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Appellate Committee (Proceedings)

Volume 116: debated on Wednesday 13 May 1987

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3.43 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I rise to raise with you, Sir, a point of order of which I have given you notice. As a courtesy, I have also given notice to the Lord Chancellor and to the Clerk of the Parliaments since they clearly also have an interest in the matter.

It is my submission that there is supposed to be published in the Official Reportof each House of Parliament, all proceedings in Parliament.

Members of both Houses are entitled to draw from, respectively, the Vote Office of the House of Commons, and the Printed Paper Office of the House of Lords, the Official Reports of the proceedings in Parliament of the other House: which Official Reports are also available for sale to the public.

The proceedings of the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords are "Proceedings in Parliament": yet they are not available either to Members of the House of Commons, or to the public, as Official Reports. I would therefore be most grateful to you, as I expect many outside both Houses would also be, if you would be good enough to arrange for the proceedings of the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords to be made available to Members of the House of Commons and, indeed, therefore to the public in the same manner as are also the Official Reports of all other proceedings in the other House of Parliament.

I should like to add two points. Those proceedings are in no way analogous to private Bill proceedings. They are proceedings which define the public general law as passed by both Houses of Parliament. Secondly, Select Committees of this House as well as individual Members in debate may need to quote those proceedings, and it is both ludicrous and anomalous that they should have to rely on Times law reports, accurate or inaccurate as the case may be, of those crucial proceedings in Parliament, rather than on an Official Reportof them.

I do not expect you, Mr. Speaker, to be able to rule on this today; but I would be most grateful if it were possible for you to do so tomorrow. I am most obliged to you for hearing me.

Yes, Sir. Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) said that he would wait for a decision, not only as an act of courtesy, but as this is a delicate matter. One of the cases bears on my constituency and relates to the motor industry. If that information was available, it would not only help planning and financial investment, but would have a direct effect on jobs in my constituency. Therefore, I take this opportunity to support my hon. Friend on this important point of order.

I thank the hon. Member for Dudley, West (Dr. Blackburn) for what he has said and the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) for raising this important matter. I shall, indeed, look into it and do my best to make a statement to the House on this tomorrow.