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Points of Order

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Leader of the House mentioned Europe a few moments ago. You will recall that we spent a number of days considering the Lisbon treaty, which is designed to steal from this House and the people whom we represent many of our cherished freedoms and rights. I seek your guidance, because in doing so much of the treaty was not considered, many amendments were not reached and the line-by-line scrutiny that we usually enjoy in Committee did not take place. Given that the British people are to be denied the referendum that they were promised and now crave, how can that be put right and how can we avoid repetition of such a parody of parliamentary scrutiny?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your guidance on an issue very important to my constituents. On Tuesday, during Justice questions, I raised the fact that an organisation called ClearSprings is creating open prisons across Basildon district by buying residential properties and converting them. The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, the right hon. Member for Delyn (Mr. Hanson), responded by saying that Basildon district council had failed to use its veto. I have subsequently been assured by the council that that is not the case, that it made clear its universal opposition in writing at the earliest possible moment and that it was told that the Ministry of Justice would ignore that anyway. The Minister of State appears inadvertently to have misled the House, and I seek your advice—

Order. When such a matter comes up during a debate, it is open to any hon. Member to go back to his or her local authority and get the facts. The hon. Gentleman can pursue that matter by going to the Table Office and seeking to put down questions, now that he has extra facts. It is not for me to be drawn into this argument.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This is definitely one for you, Sir. At column 299 of yesterday’s Hansard, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families made a sedentary intervention, allegedly saying, “So weak!” Apart from the fact that he is out on his own in thinking that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition was making a weak speech, a large number of people on this side and in the Gallery—journalists—heard him say “So what?” There is a site called YouTube on the net, Mr. Speaker, and you can listen to the video. I reckon that I can hear “what” being said. Could you arrange for the editor of the Official Report to tell the House whether, or to make a statement as to whether, the Secretary of State or anybody on his behalf approached Hansard to have it doctored?

I have checked with the Officers of the House and they tell me that they are satisfied—more important still, the editor of Hansard is satisfied—that it is a correct record of yesterday’s proceedings.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your advice. During business questions, the Leader of the House accused me and smeared me by saying that I had misled the House in a statement that I had made. This is a smear on my character, and I ask for it to be withdrawn.

I think that the Leader of the House said that it was a misleading picture that the hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.] He is saying no, but my hearing is excellent—I can assure you of that—and it was a “misleading picture”. That is different from saying that the hon. Gentleman was misleading the House. Perhaps now he can go up to the Gallery and see the draft record; that would be helpful to him.