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Point of Order

Volume 517: debated on Tuesday 2 November 2010

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Earlier this afternoon in Health questions, the Secretary of State either misled the House or made a serious mistake—I prefer to believe that it was the latter—when he told the House that I was wrong to say that the Government are breaking their promises on NHS funding. He said that even if the switch in extra funding to social care is excluded, the NHS budget will nevertheless increase in real terms over the next four years. However, the Nuffield Trust and the House of Commons Library both confirm that the budget will be cut. Can the House, through you, Mr Speaker, ensure that the Secretary of State corrects his statement this afternoon, at the earliest opportunity?

The short answer to the right hon. Gentleman is, no, not in the immediate term, because I sensed from what he said—and I listened very carefully—that that is a matter of political debate, and there will be argument about who is right or which facts trump others. I therefore cannot offer him the early prospect, or indeed any certain prospect, of a statement.

The right hon. Gentleman and I came into the House together in 1997, so I know him relatively well—he is a very experienced and wily campaigner. He has just put his own verdict on the Government’s position very forcefully on the record in prime time, and I have a feeling that he will share that verdict with others.

Order. There is no further point of order to be made. The right hon. Gentleman has done very well out of me. He should be grateful and exultant. He should be saying thank you to me rather than looking for a second go.

If there are no further points of order, we will deal with the ten-minute rule motion, for which the Member concerned has been patiently waiting.