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Points Of Order

Volume 164: debated on Friday 12 January 1990

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to inquire whether you have received an application from a Government Department to make a statement about the serious case of rabies which has been discovered in northern France at Rouen, close to the coast. I raise this matter because it is proposed that barriers are removed in 1992. The nation wants to know that we will be protected from the spread of this serious disease. Britain is one of only two countries in the Common Market that are rabies free.

I have not been told that there will be a statement, and I probably will not be informed about it before 10 o'clock.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am aware that a problem with the acoustics in the House has been drawn to your attention. I just presented a petition on behalf of the deaf and I had great difficulty in following last night's debate. Before Christmas constituents drew my attention to the fact that the background babble that was all too evident in the radio broadcasts of our proceedings seemed to have completely disappeared from the television broadcasts. Since the introduction of television to the House something must have happened to the general acoustics in the Chamber.

I do not know about that. If the hon. Member feels that that has happened, he should draw that matter to the attention of the Select Committee on Televising of Proceedings of the House. The sound from the microphones at the back of the seats was raised with me last night. There appears to be some diminution, and I am having the matter investigated.

Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. It was extremely difficult to hear yesterday. I know that there is a babble of background noise, but I noticed that when I listened to a Minister on the radio this morning, her voice came over much more clearly than it would have done in the House. That is wrong. We cannot wait until the completion of the television experiment before the microphones are looked at, because we cannot do our work properly.

This matter was raised yesterday with the Leader of the House and it is certainly being investigated.