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Suspension Of A Member

Volume 86: debated on Monday 11 November 1985

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3.31 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to raise a matter of which I have given you notice. You will know that in Friday's debate on the Loyal Address the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) made an extremely lengthy speech. He prefaced that speech by levelling the gravest possible charge against my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He said:

"The Chancellor of the Exchequer is perverting the course of justice."—[Official Report, 8 November 1985; Vol. 86, c. 256.]
On the face of it, that is a very grave accusation. It is difficult to think of any graver accusation that could be made against a Privy Councillor and a member of the Government.

The hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch did not refer to the Chancellor again. In the course of his extremely long speech he made absolutely no attempt to justify that gravest of allegations against a right hon. Member. Is it not a gross abuse of this House for an hon. Member to come to this place and not even seek to substantiate such a grave allegation? Is it not right, therefore, that the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch, who is in his place, should have this opportunity to make a statement, to apologise and to withdraw what he said?

Order. A point of order has been put to me and I think that I should deal with it at once.

I was not in the Chair when the statement in question was made, but I have read the speech of the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore), and in particular the allegation to which the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) has referred.

This was a serious reflection on the conduct of the Chancellor, and, as the House knows, it is our rule that one Member should not cast such a reflection on another unless the debate is based on a substantive motion dealing directly with the conduct complained of. In making this allegation in the debate on the Loyal Address, the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch breached that rule of order.

I am sure that the House would not wish a personal allegation of that kind, touching the honour of an hon. Member, to remain on the record. I therefore ask the hon. Member concerned to withdraw the comment.

I appreciate the concern of the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) about the difficulties that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is in—[Interruption.]—and I appreciate your concern over this matter, Mr. Speaker. You will know that there has been an exchange of letters today between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and myself.

When I was sent to this House, my constituents expected me to call Ministers to account, and to do so without fear or favour. What has happened in this case is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a grave, constitutional error and I believe that the right course would be for the Prime Minister this afternoon to call for his resignation. [Interruption.]

Order. Is the hon. Member saying, in effect, that he is repeating the allegation that he made on Friday?

I should like to take the easy way out—the coward's way—and withdraw, but, with great regret, I cannot do that. The public outside expect the truth and, with even greater regret, I repeat the allegation.

If the hon. Member will not withdraw that allegation, I shall be forced to name him. I give him one further chance: will the hon. Member withdraw that allegation?

In that case, I name Mr. Brian Sedgemore.

Motion made, and Question put, That Mr. Brian Sedgemore be suspended from the service of the House.—[Mr. Biffen.]

The House proceeded to a Division

(seated and covered): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the comments that you made a few moments ago about the conduct of hon. Members in the House, would not it be in order to require the Minister of State, Home Office to come and make an apology to the House in the light of what he said the other day about hon. Members abusing their position in dealing with immigration problems?

(seated and covered): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I cannot accept that there is no connection between the two cases. You said in your ruling that it was against the rules of the House for one hon. Member to call into question the integrity of another. That is exactly what the Minister of State, Home Office did. If you are to be consistent, you must surely deal with his breach in the same way as you are dealing with the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney. South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore).

The hon. Lady will know that I received a letter about the allegations made by the Minister of State, Home Office, questioning whether they were a breach of privilege. I am naming the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) because he refused to obey my request to withdraw his statement.

The House having divided: Ayes 204, Noes 45.

Division No. 1]

[3.36 pm

AYES

Adley, RobertBellingham, Henry
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelBest, Keith
Ancram, MichaelBiffen, Rt Hon John
Archer, Rt Hon PeterBiggs-Davison, Sir John
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)Boscawen, Hon Robert
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Baldry, TonyBowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyBrandon-Bravo, Martin
Beith, A. J.Brittan, Rt Hon Leon

Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)Latham, Michael
Browne, JohnLawler, Geoffrey
Bruce, MalcolmLawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Bruinvels, PeterLeigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Bryan, Sir PaulLennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.Lester, Jim
Buck, Sir AntonyLilley, Peter
Burt, AlistairLloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Lyell, Nicholas
Cartwright, JohnMcCrindle, Robert
Chalker, Mrs LyndaMacGregor, Rt Hon John
Channon, Rt Hon PaulMacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Chapman, SydneyMcNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)McQuarrie, Albert
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)Madel, David
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)Major, John
Colvin, MichaelMarshall, Michael (Arundel)
Coombs, SimonMates, Michael
Cope, JohnMather, Carol
Cormack, PatrickMaude, Hon Francis
Couchman, JamesMawhinney, Dr Brian
Cranborne, ViscountMaxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Currie, Mrs EdwinaMayhew, Sir Patrick
Dickens, GeoffreyMeyer, Sir Anthony
Dicks, TerryMiller, Hal (B'grove)
Dormand, JackMitchell, David (Hants NW)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Dover, DenMonro, Sir Hector
du Cann, Rt Hon Sir EdwardMontgomery, Sir Fergus
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.Moore, John
Durant, TonyMorris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Dykes, HughMoynihan, Hon C.
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)Mudd, David
Eggar, TimMurphy, Christopher
Emery, Sir PeterNeale, Gerrard
Evennett, DavidNelson, Anthony
Favell, AnthonyNeubert, Michael
Fletcher, AlexanderNewton, Tony
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Norris, Steven
Foster, DerekOnslow, Cranley
Fowler, Rt Hon NormanOttaway, Richard
Fox, MarcusOwen, Rt Hon Dr David
Franks, CecilPage, Sir John (Harrow W)
Freeman, RogerPage, Richard (Herts SW)
Freud, ClementPatten, Christopher (Bath)
Gow, IanPawsey, James
Greenway, HarryPenhaligon, David
Gummer, Rt Hon John SPortillo, Michael
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)
Hannam, JohnProctor, K. Harvey
Harris, DavidPym, Rt Hon Francis
Harrison, Rt Hon WalterRadice, Giles
Haselhurst, AlanRaison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyRees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Hayward, RobertRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Heath, Rt Hon EdwardRidley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hind, KennethRoe, Mrs Marion
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)Rossi, Sir Hugh
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Rowe, Andrew
Hordern, Sir PeterRowlands, Ted
Howard, MichaelRyder, Richard
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)Sackville, Hon Thomas
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk N)Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Jenkin, Rt Hon PatrickShore, Rt Hon Peter
Jessel, TobySilvester, Fred
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreySmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Johnston, Sir RussellSmith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Jones, Robert (W Herts)Soames, Hon Nicholas
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir KeithSpeed, Keith
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldSquire, Robin
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineStanley, John
Kennedy, CharlesSteel, Rt Hon David
King, Roger (B'ham N'field)Stewart, Ian (Hertf'dshire N)
Kinnock, Rt Hon NeilStokes, John
Kirkwood, ArchyStradling Thomas, Sir John
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Tapsell, Sir Peter
Lang, IanTaylor, John (Solihull)

Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Tebbit, Rt Hon NormanWaller, Gary
Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.Ward, John
Thompson, Donald (Calder V)Wardle, C, (Bexhill)
Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)Watts, John
Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)Whitney, Raymond
Thurnham, PeterWilkinson, John
Townend, John (Bridlington)Williams, Rt Hon A.
Twinn, Dr IanYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Vaughan, Sir GerardYounger, Rt Hon George
Viggers, Peter
Wakeham, Rt Hon JohnTellers for the Ayes:
Waldegrave, Hon WilliamMr. Tristan Garel-Jones and
Walden, GeorgeMr. Tim Sainsbury.

NOES

Ashley, Rt Hon JackMillan, Rt Hon Bruce
Benn, TonyO'Brien, William
Bidwell, SydneyPark, George
Boyes, RolandPavitt, Laurie
Caborn, RichardPendry, Tom
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)Pike, Peter
Campbell-Savours, DalePowell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Clarke, ThomasRichardson, Ms Jo
Clwyd, Mrs AnnRoberts, Allan (Bootle)
Cohen, HarryRoberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Dixon, DonaldRowlands, Ted
Eadie, AlexShort, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Eastham, KenShort, Mrs R. (W'hampt'n NE)
Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Flannery, MartinSoley, Clive
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Harman, Ms HarrietThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Haynes, FrankWareing, Robert
Heffer, Eric S.Winnick, David
Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Marek, Dr JohnTellers for the Noes:
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Mr. Dennis Skinner and
Maynard, Miss JoanMr. Tony Banks.
Mikardo, Ian

Question accordingly agreed to.

I direct the hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch to withdraw from the House.

The hon. Member withdrew accordingly.