Skip to main content

Points of Order

Volume 559: debated on Tuesday 5 March 2013

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Following a point of order yesterday about the basing review, you told me that ministerial statements of public policy should be made first in the House and asked that if I had compelling evidence of briefing, I should bring it forward. I forwarded to your office this morning four examples of newspapers that had been briefed. That was illustrated by the right hon. and learned Member for North East Fife (Sir Menzies Campbell) in the preceding statement. Given the blatant advanced briefing by the Ministry of Defence about the statement, what are you able to do?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I have not yet had the opportunity to study the material in question, for reasons that will be apparent to all. I shall, of course, do so and will revert to him if it proves necessary.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Further to the rejection of the proposal put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy), there is an important question relating to the Francis report that I have raised repeatedly with the Leader of the House. An urgent debate is needed. If a debate cannot be granted in respect of Mid Staffordshire and Monitor, one is certainly required in the context of the Francis report as a matter of urgency on the Floor of the House and in Government time. Would you agree?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. We appreciate his display of a sense of humour in these circumstances. I will say two things to him. First, strictly speaking, points of order do not arise pursuant to refused Standing Order No. 24 applications. I was willing to hear him, as who could be denied that particular privilege? He made his point with his usual force and eloquence, and it will doubtless have been heard very clearly by those on the Treasury Bench. The hon. Gentleman will have been in the House for 29 years in June, so he knows that there are many opportunities to pursue matters; there is rarely just one opportunity. He is as persistent a woodpecker as the hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis), who also feels impelled to raise a point of order.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On a different subject, I am sure that you will have noticed the unprecedented number of Liberal Democrat right hon. and hon. Members who suddenly appeared in the Chamber, as if by magic, just before the swearing in of the new Member, only to evaporate just as rapidly so that normal service could be resumed as soon as possible. Is there any way within the rules of order that I can place that remarkable phenomenon on the record for the benefit of history?

No, but the hon. Gentleman has already done so. If he is going to raise an obviously bogus point of order, he should at least make the effort to contrive an air of solemnity, rather than looking so ostentatiously cheeky.