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Points of Order

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

I need your help and advice on this matter, Mr. Speaker. On 26 April, I asked the former Home Secretary whether foreign nationals due for deportation were placed on the sex offenders register if they had committed a serious sexual offence, and the answer was not quite as clear as I had hoped. With your indulgence, I raised a point of order on 2 May, but still did not get a clear answer. I tabled questions on 4 May seeking information, but I have not received a holding reply. I subsequently asked a named day question, to be answered on 19 June, about the delays in answering my questions. Again, I have not even received a holding response. Given this clearly unacceptable situation, can you give me any advice on how I can gain the information that I seek?

I thank the hon. Lady for giving me notice of her point of order. As I have said on several occasions recently, it is important that Ministers give timely answers to parliamentary questions. I know that the Leader of the House shares that view, and I have no doubt that he will read what the hon. Lady has said on the record in tomorrow’s Hansard. I hope that he will pursue this matter. I would also say to the hon. Lady that in my experience perseverance is a very important thing in this House, and she should persevere.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As I am sure that you are aware, on 11 December the largest explosion that Europe has seen since the second world war took place in my constituency. It not only had catastrophic effects on the environment, but put nearly 4,000 jobs at risk. On the following day, I praised the Deputy Prime Minister for coming to the House to make a statement, but since then, more than six months later, not one ministerial statement, oral or written, has been made to the House about the effects of Buncefield and the ongoing inquiry. May I seek your advice, Mr. Speaker, on how we can get a Minister of any Department to come here to tell us what is going on?

I always say to hon. Members that if Ministers will not answer questions, the answer is to seek an Adjournment debate so that they are brought to the Floor of the House. I advise the hon. Gentleman to do that.