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Points of Order

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You were good enough to inform Members that a review of Members’ allowances was to take place. As I understand it, you informed us that there should be a debate in July in connection with the Baker review on salaries and that the report on expenses and allowances should be ready for the autumn. As I say, we appreciate your keeping us informed. May I put it to you, Sir, in view of the public concern over the whole issue and the rather misleading impression that we are all on the make at public expense that, if it is in any way possible, the review should have greater urgency and should not wait until the autumn? I put it to you, too, that the matter is causing damage to the reputation of the House. The sooner we can resolve it, the better.

I say to the hon. Gentleman that the House unanimously—including him—agreed to put the matter to the Members Estimate Committee, which I chair. The House has charged me with a responsibility and I will carry out that duty until the House decides otherwise. That is a good thing for the reputation of the House.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Given the comments of the chief inspector of prisons at the weekend about the crisis into which the system has been plunged, could you tell me how I, in my relative naivety, can persuade the Government that the matter calls for an urgent statement, especially given that the Secretary of State for Justice is telling magistrates not to put people in prison?

The hon. Gentleman should table questions on those issues. If he wishes, he could apply for an Adjournment debate. Those are ways in which he can help matters.