Skip to main content

Elimination Of Poverty In Retirement Bill

Volume 115: debated on Friday 1 May 1987

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Order for Second Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Order. The hon. Gentleman must not stand when I am on my feet. I heard, "Objection taken".

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Bill will eliminate the disgrace in retirement of the poverty in which millions of old people have to live. I heard no objection to that Bill, and therefore I assume—

Order. The Chair clearly heard an objection. Second Reading what day?

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. There has been an interesting development with Government business in the past few days. I should like you to have a word with Mr. Speaker to try to find out how many times since the end of the war Governments have taken over Bills that have been introduced by private Members.

Order. We must deal with one matter at a time. The hon. Member is raising what seems to be a quite separate matter.

Order. I am not denying the hon. Member the opportunity to raise his point of order. It seems to be a different matter.

Order. I hope that the hon. Member will quickly show me how it links with the point with which we are dealing.

Yes, absolutely, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) was trying to introduce a Bill to give pensioners an extra £20 a week. The Government now say that they do not have any time. Last night the House adjourned three hours early, and the night before it adjourned an hour early. It would not be a bad idea, if they can change their minds on dumping nuclear waste in Tory constituencies, for the Government to change their mind about—

Order. I have heard more than sufficient. The hon. Member knows how we deal with private Members' Business. He knows that we decide how much time should be allocated to deal with private Members' Bills, and when. This is one of the days allocated by the House for dealing with this Bill. It may well be open to the Government to allocate time, but that is not the Question before the House today.

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wonder whether you can help the House. I have absolutely no doubt, because you have said so, that you heard an hon. Member say, "Object", but would it not be for the convenience of the House if the mover of the motion and every other hon. Member in the House could hear when some seedy, corrosive, secreted Member objects, so that we know who he is?

Order. The hon. Member must not persist in standing when I am on my feet.

The hon. Member must not persist in interrupting me either, or I am afraid that I shall have to send him off for an early weekend.

If I can just help you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It was the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Garel-Jones) who, acting on behalf of the Prime Minister, objected.

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We have repeatedly heard over the past few weeks that the Government are committed to the elimination of poverty. A Government Whip who must remain unnamed—

We do not need to identify him. He has today objected to a Bill introduced by a Labour Back-Bencher to eliminate poverty for pensioners. There will be no debate because the proceedings of the House—

Order. The hon. Member has been in the House on previous Fridays when we have had exactly the same problem and he has listened to exactly the same replies and explanations by me from the Chair. Now that the House seems to be satisfied that there was a genuine objection, confirming what I clearly heard, I hope that the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) will give us the date on which he hopes the Bill will be given a Second Reading. Second Reading what day?

We had wished to have the Second Reading on this day, but I understand that the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Garel-Jones), acting on behalf of the Government—

Yes, Sir. The Bill was granted its First Reading unopposed. There was no Division. There were plenty of opportunities for such a Division, when hon. Members could have had their votes recorded as being for or against a measure to eliminate poverty in retirement—

Order. I hope that the hon. Member will get to a point of order with which I may deal.

My point of order is this, Sir. If the House agreed that the Bill should have a First Reading—as it did a long time ago—why are Members of Parliament now allowed to prevent the debate from taking place without their names being recorded? I understand that the hon. Member for Watford, acting on behalf of the Prime Minister—

Order. The hon. Member knows perfectly well, because in the past he has raised exactly the same points and has heard me and other occupants of the Chair rule, that these matters are not for the Chair. What we are doing today, and what has been done, is entirely in accordance with our long-established practices and procedures. I hope that we can now proceed.

Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I ask you to assist the House by conveying to Mr. Speaker the wishes of many of us that there should be a re-examinaion of this procedure of anonymity being preserved, like the hon. Member for Watford—

Order. The hon. Member knows perfectly well that a Committee has been set up by the House to look at procedure. The hon. Member has been advised previously that, if he is not satisfied with the procedures as they exist, the Procedure Committee should be made aware of his complaint. No doubt what has been said today will be read in the Official Report by members of the Committee on Procedure. Does the hon. Member wish to give me a day for the Second Reading?