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Points of Order

Volume 532: debated on Tuesday 13 September 2011

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am not sure whether I concur with your last remarks, but I am sure that since noon on Monday you have been considering your own boundary recommendations, as indeed have many other English Members of Parliament. Unfortunately, at the moment it is impossible to go to the Vote Office and get copies of the boundary recommendations for the whole United Kingdom. In fact, in the House of Lords they are not available at all. Can I suggest to you that it might be a good idea if the draft recommendations were available in the Vote Office, so that the whole of this House might consider them, come to a firm view—and, I hope, reject them?

The hon. Gentleman asks whether he can suggest that. He can, he has done. I do listen, I have listened on this occasion, and he is proving himself, as ever, the candid friend. I will make inquiries into the matter and try to ensure that satisfaction is provided. That would be a very happy state of affairs.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Government have now made a number of misleading statements about their increasingly chaotic planning reforms. Last week the Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, the right hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark) told Parliament that the previous Government’s successful “brownfield first” policy, whereby previously developed land was to be prioritised before building on greenfield land was considered, had been retained. The Government’s own impact assessment in the national planning policy framework, however, makes it clear that the brownfield first presumption has been abolished. In addition, the Minister has been describing the policy as a “national ban”, when he knows that it is nothing of the kind. Has the right hon. Gentleman indicated his intention to come before the House to put right his misleading statements, and to explain to the House why priority is not once again being given to using brownfield land, of which there is enough to build 1.2 million homes on?

I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Gentleman, but the Minister in question has given no such indication. That said, I am grateful to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Jack Dromey) for notice of his point of order. I am always concerned that the House should be given accurate information. I hope that he and the House will understand that it is not really for the Speaker to compare the accuracy of remarks inside the House with that of those made outside, let alone to offer an assessment of the relative merits or accuracy of comments that might appear on websites. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, who is nothing if not the proverbial woodpecker in these matters, will seek advice from the Table Office on the ways in which he can pursue his concerns.

If there are no further points of order, we come to the ten-minute rule Bill, for which the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr Straw) has been patiently waiting.