On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Under the terms of the timetabling motion for the business that is about to come, if the debate started now, we would take a vote at 5.21 pm, because only five hours are allowed despite the fact that the moment of interruption does not come until 6 o’clock under normal business. Is there anything that can be done, even at this late stage, to get us the extra 39 minutes that we would have had under normal circumstances, so that hon. Members who want to contribute to the debate have a chance to do so?
On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have given advance notice of this point of order to the Member in question. During Environment, Food and Rural Affairs questions earlier, Mr James Gray directed a racist remark towards my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow North East (Mr Bain). What steps can you take to protect Members of the House from the racist views espoused by Mr James Gray, and will you now ask him to apologise?
Further to that point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I cannot imagine what sedentary remark the hon. Gentleman may have heard, but I am certain that had it been out of order in any shape, size or form, Mr Speaker, who was then in the Chair, would have picked me up on it. Further to that, as a Scot born, bred and educated, who never left the borders of Scotland until the age of 21, I think that unlike the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Thomas Docherty), I have the highest respect and love for my native heath. I would never say a single word against it.
No, I will not take any more points of order on this matter. It might be appropriate, particularly given what is about to be debated, that I remind Members of the House that good temper and moderation are characteristics of parliamentary debate. I am sure that if the Chair had heard anything untoward, it would have been dealt with then.
On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. During an answer supplied to me by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs during DEFRA questions this morning, she appeared to imply that a document issued by an agency of her own Department, entitled “Poverty amongst farming households”, related solely to the policies of the previous Government. I have examined the document very carefully since DEFRA questions and found references to a document from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and to the Agricultural Wages Board. Can you provide the House with some assistance on how we can ensure that Government Departments communicate more effectively with each other, how Secretaries of State can be properly apprised of the contents of their own Departments’ documents, and when—
Order. This sounds like an extension of Question Time, but I am sure that Members on the Treasury Bench will have heard the points that have been made.
Loans to Ireland Bill
Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)
Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, supported by the Prime Minister, Mr Secretary Hague, Secretary Vince Cable, Mr Secretary Paterson, Danny Alexander, Mr Mark Hoban, Mr David Gauke and Justine Greening, presented a Bill to make provision in connection with the making of loans to Ireland by the United Kingdom.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 125) with explanatory notes (Bill 125-EN).