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Point Of Order

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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2.7 pm

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it possible for a Minister inadvertently, no doubt, to mislead the House by not completing a quotation? In business questions, the acting Leader of the House told us in a quotation that the Electoral Commission

"knows of no reason in law why a budget should not be presented during an election campaign".
The quote continues:
"although by well-established convention significant government announcements are avoided in the 'purdah' period running up to general elections. April 9th is within the formal period of campaign to elections to the Scottish Parliament…and it seems right that announcements relevant to those nations should be similarly avoided. As a general principle, the Commission would wish to see as level a playing field as our political system will allow and for that reason"
does not like the Government to
"use its position during an election campaign in a way which might be perceived as seeking electoral advantage."
The acting Leader of the House is a fair-minded man. He has the opportunity to come to the Dispatch Box to make it clear that he was not attempting to mislead the House as to the views of the Electoral Commission.

That is not a point of order for the Chair, but the hon. Gentleman's comments are none the less on the record.

Bill Presented

Road And Street Works (Notice And Compensation)

Keith Vaz presented a Bill to require highway authorities, street authorities and statutory undertakers to give notice to residents and businesses of road and street works; to provide for compensation if a notice is not issued; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed. [Bill 87].

Delegated Legislation

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6)(Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation),

Northern Ireland

That the draft Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2003, which was laid before this House on 24th March, be approved.— [Dan Norris.]

Question agreed to.