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Points of Order

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. On 3 December, during the Queen’s Speech debate, I intervened on the Prime Minister to ask when the Government would formally produce a response to the parliamentary ombudsman’s report on Equitable Life. He assured me, in this Chamber, that the Government’s response would come before the House of Commons before the Christmas recess. That has not happened, and it will not happen now. I am appalled that the Prime Minister should make a commitment of such magnitude and then renege on it. Is there any chance that we could bring him before the House to explain himself?

That is not a point of order for the Chair. However, the hon. Gentleman’s comments are on the record and of course this House still has two further days to sit before the Christmas recess.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Chair of this Chamber has a great tradition of protecting the interests of Back Benchers, but today is estimates day and Back Benchers have lost some 2 hours and 38 minutes of debate on those estimates. Is there any way that Back Benchers can be protected, so that our Select Committee reports can be discussed without any loss of time for debating other matters such as we have witnessed this afternoon?

I understand the right hon. Gentleman’s concerns, and that it is important for Back Benchers to have the opportunity to contribute to debate. Again, I shall make sure that his remarks are brought to the attention of Mr. Speaker.