POINTS OF ORDER – PRIVATE MEMBERS BILLS – 19 July 2002

[Mr Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is there anything in our rules or procedures to protect the House against Members who allow their Bills to be on the Order Paper, thus raising expectations among other Members and people outside, but who gratuitously fail to be here on the day so that their Bill has no chance of making progress? Is there anything that can protect us from that casual attitude of Members to the House of Commons?

Mr Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): As in all matters, all hon. Members are expected to behave in a responsible way and are entirely responsible for their conduct in the House.]

Dr Julian Lewis: Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is there any way that one can place on record the fact that, so far at least, the vast majority of Members who have not shown up to move their Bills – if not all of them – are Labour Members?

[Mr Deputy Speaker: I think that the Official Report will show precisely what has happened and people may make their own interpretation.]

* * *

Dr Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I seek your guidance once again. Is there any way in which at least we can place on the record the fact that now, Labour Back Benchers' Bills are being killed by their own Government Whips?

[Mr Deputy Speaker: I think the hon. Gentleman has just done so.]

* * *

Dr Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Is there any way in which I can show for the record that a Government Whip has just blocked a Bill [Criminal Evidence (Prohibition Of Sale) (No. 2) Bill] that was modelled on another that arose out of the terrible Fred West murders case?

[Mr Deputy Speaker: No more than in the words that the hon. Gentleman has used.]