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Points of Order

Volume 543: debated on Wednesday 25 April 2012

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Yesterday, in answer to a parliamentary question, the Government revealed that, despite rejecting nearly 30,000 families who applied for help with insulation through Warm Front—[Interruption.]

Order. It would be helpful if Members had the courtesy not to yell “Well done” when a point of order is being raised. People cannot complain about other people’s parliamentary manners on the one hand and then display a deficit on their own part on the other. Let us have a bit of order.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

This is very important for families across the country facing high energy bills. The Government revealed that, despite rejecting nearly 30,000 families who applied for help with insulation through Warm Front, there was an underspend of over £50 million last year. That comes on top of information I obtained last week showing that the energy companies will not meet the obligations Labour put on them to help households with energy efficiency. Given that the House might prorogue before Energy and Climate Change oral questions next Thursday, is there any indication that DECC Ministers plan to come to the House and explain how they have left Warm Front in such a shambles?

I have had no such indication. The right hon. Lady and I came into the House together in 1997 and, on the strength of knowing her for 15 years, I know that she is not inclined to let go of the bone.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Last July the Prime Minister—I tried to warn him that I would raise this point of order; obviously he has now left the Chamber—published a list of all the meetings he had had with proprietors, editors and senior media executives between May 2010 and July 2011. It details only one meeting with Rupert Murdoch between May and July 2011. However, this afternoon Rupert Murdoch—this has been published by the Leveson inquiry—made it clear that there were meetings with the Prime Minister on 18 May, 25 May, 21 July, another on 21 July, and 22 July. My point of order is to ask you whether something that is laid in the Library of the House is just as much a matter of privilege as something that is said. In other words, if someone has tabled something in the Library that has misled the House, is that just as serious a matter as something said in the Chamber?

All Members, including the Prime Minister, are responsible for the accuracy of what they say to the House, and my implicit assumption is that that includes material lodged with the House. I am happy to take further advice on that, but there is an encouraging nod from the Clerk of the House from a sedentary position, and that provides me with succour. Beyond that, I simply say that Members should be careful what they say if—I emphasise if—they are not asking a question, but making an accusation. I say that simply for the general knowledge and enrichment of the House. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order.