On a point of order, Mr Speaker. It has recently been reported that the Director of Public Prosecutions has stated that the same sentence ought to be imposed on a rioter committing a criminal act in the context of the riots as on an individual criminal committing the same act by itself. Given that magistrates have admirably been imposing exemplary sentences, can you, Mr Speaker, tell the House whether we can expect a statement from a Justice Minister on whether the Government support the DPP’s view or the view of the magistrates and, indeed, the British people?
Experience has suggested to me that it is unwise for me to expect anything—and I have expected so far nothing from a Minister on this matter. I have received no notification, no hint, no twitch of an eyebrow, no signal otherwise. I hope I satisfy the hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) who, in the process of making his point, has alerted none other than the Prime Minister to what he believes is its force and significance.
We come now to the main business—[Interruption.] The Whip on duty is ahead of himself, and we are grateful to him. What I was going to say, and will now do so, is that the Clerk will now—[Interruption.] Whips are usually behind the curve. Something has happened and they are doing better today, almost too well. [Interruption.] It is the effect of the holiday of the hon. Member for North Herefordshire (Bill Wiggin), as he pertinently observes from a sedentary position.