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Pensioners' Right To Fuel And Communications Bill

Volume 113: debated on Friday 3 April 1987

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Order for Second Reading read.

Second Reading deferred till Friday 1 May.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Under which Standing Order can an hon. Member, while seated, mumble an objection to a Bill? Is it not an obscenity that a Bill that would improve the living standards of 9 million people and end standing charges can be held up in this way?

Order. I have the hon. Gentleman's point of order. He will know, as he has been here on a Friday on previous occasions, that what has taken place is perfectly in order. Perhaps it is as well that I remind the House that this happens not only to private Members' Bills but to Government legislation. If the hon. Gentleman, or any other hon. Member, is dissatisfied with the present procedure, I suggest that he puts his views to the Select Committee on Procedure and asks it to consider the matter.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. There is another way of looking at the matter. If you will bear with me, you will understand my argument.

On Fridays, we start at 9.30 am, earlier than on any other day—

I was here, I am here more often than the hon. Gentleman. He should look at my voting record.

We start at 9.30 am and finish our normal business at 2.30 pm. We then have half an hour for the Adjournment debate. It is time that the House considered extending its business on Fridays, so that my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) can get his Bill through to look after the 9·5 million pensioners in Britain. If the Prime Minister can have free heating and free light and pay no rates at No. 10 Downing street and at Chequers—

Order. The hon. Gentleman must resume his seat when I am on my feet. I can say nothing further to the hon. Gentleman or to the House. There is a Select Committee on Procedure, and hon. Members are perfectly entitled to put their points to that Committee.

Old women are being attacked. The hon. Gentleman ought to be ashamed of himself. The Prime Minister has just come back from Russia—

Order. The hon. Gentleman must resume his seat.

I appeal to the House. We have more business to transact. The hon. Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Howarth), who has the Adjournment debate, is still waiting to move his motion. I am not prepared to accept any more points of order unless they are on other matters.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd) refused to stand and object to the Bill, and to say why he believes that pensioners should continue to die of cold every winter.

Order. I understand that hon. Members feel strongly about this issue but it is an abuse of our procedure to try to debate Bills at this time when objection has been taken. I have given advice to the hon. Gentleman about what he should do if he does not like the present procedure, and I invite him to put his point to the Select Committee on Procedure.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

No, it is not on the same point of order. You must have seen, as we all did, an old lady being manhandled—

Order. The hon. Gentleman has been here long enough to know that it is not in order to refer to what is going on in the Galleries.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I heard what you said to the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing). I have reason to believe that the lady to whom he referred lives in my borough. I should like to know what remedy is available to me, as the Member of Parliament for Southwark and Bermondsey, to make sure that her treatment is properly inquired into. I shall be grateful for your ruling.

As is always the case on these occasions, a report will be made to Mr. Speaker. If the hon. Gentleman has any points to raise, I suggest that he should not raise them now, but should get in touch with Mr. Speaker.