its wisdom, not for years but for centuries, the House has advised its Speaker not to give reasons for the exercise of his discretion. When Speakers have departed from that apparently cold discipline in answer to points of order, as I did on Thursday, they often find themselves on the spur of the moment stating what are not, and cannot be, rules, but must necessarily be instantaneous judgments. It has been and is the fervent hope of successive Speakers that the sum total of their decisions will be accepted as fair and reasonable by the House which elected them to the Office of Speaker.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I thank you for offering us a characteristically wise reflection on the nature of your task, which we fully understand is not always easy?

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that the House will be grateful to you for your statement and will wish you well in the exercise of your very difficult task.