New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I apologise for not giving you advance notice of this point of order. Yesterday, I was quite shocked, when attending a meeting of colleagues, to find at least two – one male, one female – in tears at the prospect, yet again, having twice taken the difficult decision to vote against a three-line Whip, of being put in the position of having to decide whether to do so or not. At what point will there be some protection, particularly for younger Members, so that they are not put in that situation by being asked to come back again and again and again to vote on the same proposition?

[Mr Speaker: I think the right hon. Gentleman’s point – of which, as he says, I had no advance notice – stands in its own right. Many people will feel that it is a powerful observation. There are a number of reasons for the long-established convention that the House is not asked to decide the same question more than once in the same Session. The reason invoked by the right hon. Gentleman was not, from my study of history, part of the original rationale for it, but in my own view it is a powerful reinforcement of the continuing case for the convention. He has made an extremely important point, and it is something on which colleagues at all levels need to reflect.]