Skip to main content

Points of Order

Volume 515: debated on Monday 6 September 2010

May I ask you to make a ruling, Mr Speaker? My hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) has put before the House evidence that he was hacked into—[Laughter.] It is not a laughing matter. He had to take the initiative, and he has invited the Home Secretary to write to the Metropolitan police to find out whether any other hon. Members have had their phones hacked into. The Home Secretary has, extraordinarily, refused to do that. On behalf of the House, is that a matter that you will raise with the Metropolitan police?

It is not for me to raise the matter with the Metropolitan police. [Interruption.] Order. The hon. Gentleman has raised what I think is intended to be a point of order. In response, I say that there has been no breach of parliamentary order today. There is no doubt that there is considerable consternation in this place about the matter, and I granted the urgent question in recognition of that. Exchanges have taken place, and they are very clearly on the record. It is, of course, open to hon. Members from any party further to pursue those matters. It is perfectly possible that that will happen. For all I know, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Jack Dromey) may be one of those who is keen to take up the matter in other ways on other occasions.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Obviously, I do not wish to disagree with you, but hon. Members’ security falls squarely on you along with the Serjeant at Arms. I would hope that the security of our mobile phones, internet and e-mails is a matter for you and the Serjeant at Arms. Indeed, that matter was rightly pursued a couple of years ago. It seems clear that there are dozens of Members of Parliament whose phones may have been intercepted, and about whom the police already know that there is a question, but those people—people in the Chamber—do not know whether they have been intercepted. May I suggest that either you, or, if you still feel that it should not be you, perhaps the Serjeant at Arms, might write to the Metropolitan police and say that it would better satisfy the House if any hon. Member who has been the subject of Mr Mulcaire’s attentions were notified of that?

It is always a pleasure to hear the hon. Gentleman. In prefacing his inquiry with the words that he used, he reminds me of the person who begins a criticism by saying, “With great respect,” meaning nothing of the kind. I simply say to him that it is not appropriate—I feel sure that he will accept this—to discuss security on the Floor of the House. He is a very experienced parliamentarian. There are all manner of ways in which matters can be raised with me and with others, and that often necessarily must be done outside of the Chamber, so I rest at this point upon what I said in response to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Jack Dromey).

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. At Prime Minister’s Question Time on 21 July this year, my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr Straw) asked the Deputy Prime Minister, in the light of the latter’s recently published letter to Mr Graham Honeyman of Sheffield Forgemasters, to correct the statement that he made to the House on 22 June that the owners of the company had not wished to dilute their shareholding in the business. The Deputy Prime Minister failed to do so on that occasion, and the impression was left that although a mistake had been made, it was an honest one.

Order. I am afraid that I must at this point interrupt the hon. Gentleman, because from what he is saying, my strong sense is that he has written to me on the matter. If I surmise correctly that he has done so, I assure him that I will respond in writing, but at this point, I shall leave it there. I am grateful to him for what he has said, and I know that he will be grateful to me for what I have said.