On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Before the Prime Minister leaves, I point out that he has just told the House in Prime Minister’s questions that the 50p rate did not raise any money, a claim that is flatly contradicted by both the documents published on Budget day and the Treasury’s own figures published on Monday. Could the Prime Minister correct the record before he leaves the House? [Interruption.]
Order. These matters will be the subject of debate later today. If I did not know the right hon. Member for Morley and Outwood (Ed Balls) as well as I do, I would think that he was trying to use the device of a contrived point of order to continue the debate, but because I know him as well as I do, he can take it from me that I know he would not be guilty of such unworthy conduct.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. May I ask you to consider the situation that exists because the Backbench Business Committee has only one slot to allocate and had nine applications? One of those applications was for a motion asking Parliament to follow the example of the decisions in Australia, Canada and the Netherlands to withdraw troops from Afghanistan independently. Is it not a shame that procedure is preventing this Parliament from taking the decision to act independently to withdraw our troops from a conflict that very few people now believe in?
The hon. Gentleman is a wily and mature bird of a very distinct pedigree, and he has penned a book, recently updated and republished, on how to be an MP and how to operate as a Back Bencher. It is a much-thumbed tome, and he uses every device to get his concerns across. That is what he has done. I say to him, though, that all sorts of things are a shame, a pity or regrettable, but sadly they are not matters for the Chair. I think he would like them to be, but unfortunately they are not. We will have to leave it there for today.