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Point of Order

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 21 January 2010

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I seek your advice about the conduct of business for the rest of the day? I see from the Order Paper that the next debate is going to run for one and a half hours, which would take us to about quarter past 2, but the business after that does not start until 3 o’clock. Will you advise the House on why the Leader of the House and the appropriate authorities have not made appropriate provision for the efficient conduct of business today?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I think that I am right in saying that the requirement that the private Bills set down for debate this day should begin at 3 pm is a requirement of the Standing Orders of the House. That is, I hope, the conclusive answer to question posed by the hon. Gentleman.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Leader of the House tabled a motion to vary that requirement for today, so that we would have been able to start that business as soon the topical debate had finished, but Conservative Members objected to it. That is why we will have to suspend the House, wasting time on procedural matters, which relates to the point that the Leader of the House made earlier. I hope that we will not be doing too much of that in future, because we could have got on with this afternoon’s business more promptly.

I am very grateful to the Deputy Leader of the House. Obviously, it is not a matter for me to say anything about wasting time; I would not dream of making such a partisan remark. However, I think that I owe the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Hollobone) an apology, because I suggested that my own response to his point of order might be considered to be conclusive. Clearly, it was not, but it is fair to say that the response by the Deputy Leader of the House was indeed conclusive.