§ Mr. Joseph Dean
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to bring to your attention events that took place in this Chamber yesterday and that had an effect on the other place. A statement was made by a noble Lord that was extremely damaging to the intentions of hon. Members, as a body and as individuals.
I have heard you, Mr. Speaker, rightly check hon. Members for referring to Members of the other place in not the most glowing terms. On one occasion one of my hon. Friends was ordered out of the Chamber, correctly, as a result of his references to a Member of the House of Lords.
Yesterday a supplementary question was asked of the Minister for Housing and Construction by a Government Back-Bencher. The Minister made a statement about an amendment dealing with stopping the sale of old people's accommodation that had been carried in the House of Lords. When that message was conveyed to Members of the House of Lords, Lord Harmar-Nicholls, a former Member of the House 1755 of Commons—so he cannot plead inexperience—said that Members of the other place should discount the amendment because it was a manoeuvre. He said:If I may be allowed to say so—and I know that it may not be happily accepted on the other side of this House—I believe that this is something of a manoeuvre."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 30th July 1980; Vol. 412, c. 886.]That was a calculated insult to the Opposition in the House of Commons. The inference was that we were involved in a manoeuvre. Members of the other place asked for a withdrawal after that ridiculous and outrageous allegation. Instead of acting in accordance with the practice in the Commons, Lord Harmar-Nicholls reiterated what he had said.
You, Mr. Speaker, are assiduous and thorough in your protection of Members of the House of Lords from Members of the Commons when they stray even a little. What guarantee can you give us, as a corporate body and as individuals, that in future people such as Lord Harmar-Nicholls will not be allowed to indulge in outrageous statements about us?
§ Mr. Speaker
I allowed the hon. Member to state his argument. Frequent references are made in this House to the House of Lords. Only when a Member of the House of Lords is criticised per- 1756 sonally do I intervene. References are made to the House of Lords. Indeed, some hon. Members go so far as to wish to abolish it. Offence might be taken in another place to that. I understand that there was no reference to any hon. Member by name.
§ Mr. Marlow
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understand that it is out of order for hon. Members to refer to other hon. Members as either liars or traitors. Equally, is it not, or should it not be. out of order to use such censorious, empty and insulting terms as "racist" and "fascist"? If that is the case, is it not wrong that Opposition Members have referred to my hon. Friends today as racist and fascist? Are they not themselves, by being contemptuous of the interests—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I always deplore personal attacks, because they add nothing to anyone's argument. However, I listened carefully. There was no identification of any hon. Member. I hope that there will not be.