§ Mr. Dalyell
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This is a matter about which I have given notice, which at first sight may seem a bit trivial but which has a certain importance.
All Scottish Members of Parliament had a letter from the Council of Agricultural Colleges which states:'Adopting advice from the Scottish Information Office a supply of these Notes was sent to the House of Commons on 18th January, with a request to the Serjeant at Arms that they might be distributed to all Scottish Members of Parliament whose names were written at the top of each Note.I now understand that there is no provision for this course of action and the Notes have been returned. I much regret that because of this you have been unable to see their contents before date of publication but hope that you will now be able to give it your consideration.I think I understand clearly the rules which govern the Serjeant at Arms in distributing literature, and this could be open to great abuse. But may I make a request, without making any kind of complaint? Given the circumstances of the Scotland and Wales Bill, given the circumstances of many amendments that are tabled at relatively short notice, given the circumstances of the flexibility of the Government and that there are many interest groups which have a considerable and urgent interest in what we are doing, I wonder whether—I do not ask for an answer today—in the case of those who say "This is a circular from a bona fide interest group", be it the doctors, a trade union or an employers' organisation concerned with the Scotland and Wales Bill, asking the Serjeant at Arms to distribute such literature, because there is some urgency about this, you could consider waiving the rule.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) has raised a matter to which consideration has been given on other occasions. If the door were opened for unfranked or unstamped correspondence to come from special interests in connection with devolution, I 1513 believe that it would be impossible to close the door to special interests involving every other Bill that is being considered by the House.
The hon. Gentleman knows that, for very good reasons, the House authorities do not as a general practice accept unstamped letters in bulk to be delivered to hon. Members. I believe that we get a very good service. I would have liked to be able to help the hon. Gentleman but I fear that I cannot see any possibility of being able to do so.