POINT OF ORDER – PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE – 24 April 2012

Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, of which I have given you notice. Very recently, in the course of an Adjournment debate, both an hon. Labour Member and myself were refused by a Minister the opportunity to make a brief intervention while he had the floor. He explained in all sincerity afterwards that he thought one had to ask permission in advance of an Adjournment debate – both of the hon. Member whose Adjournment debate it is and of the Minister concerned – whether one could make such an intervention. For the sake of the clarity, would you make an pronouncement on that? If, as I suspect, interventions do not require that sort of prior permission, would you undertake to let Ministers know for the future?

[Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for his advance notice of his intention to raise it. The answer is that permission to intervene in an Adjournment debate is not required from the Minister, the Member whose debate it is or the Chair. Permission is required if a Member is seeking to make a speech in the debate. I am constantly struck by how little understood that important distinction is between interventions, which do not require permission, and speeches, which do. I hope the position is now clear to the hon. Gentleman and the House, and I am very happy to inform Ministers more widely, either directly, or through the good offices of the right hon. Gentleman who serves as the Patronage Secretary, and who conveniently is loitering, with or without intent, at the Bar of the House. I hope that is helpful.]