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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 16:02 GMT
MP's marathon speech sinks bill
Andrew Dismore
Mr Dismore needed only water to see him through
An MP has talked - and talked and talked - his way into the record books with a speech lasting 197 minutes.

Andrew Dismore's marathon oration - the longest this century - blocked a bill to clarify the degree of force a householder can use against intruders.

It beat the previous 181-minute record - already held by the eloquent Mr Dismore - Labour MP for Hendon.

But even his latest effort is well short of the all-time Commons record of six hours, by Henry Brougham in 1828.

'Vigilante law'

Mr Dismore, who started his speech at 1113 GMT, said the Criminal Law (Amendment) (Protection of Property) Bill amounted to "vigilante law".

He warned: "The bill is unclear, uncertain and will result in people facing prosecution where, at present, they do not."

Conservative backbencher Anne McIntosh, who proposed the legislation, said: "The time has come to redress the balance."

The present law allowing "reasonable force" was not satisfactory and a proper deterrent was needed.

But, armed only with a sheaf of papers and several reference books, he was still speaking as time ran out for the measure at 1430 GMT.

Beware: Greeks bearing rucksacks

For fortification Mr Dismore - co-chairman of the All-Party Wine and Spirit Group - drank only from a cup of water.

Westminster tourists in a hurry should beware, as the 51-year-old MP claims he "speaks Greek and French to a reasonable conversational level".

The bill now stands no chance of becoming law. The practice employed by Mr Dismore is known as filibustering, or "talking out" legislation.

Ms McIntosh accused him of "negative behaviour" and said Labour was "out of touch" on crime.

However, Mr Dinmore said: "On a Friday, many bills are talked out, all the time, and bills which I very much agreed with have been talked out by Anne McIntosh's friends."

The 20th-Century record for the longest Commons speech is held by Tory barrister Sir Ivan Lawrence.

The then MP for Burton spoke for four hours 23 minutes during the Fluoridation Bill's committee stage on March 6, 1985.

In February 1983, Labour's John Golding spoke for 11 hours on the Telecommunications Bill.

But, as this was at a standing committee and not in the Commons chamber, he was also able to take breaks for lunch and dinner.

SEE ALSO
MP's marathon speech blocks bill
16 Jul 04 |  Politics
Filibustering
16 Jul 05 |  Politics

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