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Points Of Order

Volume 226: debated on Wednesday 16 June 1993

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3.30 pm

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. A few weeks ago, during the debate on the White Paper about the coal industry, you along with the rest of us heard the President of the Board of Trade and others speak about saving so many pits. We wanted to save all 31, and the Minister said that they would save a few. The news has now reached us that one of the pits that the President of the Board of Trade said would be saved, not shut—Rufford, in the east midlands—is due for closure this weekend.

Have you, Madam Speaker, at any time received from the President of the Board of Trade an application to make a statement to the House so that we can ensure we have not been hoodwinked by the President—because it looks very much like it?

If any Minister had sought to make a statement today, it would have appeared on the Annunciator and we would all know about it.

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. It arises from my request to you earlier today for a private notice question—

Order. The hon. Gentleman should understand that once I have made a decision he cannot raise the issue with me.

I seek your advice and help in protecting the interests of my constituents, and I do so as a result of a matter that I discovered subsequent to my request to you this morning.

I now realise that on 9 June the Department of Transport published air accident report No. 3/93, briefed the press upon it and gave copies to the press. The report reveals matters of grave importance to my constituents. It shows that a pilot suffered structural damage to his aircraft but failed to declare an emergency although there was one. He asked leave to land at Heathrow airport, in my constituency, but was asked to go to Stansted. He assumed that that request was made because he would overfly—

Order. I cannot interest myself in the argument. The hon. Gentleman must put a clear point of order. Does the matter affect our Standing Orders or procedures?

I apologise, Madam Speaker. As you will appreciate, I do not often raise points of order, so I hope that you will allow a minimum amount of latitude.

The facts that I have given are essential to an understanding that my constituents, who suffered from the crash at Staines, are desperately worried.

I am able to tell you all this, Madam Speaker, only because of the media. I made inquiries and discovered that no local Member of Parliament was told by the Department of Transport and that no copy of the report has been deposited in the House. Is this something that you can look into to ensure that such matters are reported to the House?

It is a matter for the hon. Gentleman himself. As he knows, there are various procedures by which he can seek the information that he requires. He can seek to ask questions or apply for an Adjournment debate. Perhaps on reflection he will explore one of those avenues with a view to obtaining the information that he wants.

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Have you had a request from the Home Secretary to come to the House to make a statement about his announcement, which most Conservative Members welcome, to the media concerning the introduction of the expandable side-handled police baton?