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Points of Order

Volume 491: debated on Tuesday 28 April 2009

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Please, please, may we have a statement on sixth-form funding? Many Members have expressed concern, both before and after the Easter recess, but we have not yet had a statement from the relevant Minister. Would you use your offices, Mr. Speaker, to bring the Secretary of State to the House?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You have often dealt with points of order from Conservative MPs complaining that other MPs visited their constituencies without giving them proper notice. The hon. Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) visited my constituency last week, but I learned about it from my local Echo, receiving notice from the hon. Gentleman only today. This is the third time that Conservative MPs have visited my constituency in recent months to electioneer without giving me proper notice. Perhaps all hon. Members ought to practise what they preach.

I have to be careful, but I shall make it quite clear for the record that if a Member of Parliament goes to a private constituency meeting—in another life, I used to be in the Labour party, so I know about these things—there is no need to notify the local MP. As for any public engagement—and I appeal to all Members of Parliament, as they have enough to do in their own constituencies without worrying about others—if Members believe that they have to go into another Member’s constituency, proper notice is important. I do not expect an e-mail on the day of the visit—proper courtesy is all that we ask for. I appeal to Members, so that I am not brought into this argument.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I echo the request from my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mr. Walker) for clarity regarding the Learning and Skills Council? I have three schools that are confused about the situation, and that will continue until a Minister comes to the House to tell us exactly what is happening regarding the funding shortfalls that our schools do not deserve.

Further to what I said to the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr. Walker), the matter will appear in Hansard and the Minister will have heard. Hon. Members can ask for an Adjournment debate in Westminster Hall, which can give them an hour and a half in some cases, or half an hour here on the Floor of the House, where I usually chair proceedings and enjoy very much the contributions that hon. Members make.