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Ragwort Control Bill

Volume 408: debated on Friday 11 July 2003

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Order read for consideration, as amended.

9.34 am

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My point of order is about Wednesday's transport statement. As you will know, Mr. Speaker has always taken the view that the House must be informed of important statements before the media and the outside world. It has become clear to me from discussions with members of the media that information that was made available to Members only after the Secretary of State's statement, in line with normal practice, had been available to journalists some time before by means of an embargoed statement.

I raise with you as a matter of principle the question of whether the provision of material on an embargoed basis to members of the media some hours in advance of a statement being made, so they have information that they can use—no doubt they can write their stories without having access to the views of Members, other than Ministers—is a practice that is consistent with Mr. Speaker's view that Members should be informed before the media. I should be grateful for any advice that you can give on this matter.

I understand the point that the hon. Gentleman is making. Mr. Speaker's views on these matters are well known, and the hon. Gentleman's points will no doubt be noted.