HC Deb 11 November 1985 vol 86 cc313-6 3.31 pm
Mr. Douglas Hogg (Grantham)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to raise a matter of which I have given you notice. You will know that in Friday's debate on the Loyal Address the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) made an extremely lengthy speech. He prefaced that speech by levelling the gravest possible charge against my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He said: The Chancellor of the Exchequer is perverting the course of justice."—[Official Report, 8 November 1985; Vol. 86, c. 256.] On the face of it, that is a very grave accusation. It is difficult to think of any graver accusation that could be made against a Privy Councillor and a member of the Government.

The hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch did not refer to the Chancellor again. In the course of his extremely long speech he made absolutely no attempt to justify that gravest of allegations against a right hon. Member. Is it not a gross abuse of this House for an hon. Member to come to this place and not even seek to substantiate such a grave allegation? Is it not right, therefore, that the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch, who is in his place, should have this opportunity to make a statement, to apologise and to withdraw what he said?

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. A point of order has been put to me and I think that I should deal with it at once.

I was not in the Chair when the statement in question was made, but I have read the speech of the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore), and in particular the allegation to which the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) has referred.

This was a serious reflection on the conduct of the Chancellor, and, as the House knows, it is our rule that one Member should not cast such a reflection on another unless the debate is based on a substantive motion dealing directly with the conduct complained of. In making this allegation in the debate on the Loyal Address, the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch breached that rule of order.

I am sure that the House would not wish a personal allegation of that kind, touching the honour of an hon. Member, to remain on the record. I therefore ask the hon. Member concerned to withdraw the comment.

Mr. Brian Sedgemore (Hackney, South and Shoreditch)

I appreciate the concern of the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) about the difficulties that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is in—[Interruption.]—and I appreciate your concern over this matter, Mr. Speaker. You will know that there has been an exchange of letters today between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and myself.

When I was sent to this House, my constituents expected me to call Ministers to account, and to do so without fear or favour. What has happened in this case is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a grave, constitutional error and I believe that the right course would be for the Prime Minister this afternoon to call for his resignation. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Is the hon. Member saying, in effect, that he is repeating the allegation that he made on Friday?

Mr. Sedgemore

I should like to take the easy way out—the coward's way—and withdraw, but, with great regret, I cannot do that. The public outside expect the truth and, with even greater regret, I repeat the allegation.

Mr. Speaker

If the hon. Member will not withdraw that allegation, I shall be forced to name him. I give him one further chance: will the hon. Member withdraw that allegation?

Mr. Sedgemore

I cannot withdraw that allegation, because it is true.

Mr. Speaker

In that case, I name Mr. Brian Sedgemore.

Motion made, and Question put, That Mr. Brian Sedgemore be suspended from the service of the House.—[Mr. Biffen.]

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The House proceeded to a Division

Mr. Skinner

We have been gagged from speaking on the matter.

Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)

(seated and covered): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the comments that you made a few moments ago about the conduct of hon. Members in the House, would not it be in order to require the Minister of State, Home Office to come and make an apology to the House in the light of what he said the other day about hon. Members abusing their position in dealing with immigration problems?

Mr. Speaker

The two cases are in no way connected.

Ms. Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood)

(seated and covered): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I cannot accept that there is no connection between the two cases. You said in your ruling that it was against the rules of the House for one hon. Member to call into question the integrity of another. That is exactly what the Minister of State, Home Office did. If you are to be consistent, you must surely deal with his breach in the same way as you are dealing with the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney. South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore).

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Lady will know that I received a letter about the allegations made by the Minister of State, Home Office, questioning whether they were a breach of privilege. I am naming the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) because he refused to obey my request to withdraw his statement.

The House having divided: Ayes 204, Noes 45.

