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Dr. Nick Palmer accordingly presented a Bill to make requirements regarding the minimum size of print in certain documents, including those relating to advertising and contracts; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 14 March, and to be printed [Bill 76].
That the Order of 28(th) January be further amended as follows: in the Table, in the entry for Allotted Day 7, in the third column:
(a) for 4Â1/2 hours substitute 3 hours, and
(b) for 1Â1/2 hours substitute 3 hours. [Ms Diana R. Johnson.]
Mr. Edward Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) (LD): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Will the Chair reconsider the decision not to select the Liberal Democrat amendment for a referendum on Britains membership of the EU? That is the question that goes to the heart of the debate before the House. That is the debate that people want to hear. We are being gagged, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): Order. I understand the hon. Gentlemans point of order, but having made it he must not go on and start debating the matter. The selection of amendments is made by Mr. Speaker, and is not open for questioning in the House. Hon. Members will have every opportunity to discuss these matters when we embark[Hon. Members: When?] Order. During the course of the debate.
Mr. Nick Clegg (Sheffield, Hallam) (LD): Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I share the dismay of my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey). What guidance can you give me on how we can secureif not today, at some point during the remaining stages of the Billthe opportunity to debate the issue that many Members want debated and many members of the public want debated: our future membership of the EU?
I have raised procedural questions about the Bill with Mr. Speaker and other occupants of the Chair. I have asked for guidance from Officers of the House on the drafting of amendments that will be selectablegenerally, on the Bill, not just on this issue.
I have been told that we must see the Clerks. My colleagues have been to see the Clerks and have taken advice from them. They have submitted amendments that the Clerks have told them are in order. Please will you tell me and those other colleagues who have made points of order on the Bill what more we have to do to have a point of order accepted that allows an amendment to be debated in the House on an issue that a quarter of the British people represented here want to be debated and many people regularly tell us ought to be debated? What else do we have to do, because we have followed the rules that we have been given?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: All the hon. Gentleman has done is to confirm how carefully this matter has been studied by everybody concerned. Following that careful study, Mr. Speaker has made his selection of amendments for today; that must be the end of it for today.
provision in connection with the Treaty of Lisbon Amending the Treaty on European Union.
In that context, I simply say that the treaty has been described by the European Scrutiny Committee, on which I sit, as substantially equivalent to the original constitution. The Liberal Democrats have broken their promises.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman is a very experienced Member of this House and knows that we are not at this point in time discussing the Bill. We are discussing the motion before the House. I suggest that we now start on that.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The outrage to the House is in danger of being the hon. Gentlemans attitude to the Chair [Interruption.] Order. He has made his point. I have told him already how matters stand. There will be opportunities to discuss these matters[Hon. Members: When?] There will be opportunities to discuss these matters at a different time.
If the hon. Gentleman persists in arguing with Mr. Speakers selection for amendments today, I shall be extremely annoyed. He has made his point;
everybody has understood it. It is firmly on the record. Now I must insist that we get on with the debate. I call Mr. Jim Murphy.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order [ Interruption .] Order. I am afraid that I am now going to have to warn the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey) about his conduct. If he persists, stronger measures will have to be taken. Having made his point, he really is now abusing his position.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. [Interruption.] Order. The hon. Gentleman must understand that I am not prepared to allow this matter to be pursued any further. As I have said, he has made his point firmly this afternoon. It is on the record in the way he sought to make it. If he wishes to pursue it after this afternoon, he can explore other ways of doing things. I cannot do anything other than abide by the selection for this afternoons business, which Mr. Speaker has made in accordance with the rules of the House. As I have already explained, it is not open to being questioned in the way the hon. Gentleman is seeking to. I call Mr. Jim Murphy.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I warn the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton that unless he obeys the authority of the Chair, I shall have no alternative but to order him to withdraw from the House. That means that the hon. Gentleman will have to leave the precincts of the Palace of Westminster and that he will not be able to vote for the rest of the day.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I think that I have made the position entirely clear to the hon. Gentleman. I repeat to him that he has had every opportunity to make the point that he sought to make, and I think that we should now move on to the debate.
The hon. Member, having conducted himself in a grossly disorderly manner, was ordered by Mr. Deputy Speaker , pursuant to Standing Order No. 43 (Disorderly conduct), to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of this days sitting, and he withdrew accordingly.
That this House approves the Governments policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning the effectiveness of the EU institutions and EU decision-making.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. We are now going to continue with this afternoons debate in the way that we should [ Interruption. ] Order. Hon. Gentlemen and hon. Ladies must understand that the order of this House is every bit as important as the kind of matters that they are seeking to raise. It is crucial to the good order of this House that they respect the occupant of this Chair. I really do think that the Members in question have gone far enough today to make the points that they wish to make. If they want to continue, there are other ways of doing it[Hon. Members: How?] There are other ways of doing what they seek to do. I call Mr. Jim Murphy.
Mr. Murphy: As I was saying, we are debating the institutional reforms introduced by the Lisbon treaty. Those fall into two categories: first, reforms to the existing EU institutions to allow them to function more effectively
Mr. Redwood: Does the Minister agree that it is a discourtesy to him and the House that the Liberal Democrats, after synthetic anger about their broken promise, should now have almost entirely removed themselves from the Chamber when those most important issues, in which they say that they are interested, are up for debate? We should now ask: where are they?
Mr. Murphy: That is not an issue for the Government or for any individual Minister. All that I would say in passing is that on the issue of Europe, the Liberal Democrats, in principle, see the benefits of our continued membership and continued involvement in the European Union and support the reforms in the treaty. As to the conduct of individual Members of Parliament, that is an issue for the Speaker or the occupant of the Chair, not for Government Ministers.
Mr. Ian Davidson (Glasgow, South-West) (Lab/Co-op): Has the Minister noticed that we never had this sort of difficulty when my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire, South (Mr. Alexander) was the Europe Minister?
Mr. Murphy: We did not have this sort of difficulty under any of the other eight Europe Ministers who have served during the past 10 years, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) and my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, North (Mr. Henderson), who are sitting in front of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, South-West (Mr. Davidson). I do not know whether it is down to me or not, but I will try to make some progress.
Bob Spink (Castle Point) (Con): I apologise to the House, but I would like to take us back to the debate in question. On 20 February, when I asked the Minister to set out the details of the role of the president of the European Council, he said that discussions on these issues have not yet started. How can we be debating the effectiveness of EU institutions when we do not even know what the role of the president will be?
Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and East Falkirk) (Lab): I hoped to avoid the situation where I am asking the Minister questions after he speaks about something he should have mentioned. He mentioned the role of national Parliaments. Will he tell us today how our national Parliament will adopt procedures, and which specific procedures it will adopt to allow us to have a say on the subsidiarity checkthe orange and yellow cards?
Mr. Murphy: My hon. Friend has paid close attention to these matters for a period of months. It would be wrong for me to announce at the Dispatch Box today how we intend to organise Parliament to enable what he asks about to happen. That is a matter for continuing dialogue with members of the European Scrutiny Committeeof which my hon. Friend is the Chairand perhaps even, in time, members of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and of the Select Committee on the European Union in the other place. It is important that the Government do not announce, without consultation, the most effective way in which improvements to the involvement of national Parliaments will come into effect in the UK arrangements.
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