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Points of Order

Volume 554: debated on Monday 26 November 2012

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Have you received any intimation from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions or the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the hon. Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey), who has responsibility for disabled people, that they intend to deliver a statement to this House, either this evening or tomorrow, about the outrageous decision to close the Remploy factory in Springburn in my constituency, with the loss of 46 jobs, which was announced today? Do my constituents not deserve clear answers on what went wrong in the tendering process, why they have been so badly let down at this final stage, and how the Government will strain every sinew to get them replacement jobs?

Thank you for that point of order. I have received no information that any Minister intends to make a statement on that issue or any other issue today. Should that alter, the House will be informed in the usual way. As far as tomorrow is concerned, we will have to wait until tomorrow.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. During oral questions in July 2010, I was told by the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the right hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), that she was proud that she had found a way forward with the insurance industry on flood insurance. Today, we see that the Government have done no such thing. My constituents were relying on the word of the Secretary of State in the House of Commons and they now feel very let down. What can be done to correct the record?

That sounds to me more like a matter of debate than a point of order. The hon. Lady is a senior Member of the House and will know the tools that are available to her to pursue the matter.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am speaking on behalf of the shadow Home Office team, in my role as shadow Parliamentary Private Secretary, with regard to the answering of named day questions tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper). Questions 126091, 126092, 126093 and 126106 were tabled at the end of October for answer within two working days. They have still not been answered. Will you, with the help of Mr Speaker, help to get those questions answered so that Her Majesty’s Opposition are able to fulfil their duty to scrutinise the Government?

It is unusual for one Member to raise a point of order on behalf of another and I do not wish to encourage the practice. There is nothing to inhibit Front-Bench Members from the official Opposition in making their own points of order. That said, questions for written answer on a named day should receive some kind of answer, preferably a substantive one, on the day that is named, and a full answer should be provided in a reasonable time. If the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) cannot get satisfaction by raising the matter with the Minister concerned, she should inform the Procedure Committee of her problems.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. This is the first opportunity that I have had to apologise to you and the House for any suggestion or perception that I breached parliamentary procedures by failing to make reference to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, which states that I participated in a study tour of Venezuela, before I asked a topical question of the Foreign Secretary during Foreign Office questions on 4 September. I have made no secret of my visit. In fact, I have written to newspapers and blogged about it extensively. If I breached procedures, it was unintentional and I place on the record my apology.

The House will have noted what the hon. Gentleman has said. It is worth putting it on the record, however, that the resolution of the House of 12 June 1975, which was last amended on 9 February 2009, excluded supplementary oral questions from the requirement for declaration. It appears to me that a topical question is a supplementary question. It is up to Members to judge whether an interest is of a nature to justify a declaration at such times, but the House’s rules do not require it. The hon. Gentleman has now made such a declaration.