Division No. 1] [3.36 pm
Adley, Robert Bellingham, Henry
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Best, Keith
Ancram, Michael Biffen, Rt Hon John
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Biggs-Davison, Sir John
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Boscawen, Hon Robert
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Baldry, Tony Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Beith, A. J. Brittan, Rt Hon Leon
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes) Latham, Michael
Browne, John Lawler, Geoffrey
Bruce, Malcolm Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Bruinvels, Peter Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Bryan, Sir Paul Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Lester, Jim
Buck, Sir Antony Lilley, Peter
Burt, Alistair Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Lyell, Nicholas
Cartwright, John McCrindle, Robert
Chalker, Mrs Lynda MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Channon, Rt Hon Paul MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Chapman, Sydney McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) McQuarrie, Albert
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Madel, David
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) Major, John
Colvin, Michael Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Coombs, Simon Mates, Michael
Cope, John Mather, Carol
Cormack, Patrick Maude, Hon Francis
Couchman, James Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Cranborne, Viscount Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Currie, Mrs Edwina Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Dickens, Geoffrey Meyer, Sir Anthony
Dicks, Terry Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Dormand, Jack Mitchell, David (Hants NW)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Dover, Den Monro, Sir Hector
du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Moore, John
Durant, Tony Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Dykes, Hugh Moynihan, Hon C.
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Mudd, David
Eggar, Tim Murphy, Christopher
Emery, Sir Peter Neale, Gerrard
Evennett, David Nelson, Anthony
Favell, Anthony Neubert, Michael
Fletcher, Alexander Newton, Tony
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Norris, Steven
Foster, Derek Onslow, Cranley
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Ottaway, Richard
Fox, Marcus Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Franks, Cecil Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Freeman, Roger Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Freud, Clement Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Gow, Ian Pawsey, James
Greenway, Harry Penhaligon, David
Gummer, Rt Hon John S Portillo, Michael
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)
Hannam, John Proctor, K. Harvey
Harris, David Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Radice, Giles
Haselhurst, Alan Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Hayward, Robert Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hind, Kenneth Roe, Mrs Marion
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Rossi, Sir Hugh
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Rowe, Andrew
Hordern, Sir Peter Rowlands, Ted
Howard, Michael Ryder, Richard
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock) Sackville, Hon Thomas
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk N) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Jessel, Toby Silvester, Fred
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Johnston, Sir Russell Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Jones, Robert (W Herts) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Speed, Keith
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Squire, Robin
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Stanley, John
Kennedy, Charles Steel, Rt Hon David
King, Roger (B'ham N'field) Stewart, Ian (Hertf'dshire N)
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Stokes, John
Kirkwood, Archy Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Lang, Ian Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman Waller, Gary
Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M. Ward, John
Thompson, Donald (Calder V) Wardle, C, (Bexhill)
Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N) Watts, John
Thorne, Neil (Ilford S) Whitney, Raymond
Thurnham, Peter Wilkinson, John
Townend, John (Bridlington) Williams, Rt Hon A.
Twinn, Dr Ian Young, Sir George (Acton)
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Younger, Rt Hon George
Viggers, Peter
Wakeham, Rt Hon John Tellers for the Ayes:
Waldegrave, Hon William Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones and
Walden, George Mr. Tim Sainsbury.
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Benn, Tony O'Brien, William
Bidwell, Sydney Park, George
Boyes, Roland Pavitt, Laurie
Caborn, Richard Pendry, Tom
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Pike, Peter
Campbell-Savours, Dale Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Clarke, Thomas Richardson, Ms Jo
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Cohen, Harry Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Dixon, Donald Rowlands, Ted
Eadie, Alex Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Eastham, Ken Short, Mrs R. (W'hampt'n NE)
Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE) Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Flannery, Martin Soley, Clive
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Harman, Ms Harriet Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Haynes, Frank Wareing, Robert
Heffer, Eric S. Winnick, David
Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Marek, Dr John Tellers for the Noes:
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Mr. Dennis Skinner and
Maynard, Miss Joan Mr. Tony Banks.
Mikardo, Ian

Question accordingly agreed to.

Mr. Speaker

I direct the hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch to withdraw from the House.

The hon. Member withdrew accordingly.