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Points of Order

Volume 520: debated on Thursday 16 December 2010

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Before the Front Benchers leave the Chamber, I must say that I have not been convinced by the answers that the Secretary of State gave me about dealing with the winter oil crisis. What provisions are there for him to return to the House later this afternoon to make an urgent statement on the detail of how he is dealing with that crisis?

Frankly, it is a matter for the Secretary of State when he chooses to come before this House and the information that he makes available to it; it is not a matter for the Chair. So, the hon. Gentleman has got his point on the record, but at this point in time it is not actually a point of order.

As long as it does not pursue the same point, Mr Brennan, because I have made it quite clear that the information on when the Secretary of State comes before the House is a matter for him.

Taking on board your comments, Madam Deputy Speaker, I wonder whether you can advise us on the mechanism for a recall of the House if the crisis should become serious or much worse over the Christmas recess?

I think the Secretary of State and the Government will keep a very close eye on that. The hon. Gentleman is a very experienced Member and knows that any Member can approach the Speaker if he or she believes it necessary for the House to be recalled.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. This morning we were given a written statement on the proposed closure of coastguard offices throughout the UK. Stornoway in my constituency faces losing perhaps 27 jobs relating to a massive sea area. Is there any way in which we can get the Minister to the House, so that Members can cross-examine him and raise their concerns, particularly on the announcement before Christmas of a 14-week consultation period? We need at least an extension of that, and we need the Minister here to answer those points.

I have had no request from a member of the Government with regard to making a statement on that issue. Again, the hon. Gentleman is a very experienced Member, and I have a feeling that he will probably find other ways to make sure that he can raise his point and question a Minister.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Can the Secretary of State give me an update on the longer-term commitment for the feed-in—

Order. Points of order are supposed to be directed at the Chair. They are not an additional way of putting questions directly to the Secretary of State. Given that we have had a very full statement and Question Time today, the hon. Gentleman has had plenty of opportunities to do that.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Members have been spotted in recent days wearing such items as denim in the House and catching the Speaker’s eye. Could you or the Speaker issue guidance to new Members such as myself on an appropriate dress code for the mother of Parliaments?

There are many things on which the Chair is asked to pass comment; the sartorial elegance of Members is not one of them, and that is not a point of order. As all Members are aware, there is a common dress code for the Chamber, which is to be smart.

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Could the Speaker circulate that dress code to all Members, on both sides of the House, so that we do not have a dress-down Thursday in future?

If you have an issue specifically with Members’ dress, you could always speak directly to that Member and advise them. I am sure that they would welcome it, given your own sartorial elegance. But, using the time of the Chair or Mr Speaker to nudge Members in that direction is inappropriate, and I sincerely hope that we can now move on to the rest of today’s business.

Royal Assent

I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that the Queen has signified her Royal Assent to the following Acts:

Finance (No.3) Act 2010

Equitable Life (Payments) Act 2010

Local Government Act 2010

Savings Accounts and Health in Pregnancy Grant Act 2010

Superannuation Act 2010

Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010.