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Points of Order

Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Since I am sure that the Prime Minister inadvertently misled the House when he said I wanted to cut spending on—[Interruption.]

Order. I need to hear the hon. Gentleman’s point of order. I am the only one who has to stay and listen to it.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for staying. Since I am sure that the Prime Minister inadvertently misled the House when he said that I wanted to cut spending on the Metropolitan police, and since that is the exact opposite of the case—I want to get more police officers out on the beat to reverse the rise in violent crime over the past eight years and to restore to our streets, buses and station platforms a sense of safety and security—will you, Mr. Speaker, ask him to come as soon as possible to this Chamber to rectify that mistake?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your guidance on the actions of Members in relation to the work they do in other Members’ constituencies, and in particular on the actions of the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr. Wallace) in relation to the Tote in the Wigan constituency. The hon. Gentleman approached the Wigan Evening Post representative in the Press Gallery, and the paper ran a story about 650 job losses in Wigan because of the Tote being auctioned off to the private sector. I understand that the hon. Gentleman lists the Tote as paying him money in order to—[Interruption.]—bat on its behalf in his entry in the Register of Members’ Interests, but on the Monday following the story the Tote main board issued a statement refuting what the hon. Gentleman had said and saying that the story was untrue. Therefore, he was clearly not acting on its behalf at that time. At that time—

Order. The hon. Gentleman must give me clarity: what is his point of order? I have to be careful that a Member is not being attacked through the method of a point of order.

The point of order is whether or not it is right for an hon. Member from another constituency to brief the press about a false story, which has put fear into people and has undermined my work and that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) in our constituencies. That is interfering in the actions of my constituency, and it is against the rules of this House.

Having heard the circumstances, I must say that that is not a point of order—it is not a matter for the Chair. I make an appeal to hon. Members. I receive correspondence about comments made regarding one another’s constituencies, but it is best if the Speaker is not drawn into those matters. It is best if local MPs, regardless of party differences, can resolve the matters themselves without raising them on the Floor of the House. The matter ends there. It is not a point of order.

Order. I hope that the hon. Lady is not telling me about points of order, because I have forgotten more than she will ever learn about these matters.

Sorry, Mr. Speaker. It is just that Opposition Members do not listen to the rules of the House. I concur with my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Mr. Turner) about Opposition Members coming into my—

Order. Let me stop the hon. Lady there, because some of the correspondence to which I was referring is about wee local difficulties just north of this House, and I do not want to know about them. That is what I am trying to tell hon. Members—do not draw the Chair into these matters.

I am sure that the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Turner) did not mean to mislead the House, but he made an allegation that I received payment from the Tote and that that was in the Register of Members’ Interests. Of course when he examines the register, he will see that no such entry exists—nor did I receive any such payment. Would he perhaps take the opportunity to withdraw that scandalous allegation?

Order. As I said, it was not a proper point of order, but the hon. Gentleman has put the matter clearly on the record.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is right, is it not, that no Member should attempt to mislead this House? The hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Johnson) commented on what the Prime Minister said, but it should be recorded that in fact it was the Conservatives in the Greater London authority who opposed the introduction of safer neighbourhood teams.

Order. What the hon. Member for Henley said was perfectly in order. He said that the Prime Minister may have “inadvertently” misled the House. Often it is the words that we use in this place that keep us in order, and he used the term “inadvertently”.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister reiterated his intention that the European Union treaty should be debated at length and line by line—

Order. We are not going to extend Prime Minister’s Question Time—try that one next week, and who knows.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to draw your attention to the fact that during International Development questions we only got as far as Question 6. Would you try to do what you can to ensure that we make progress in these matters?

I always do. Of course, the hon. Lady will know that I called her on a supplementary, and that takes up time. If she did not stand, I would move on quickly, but that is not the point of the House, is it? The point of the House is to find a balance between getting through the Order Paper and allowing hon. Members to have their say.

I hope that the right hon. Member for Makerfield is not going to bring up the Tote again. I call Mr. Dismore.

Further to the point of order made by the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Johnson), Mr. Speaker. I believe that I first raised the question of cuts in the police according to his policy, and that was based on a report in the Evening Standard

Mr. McCartney, I hope that we are not going the re-open the matter of the Tote. I know that you are a constituency neighbour of the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Turner), but if this is not a point of order, I shall stop you, albeit reluctantly.

May I reassure you, Mr. Speaker that the way in which I will put this matter is in order? It is in order to raise this point of order. The hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr. Wallace) is not a constituency—