HC Deb 09 May 1983 vol 42 c631
The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to make a brief announcement about business.

In view of the Prime Minister's announcement, I think that it would be for the convenience of the House if we were not to proceed with the main business on today's Order Paper, the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill, but to move to item 2, the motion on the European Community document on the special programme to combat hunger in the world.

Following discussions through the usual channels, the business for the remainder of the week will be rearranged and I propose to make a further statement to the House later today. It is my intention that the House should be given appropriate advance warning of my statement.

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, Central)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I thought I heard the Leader of the House refer to an announcement by the Prime Minister. It is the custom, I think, for such announcements to be made to the House of Commons. This is gross discourtesy. Are you aware, Mr. Speaker, that I first knew of the announcement from a member of the Press Gallery? That was the first indication that I had. What has happened is gross discourtesy.

Mr. John Silkin (Deptford)

Further to the point of order raised by the Leader of the House, Mr. Speaker. We look forward with great pleasure to the rearrangement of business that the right hon. Gentleman will put before us. In the meantime, may I, on behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends, say that we are delighted that we are not to proceed with the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill?

Mr. Frank Allaun (Salford, East)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Am I to understand, from the announcement that has been made, that the two-day debate on defence, during which the Government's policies would have been under severe attack, is to be jettisoned?

Mr. Speaker

We must await the business statement that is to be made later today.