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House Procedures

Volume 527: debated on Thursday 28 April 2011

2. If he will assess the merits of the provision of training on the procedures of the House for hon. Members who are former Ministers. (52652)

The former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown) has spoken only once in this Chamber in the past year—

Order. I simply want to establish that the hon. Gentleman has notified the Member in question because that is the proper course of action. It needs to be made clear to the House, rather than simply privately, that that has been done.

Order. Let me repeat the point. It is not a matter of private communication, but the responsibility of the Member to notify the House that the Member in question has been notified. Private considerations and communications do not come into it.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

That was in stark contrast to the former Prime Minister, Sir John Major, who used to speak monthly after he stood down. You will know, Mr Speaker, that yesterday saw the installation of the official photo of the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath in No. 10 Downing street. I wonder whether my hon. Friend would agree to acquire a copy of the photo for identification purposes to use in this Chamber in case the former Prime Minister decides to come down and participate.

I am not sure that we necessarily need to go into that. I did see the picture and thought it looked rather nice; there was almost a smile. On the serious issue of training for former Ministers, I am sure that support could be made available if it were requested, and it might be welcomed, because when people leave office they often find that they forget some things.