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Points of Order

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will know the rules concerning the reporting of contingency liabilities: no contingent is allowed to proceed without examination if a Member of this House formally objects. Given that the Ministry of Defence suggests in a departmental minute dated 17 February that it is looking to increase the initial contingent liability on the defence training review project from £9.5 million to a staggering £40 million, without any ministerial statement, may I ask that it be put on the record that I am formally objecting to this MOD minute and new contingent liability?

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I, too, have discovered that there are just two copies in existence of a Ministry of Defence departmental minute dated 17 February relating to a contingent liability of £250,000 for which there is no specific statutory authority. The minute states:

“If, during the period of fourteen Parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this Minute was laid before Parliament, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or by otherwise raising the matter in Parliament, final approval to proceed with incurring the liability will be withheld”.

I am raising this matter now. This sort of thing is happening too often and only two documents are being produced—it is sneaky and it has to stop.

The hon. Gentleman has put the matter on the record and, as I said previously, I shall leave it at that.