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Points of Order

Volume 557: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2013

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wonder whether you have had time to consider and reflect on the answer that you gave to the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan) yesterday in relation to the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (John Thurso), whose nobility of character is, of course, beyond compare and legendary, as attested his bravura performance yesterday. But he cannot surely be called a noble Member of the House of Commons; it must be many centuries since any such appellation was permissible. Will you rule that, however noble the hon. Gentleman’s character, he cannot be referred to in here as the noble Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his exquisite point of order, of which I had no advance notice whatsoever. I, of course, recall the exchange yesterday and what I say to him is that it is possible to be both noble and to sit in the House of Commons. With particular reference to honorific titles, which I think is the matter he has in mind, my recollection is that the Modernisation Committee issued a report recommending the substantial reduction in the use of such titles. As a consequence, I understand the present situation to be that their use in debate is a matter not of order but of taste. I hope that that is helpful to the hon. Gentleman.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This morning, the Care Quality Commission published a damning report on accident and emergency services at Queen’s hospital in Romford. The Government, as the Secretary of State for Health confirmed in an answer to me earlier this month, still intend to go ahead with the closure of the accident and emergency department at King George hospital in Ilford, in my constituency. May we have an urgent statement from the Health Secretary on the implications of the CQC’s report for that decision?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that. I hope that he will not take offence—because this is an extremely serious matter—when I say that he is 24 hours or thereabouts ahead of himself. I acknowledge that this is a matter of extreme importance to his constituents, and what he should do is ensure that he is in his place tomorrow for business questions, which will afford him, if he catches my eye, as I think he might, the chance to raise the matter with the Leader of the House. The Leader of the House is in his place now and has heard what the hon. Gentleman has said, but he should come back tomorrow and have a go in the proper forum. We will leave it there for now.