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Points of Order

Volume 511: debated on Tuesday 15 June 2010

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Are you aware that the report that we have just discussed is not available to Members of the House? Would it not be appropriate, if we are to have a proper debate on the matter, to have full copies of the report distributed to us?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for airing the concern that he and others might feel on this matter. I think that the House is aware of the special conditions that have obtained in relation to this report and of the arrangements made for advance sight under controlled conditions for it to be read. I certainly think it important—I hope this helps the hon. Gentleman—that all Members should have sufficient time to study the report fully before a debate takes place. Even though the hon. Gentleman is a new Member, he has taken the opportunity to raise this point of order in a very timely way in the presence of senior people who, I feel sure, will have taken note of what he has said.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I hesitate and only tentatively raise this point of order with you, but it has previously been the practice in the House that where a statement is made, hon. Members wishing to ask questions about it should be present at the beginning and rising throughout that statement, and preference is then usually given to those who are. Has there been any change to existing practice on that?

There has been no change, and I would want to say to the hon. Gentleman that I do not want to travel down that route. If I were an uncharitable and ungenerous fellow and of an unusually suspicious frame of mind, none of which things is true, I would think that the hon. Gentleman was challenging the judgment of the Chair as to whom to call.

As I am none of those things, however, and because the hon. Gentleman shakes his head in disavowal, I am happy to accept that that is not so. I look very carefully to see who is trying to contribute, and, as I think the record shows, I try, subject to limitations of time, to accommodate everybody who wishes to do so. It is probably worth saying that this statement ran longer than I would ordinarily allow a statement to run, but I think that colleagues will appreciate that there were very special reasons for doing so today.