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Points of Order

Volume 522: debated on Monday 24 January 2011

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This Chamber was told on Thursday that the draft emergency legislation would be placed in the Library of the House. The matter was raised in an urgent question and on a point of order from my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford South (Mr Sutcliffe), yet it is not there. The BBC has been told that the counter-terrorism review is now complete. What can you do to assist the House and to get the Home Secretary to give a statement to the House this afternoon, not on Wednesday, on the counter-terrorism review and the location of the emergency draft legislation before the old powers run out at midnight tonight?

I am grateful for the opportunity to do so. We will place draft emergency legislation in the Library of the House—[Hon. Members: “When?”] We did not say that it would be placed in the Library before the current legislation lapsed. Emergency legislation is available for the use of this House in the intervening period, if necessary, and that is section 25 of the Terrorism Act 2006. The correct legal process for reducing the period from 28 days to 14 days is to allow the existing legislation to lapse because that was the sunset clause put in the legislation by the last Labour Government.

In that case, we should leave it where it is for today—[Interruption.] Order. The shadow Home Secretary has raised a point of order and comment has been made on the matter. Those accounts are before the House and I do not think that there is anything further I can do at this stage.

Order. I say to the hon. Gentleman that these are at least in part matters of debate and argument. The point has been made very clearly by the shadow Home Secretary, expressing concern not merely on her behalf but on that of many others. The Home Secretary has replied to that point.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. We hear serious allegations that two former Prime Ministers were concerned about phone hacking. Have you had notice of a statement from the Home Office to see what steps it is taking to establish whether the current Prime Minister and his Chancellor were also victims of News International’s phone hacking?

I have received no such notification and the hon. Gentleman has put his point on the record. I know that he and the House will appreciate that I have a responsibility to protect the important business that will follow these points of order.

During two successive business questions, I have raised an issue with the Leader of the House relating to the failure of the Department for Transport to answer questions that have been properly laid in this Chamber. Last Wednesday, for the first time in my 19 years here, I used the device of an answer for today. It still has not been answered. Will you please use your good offices to ensure that the Department for Transport does its duty towards this House?

The pledge that appeared to have been made to the hon. Gentleman does not appear to have been fulfilled, as far as I can tell. At any rate, the hon. Gentleman has used a device to try to extract a reply and it has not been forthcoming. The dissatisfaction that he has expressed will have been heard. As of now, my best advice is that he should get over to the Table Office and pursue the issue further. If he needs to revert to this House again, I do not think, on the strength of his 19 years’ experience, that he will hesitate to do just that. That is perfectly proper.