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Points of Order

Volume 546: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2012

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. During Health questions, I gave a figure for nursing redundancies. It would appear that the Minister of State gave an incorrect figure in his reply, inadvertently including midwifery and health visitor posts as well as nursing posts. If that is the case, may I please ask the Minister to correct the record?

I hope that I am not falling over, Mr Speaker.

It may be useful to the House if I correct the shadow Minister’s misapprehension. What I gave, and what I stand by, were the latest figures for full-time equivalents in the NHS work force. Since May 2010, the number of qualified nursing staff has fallen by 2,693. That is the figure I gave the shadow Minister, and it comes from the category in the work force statistics headed “qualified nursing staff”—[Interruption]—which includes, as the chorus are echoing, midwives and health visitors.

I am reassured that the Minister has not fallen over, and I think that we are all better informed. What we cannot have, and what I am sure no one would seek, is a rerun of Health questions, but we have been given that clarification, for which we are grateful.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Have you had a request from a Defence Minister to be allowed to come to the House to explain today’s contemptible announcement that 4,100 members of Her Majesty’s armed forces are to be made redundant, that about a third of the redundancies will be compulsory, and that about 2,900 will be in the Army? I should be interested to know whether any of those being made redundant are in 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is based at Colchester garrison. Little over a year ago, they were fighting in Afghanistan and putting their lives on the line. Is there to be a ministerial statement?

No, but, knowing the hon. Gentleman as I have for the last 15 years, since we entered the House together, I have just a hunch that this is a matter to which he will return, possibly with notable frequelarity. Regularity? Frequency? I am getting there. [Hon. Members: “A lot.”] A lot: indeed.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. It would appear that this afternoon the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband), the leader of the Labour party, accused the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown) of perjuring himself yesterday. Is it in order, Mr Speaker, for members of the Privy Council who sit in this House to make such accusations without explaining themselves to you or to the House?

I am not aware of any such accusation having being made. Immediately after the hon. Gentleman had raised his point of order, he sat down with a very bright grin on his face, so I shall take his remarks as having been made in a spirit of levity on which no further comment is required.