§ Mr. Roland Boyes (Houghton and Washington)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understand that this morning you were personally involved in refusing an early-day motion that I wished to table. The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) has today tabled an early-day motion condemning the University of Oxford for not giving an award to the Prime Minister. My early-day motion would have pointed out that Droylesden Littlemoss boys' county secondary modern school has not recognised its own favourite and most distinguished son, my hon. Friend the Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts).
Is it a sign of the class nature of the present Parliament that it is in order to table an early-day motion about the University of Oxford, but not in order to table an early-day motion about a secondary modern school? If you have turned down my request, Mr. Speaker, would you reconsider that decision? Many Labour Members who attended secondary modern schools find it offensive that those schools are not recognised in the same way as the University of Oxford.
§ Mr. Allan Roberts (Bootle)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I was deeply honoured when my colleagues came to me and suggested that my secondary modern school should be honouring me as it is suggested that the Prime Minister should be honoured by Oxford and Cambridge. It is suggested that the failure to honour me was a slight and it now appears that, as the early-day motion has been refused, there is an insult to my school as well. It gave me a good education — far better than the type of class education that is given at Oxford and Cambridge.
I am worried because the Clerk told me that the early-day motion would not be allowed because it was designed to annoy. I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that any early-day motion that suggests that there is something wonderful about honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge when there are no honours from Droylesden Littlemoss boys' county secondary modern school, which educated me, is not designed to annoy anyone except me, because that school gave me a very good education. I therefore hope that you will allow the early-day motion.
§ Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. While you are ruling on the point of order raised by my hon. Friends the Members for Houghton and Washington (Mr. Boyes) and for Bootle (Mr. Roberts), will you say whether it is in order to table a motion congratulating Oxford university on showing such good sense and making a decision that will be welcomed by most people?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member's point is a hypothetical question at the moment.
As for the first point of order, if the hon. Members for Houghton and Washington (Mr. Boyes) and for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) study "Erskine May", as I am sure they do, they will find that on page 382 it states clearly that an early-day motion of this type has been turned down by my predecessors because it istendered in a spirit of mockery".
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I have ruled, and in accordance with precedent. There is nothing more to be said.
§ Mr. Boyes
Yes. I now have to clear my own name. I study "Erskine May" every night before I go to sleep. There was no intention of directing mockery towards the Prime Minister but rather a desire to recognise the role of secondary modern schools. Would it be possible to have an audience of you, Mr. Speaker, to see whether there is any way around "Erskine May"?
§ Mr. Allan Roberts
Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wonder whether, in the discussions, we could take account of how many Clerks and Officers of the House went to Oxford and Cambridge.
§ Mr. Speaker
I should be very happy if the hon. Member for Bootle joined the hon. Member for Houghton and Washington.