HC Deb 11 January 1993 vol 216 cc606-7
41. Mr. Bowis

To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will bring forward proposals for the reform of the points of order procedure.

Mr. Newton

Points of order, by their very nature, do not arise in a regular or predictable way and I see little scope for a rigid, regulated procedure. It is for the Chair to determine whether points of order are genuine and to give rulings as appropriate.

Mr. Bowis

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the most often heard words in this House are, "This is not a matter for me"? Would it not be a blessing to Madam Speaker if the House took action to remove from her shoulders the burden of tedium caused by the most abused procedure in the House?

Mr. Newton

I note that my right hon. Friend the Chairman of the Procedure Committee is in his place and I congratulate him and my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Sir P. Hordern) on becoming my right hon. Friends. He will have heard what my hon. Friend has said, but I am sure that the Procedure Committee would wish to respond were Madam Speaker to suggest that she saw a need for such consideration.

Mr. Cryer

Does the Leader of the House accept that interference with the right of Members of Parliament to raise issues on points of order—issues that are often substantial—and the removal of the Speaker's right to determine such issues, making them subject to political pressure, would be opposed by many hon. Members? Points of order are a time-honoured and useful way to raise important issues and they should not be interfered with.

Mr. Newton

Yes, despite my occasional or perhaps even more than occasional disagreement with the hon. Gentleman, he makes some very good points. Everyone would agree that, although we recognise and deplore abuse when it clearly occurs, we should need to be careful before taking too many rights away from too many people.