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Points of Order

Volume 526: debated on Monday 28 March 2011

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Secretary of State cited an opinion poll in support of an assertion that he made in the course of his statement. I know that he always says he wants to back up his assertions with evidence, so I wonder whether it is within your powers to require him to place a copy of that opinion poll in the Library of the House so that we might all consult the evidence that he cited in the statement?

The hon. Gentleman knows, I think, that it is not within my power to undertake such things, but I think the Secretary of State wishes to raise a point further to that point of order.

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Thank you, first, for the gracious way in which you acknowledged that my memory, although it may be capacious, cannot remember everything. But on this occasion, I do remember. The opinion poll concerned was a YouGov opinion poll conducted between the 19 and 20 January, which showed that 44% of people aged 18 to 24 were opposed to the abolition of the education maintenance allowance, and 45% of people in that age group supported the abolition of EMA, which meant that there was a one-point lead for the Government position. Coincidentally, that is the lead that the Conservatives enjoy over Labour in the latest post-Budget opinion poll published in my favourite newspaper, The Guardian.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Government are required by law to publish their child poverty strategy by the end of March. After the issue was raised in business questions on Thursday, I gather that there was a flurry of activity by civil servants phoning round various child poverty charities, telling them that it would be published on 5 April, the day the House goes into recess. Do we have any power to compel one of the relevant Ministers to come to the House to explain to us why the Government are not complying with the law and publishing the strategy by the end of March?

As the hon. Lady will appreciate, that is not strictly a point of order for the Chair, but I am sure those on the Treasury Benches heard her comments and will take seriously their obligations to make sure that the report is published.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. On 21 March 14 employees at the Liverpool passport office were dismissed from their permanent posts without notice because of a mistake that the Passport Service had made in their recruitment more than two years ago. Does the Home Secretary have plans to make a statement to the House, both about what happened in the Liverpool passport office and about its implications for passport offices throughout the country?

I have no knowledge of any notification of a statement. I understand that as the passport office is in her constituency, she is very concerned about the issue. May I suggest that she discusses with the Table Office how she might pursue the points that she wishes to have raised on the Floor of the House?

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Can you help a number of Labour MPs who signed early-day motion 1146 last year, congratulating UK Uncut? I believe they might want to withdraw their names now and need a bit of advice on how to do that.

Nice try, Mr Heaton-Harris. I do not think we will take that any further forward. I am sure that all Members of the House will consider their position when signing early-day motions.