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Points of Order

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I seek your guidance about the failure of the Department for Communities and Local Government to answer not one but three named-day questions that were due on 5 March. The questions, which I tabled on 26 February, relate to an apparent breach of planning law by the Minister for Housing and Planning. If that breach is confirmed it may well result in legal action by my constituents against the Department. Three weeks after answers were due, I have yet to receive an answer or even a holding reply from the Department. Will you confirm, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that that is in breach—I tried to identify whether it was—of Standing Order No. 22, and as you are the protector of our interests as Back Benchers, will you advise me how I can resolve the matter in the interests of my constituents?

This is something that the House rightly takes seriously. It may be helpful if the Leader of the House, who has heard what the hon. Gentleman said, seeks to catch my eye in furtherance of the point of order.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have obviously taken careful note of what the hon. Gentleman had to say. I shall follow it up and hope to get in touch with him later today.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. In Treasury questions, the Chancellor and the Economic Secretary both flatly refused to answer a straight question as to whether a senior Treasury official had given accurate information to the Select Committee yesterday. Is it possible, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for you to convey the message to the Treasury and to other senior Ministers that their reputations and the reputation of our proceedings are not enhanced outside the House by that sort of behaviour?

The hon. Gentleman must recognise that that is not a point of order for the Chair. The Leader of the House will have heard what he said, and I am sure that he is as interested as any right hon. or hon. Member to ensure that the fullest information is supplied to hon. Members. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman should recognise that all of us in our profession are sometimes fallible in giving the fullest of answers to the questions that we are asked in many different theatres.