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Points of Order

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Nearly two weeks ago, at Prime Minister’s Question Time, the Prime Minister assured me that he would look into whether a No. 10 staffer had taken part in a conference call discussing the suitability of Stephen Purcell in July 2008. Asked about that yesterday on the BBC’s “Politics Show”, the Prime Minister said that he would investigate the matter, which seems to suggest that he had not looked into it at all.

Given your recent ruling on the reasonable length of time that Ministers have in which to reply to Members, Mr. Speaker, could you guide me on how the Prime Minister can be encouraged to do what he says he is going to do?

The hon. Gentleman has put his views, and indeed his dissatisfaction, fairly and squarely on the record. As he knows, however, and as the House is aware, responsibility for the content of answers is not a matter for the Chair.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. All directory enquiry services, including 118118, are giving my office number instead of the House of Commons switchboard number to people who ask for the telephone number of the House of Commons. Since 18 January this year, we have been fielding your calls and everyone else’s calls. The various directory enquiry services will not change that number unless PICT—the Parliamentary Information and Communications Technology department—tells them to do so. PICT has been on the case for several months, and has still not done that. Can you help, Mr. Speaker? It may be funny—I admit that it is amusing—but it is not good for the public image of this place if members of the public are passed from pillar to post, notwithstanding the charm and efficiency of my office staff.

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who is obviously extremely perturbed about this important matter. It is, however, something that he should follow up with the director of PICT, and I have a feeling—just a hunch—that she will be hearing from him very soon.