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Points of Order

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I seek your guidance on a matter relating to the accuracy of the official record? In the debate on the Queen’s Speech on 25 November, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when speaking about Government action, said, “It is bringing unemployment down.” There was some reaction in the Chamber, given that unemployment has been rising for many months. She did not resile from that statement, but the official record does not include those words. It includes a softer version. May I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on how I can ensure that the words that the Secretary of State said are the words that appear on the record?

I say to the right hon. Lady that I shall happily check the record, and I shall come back to her when I have done so. I am grateful to her for her point of order.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wrote to you on Friday about this matter. I seek assurances that no decision by the Members Estimate Committee, or subsequent decision by the House reliant on the MEC’s recommendations, will prejudice a Member’s right to challenge a final decision, relating to so-called paybacks or restitution, in a court of law or an employment tribunal, that no deductions from salary or allowances will be attempted in respect of those payments until its legality is demonstrated in a process that is independent of the House of Commons and its Officers, and that such deductions should not be made until a Member has had the opportunity to test the issue of repayment in a court of law or employment tribunal.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The matter that he raises on the Floor of the House this afternoon by this device is one that he has raised with me in correspondence. I am grateful to him for that. I can only say to him today that the issues of concern to him are properly matters for discussion in the Members Estimate Committee, which will meet next week. He can be assured that the concerns that he has raised with me will be relayed to colleagues on the Committee and will be considered.