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Points of Order

Volume 537: debated on Monday 12 December 2011

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. As we approach the Christmas recess, Her Majesty’s Opposition still await overdue answers to parliamentary questions: two from November, 10 from last week and 10 from today. Twenty of those are from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, so through your office may I ask that all measures are taken to ensure that written parliamentary questions are answered, so that we have the information to do our job well?

Members on the Treasury Bench will have heard the right hon. Lady’s plea, and I am sure that Ministers will do what they can to ensure that answers are forthcoming speedily. Of course, there will be other opportunities between now and the recess for her to pursue those matters.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. May I seek your advice on the answer that the Home Secretary gave me this afternoon at Home Office questions? It related to statistics to which the Immigration Minister and the Prime Minister have referred, but about which the chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar, has raised concerns—in terms of breaching the statutory code of practice, the ministerial code and the published guidance on the handling of official statistics, issued by the Cabinet Secretary.

The Home Secretary used those figures again this afternoon, and in the light of that can you, Mr Deputy Speaker, request that the statistics to which she referred are now placed in the Library and fully published, so that all parliamentarians can scrutinise them? Currently, the Commons is at a disadvantage, as only the Government have sight of them and keep referring to them.

That is not a matter for the Chair. Ministerial answers are the responsibility of Ministers, but, again, Members on the Treasury Bench will have heard the hon. Lady’s plea.