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Points of Order

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2008

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Have you considered the instruction on the Order Paper in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Clegg), and will you be selecting it?

I am very aware of that, Mr. Speaker. I am keen that none of us should have this care tomorrow or the day after, which is why I am raising it today.

On the issue of Standing Order No. 66 and instructions, may I ask your advice on whether you might be able to help us in two ways, Mr. Speaker? I think I am right in saying that, under the present arrangements, when an instruction is issued there is no early indication of its selection like the indication through your office of the selection of amendments, for instance, or other selection in the Lobby. Will you consider whether it would be possible for you to indicate selection or non-selection of instructions with some notice, so that the House as a whole knows in advance whether an instruction has been selected? That is my first question.

I cannot possibly give an answer just now, but I will consider the hon. Gentleman’s point. That is question No. 1 out of the way. As an engineer, I like to do one thing at a time. Now let me deal with the next question.

You have been very helpful, Mr. Speaker. I have one more request, to which I hope you will be equally sympathetic.

There are some instructions which it seems to me may not be necessary—although they are perfectly legitimate as instructions on the Order Paper—because the legislation to be debated could include the business that is the subject of the instruction. I have been present—as you have, Sir—on occasions when instructions have been issued and it has been accepted that the matter in question is one with which the Bill could deal: Crossrail is one example. Will you, Mr. Speaker, give consideration to whether I might be spared the need to have to raise such an issue in future because you are able to rule that a Bill covers the matters dealt with by an instruction so we do not have to put it on the Order Paper?

The hon. Gentleman must understand that I deal with the business of the day, and I therefore cannot give hypothetical rulings.