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Points of Order

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 31 March 2011

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Two worrying claims have been made about our troops in Afghanistan. One of those was today’s report from the National Audit Office, which suggests that two out of three deliveries of vital equipment are not arriving in time. Another claim made is that bullet-proof vests are not being supplied, in order to provide funds for the alternative vote referendum. Have you news of any statement to the House that can point out the seriousness of the first claim and the stupidity of the second?

There is no indication of such a statement being made. I know that the hon. Gentleman recognises that that is not a point of order, but it has certainly gone on the record, and I am sure that the Secretary of State for Defence will have taken notice.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. In September last year, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority wrote to all honourable colleagues about employer liability insurance, telling us that it was going to expire today. Last week, it issued its new guidelines. Included in those guidelines was section 10.8, which tells us that we can claim for employer’s liability insurance and public liability insurance. Today, and in some cases yesterday, some Members but not all Members—I did not receive it—were sent an e-mail saying:

“Please find attached your Employer’s Liability Insurance certificate to be displayed”.

This is not only causing concern and additional work to our staff, who are rigorously ensuring that we are properly protected, but will waste public money. Will you, Mr Deputy Speaker, perhaps in liaison with the Leader of the House and his shadow, ensure that proper guidance is issued urgently to MPs so that what is actually the case is very clear?

That is not a point of order, but the hon. Gentleman has raised a very important point. Perhaps the Leader of the House would like to make a comment—it is up to him.

I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman has not received the e-mail, which I certainly received yesterday, and which had attached the certificate to be pinned up in my office and all the relevant offices. I will find out from IPSA what has gone on.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. May I raise the fact that there seems to be no consultation with Members of Parliament on the closure of the Members’ services centre in Portcullis House? It came as a total surprise to me when a member of staff said that it is all to be closed down imminently. If that is the case, it is disgraceful that Members of this House have not been consulted properly.

That is not a point of order, but it is a matter for the House of Commons Commission, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman’s voice will have been heard.