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Points of Order

Volume 527: debated on Wednesday 4 May 2011

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. As Many Members were inexplicably absent at 4.30 this morning, they will have missed an important debate that drew attention to a great weakness in our role: we are able to heap praise on certain individuals, but we are forbidden the privilege of everyone outside the House to be critical of those individuals. Can you suggest a way in which we can ensure that that rule, which demeans the office of MP, is changed and we can enjoy the freedom of everyone outside the House to be critical of anyone when necessary?

Criticism of the kind and in the direction that the hon. Gentleman has in mind can always be made on a substantive motion. That is the specific solution to the problem that he has just identified. More widely, if he is concerned, as I know he is, about the current Standing Orders and seeks their reform, it is open to him to seek support for such a proposition across the House. I must leave it there for today.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I ask for your advice, please. The hon. Member for City of Chester (Stephen Mosley) has inadvertently misled the House today by suggesting that the bin collection service in Halton has been cut. As someone who is not only the Member of Parliament for Halton but who actually lives there, I must say that this was the first I knew about it. The service has not been cut. There is a pilot scheme, which has come about as a result of consultation in two wards, to look at alternative bin collections as a result of the demand for more recycling and more recycling receptacles. There has been no decision to cut the weekly bin collection service, so the hon. Gentleman is wrong.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Halton (Derek Twigg). I know that he may find this difficult to accept, but this is a matter of debate, and he has put his point firmly on the record—probably not for the first time, and certainly not for the last.

If there are no further points of order, we come now to the ten-minute rule Bill, for which the hon. Member for Mid Bedfordshire (Nadine Dorries) has been patiently waiting.