§ Mr. Gow
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to raise with you, Mr. Speaker, a matter that arises from a motion that stands in the name of the Prime Minister on today's Order Paper relating to the second motion that stands in the name of the Lord President of the Council. If the motion that is to be moved at 10 o'clock has any meaning, it is that the time allowed for the debate on the guillotine motion relating to the Wales Bill can proceed until any hour, whereas we are allowed only three hours 576 on the first motion relating to the Scotland Bill.
I remind you, Mr. Speaker, of the wording of Standing Order No. 44, which states:If a motion be made by a Minister of the Crown providing for the allocation of time to any proceedings on a bill Mr. Speaker shall, not more than three hours after the commencement of the proceedings on such a motion, proceed to put any question necessary to dispose of those proceedings.I underline the wordsnot more than three hours after the commencement of those proceedings.However, under the terms of the motion that appears on the Order Paper we are permitted to debate the guillotine on the Wales Bill until any hour. Does not the motion that stands in the name of the Prime Minister conflict with Standing Order No. 44?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) has rightly drawn attention to Standing Order No. 44. In fact I am prepared because I thought that this question might be raised.
The 10 o'clock motion enables debate on the allocation of time motion to be proceeded with at any time after 10 o'clock to the extent that it has not already been disposed of by that hour. However, under Standing Order No. 44 I have a quite separate duty to put the Question on such a motion at the end of three hours after the proceedings commence. I wish to make it clear, therefore, that the business motion does not remove that duty from the Chair.
There was a similar occasion on 20th July 1976. There were three allocation of time motions on that day. The House will recall that a similar 10 o'clock motion was tabled. The proceedings on the first motion were completed at 7.28 p.m. The debate on the second motion comenced immediately. It was interrupted at 10 o'clock for the moving of the suspension motion. It was then resumed and continued until 10.28 p.m., when the proceedings were interrupted and brought to a conclusion. The third motion was similarly debated and brought to a conclusion after three hours.