Mr. Norman Lamont accordingly presented a Bill to apply certain sums out of the Consolidated Fund to the service of the years ending on 31 March 1988 and 1989: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time tomorrow and to be printed. [Bill 60.]
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have just voted through £47 billion of expenditure, plus a further £1 billion on the Supplementary Estimates. According to Standing Order No. 52, it would be in order for the House to refer the expenditure in the Bill to a Select Committee for further consideration.This afternoon the Leader of the House said that that would not be possible because the Select Committees had not yet been set up. However, under Standing Order No. 53 there is a deadline of 6 February for committing a Bill to a Select Committee. This would allow this third of public expenditure to be properly scrutinised by the Committee and a report to be made to the House on a substantive motion. Will you, Mr. Speaker, give us your opinion on whether the Standing Orders could still be so interpreted, so that this vast sum, instead of going through on the nod, is properly scrutinised by the House?
The hon. Gentleman knows, because I have told him, that I am bound by Standing Orders Nos. 52 and 53. If this motion is on the Order Paper on any day —and it was on the Order Paper today—I am bound to put the Question at 10 o'clock.