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Points of Order

Volume 560: debated on Thursday 14 March 2013

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The Leader of the House referred to the supplementary programme motion. I have checked with the Table Office and the Public Bill Office, and no such supplementary programme motion has yet been tabled. If Members seek to amend that supplementary programme motion, they have to do so before close of business today. Could you advise, sir, how we can amend a motion that has not been laid?

It is just over four and a half hours until the close of business. We will strive to ensure that the supplementary programme motion is laid, with time thereafter for Members to seek to amend it, should they choose to do so.

It may be helpful to the House to know that manuscript amendments are acceptable in an emergency, if need be.

At Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs questions last Thursday, I asked the Secretary of State why he, the Food Standards Agency and Sodexo had refused to name the company which supplied mince and burgers adulterated with horsemeat. The Secretary of State refused once again to name Sodexo’s meat supplier, thereby preventing other catering organisations from knowing whether their meat supplies were at risk, despite the fact that in every other horse adulteration case, the supplier has been immediately named. Yesterday evening Sodexo finally revealed its two suppliers as Brakes, which supplied the burgers, and Vestey Foods, which supplied frozen halal mince and frozen mince that were adulterated with horse. The chairman of Vestey Foods is hereditary peer Baron Sam Vestey, who is also Master of the Queen’s Horse. Have you had any indication, Mr Deputy Speaker, whether DEFRA Ministers intend to come to this place to explain to Members why they refused to name that meat supplier? Are they not putting their friends in high places above the interests of the consumer?

I can certainly help and normally would take shorter notice that the hon. Lady was asking a question of the Chair. It is not a point for the Chair. As we both know, an urgent question was tabled. Normally I would not refer to that when a decision has already been taken. If nothing else, the hon. Lady’s question is on the record and I am sure that Ministers will have taken it on board, in the same way as we had a point of order yesterday which came up with the right answer in the end. If nothing else, the question will have been noted.

Bill Presented

Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, supported by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, Danny Alexander, Secretary Chris Grayling, Oliver Letwin and Mr Mark Hoban, presented a Bill to make provision about the effect of certain provisions relating to participation in a scheme designed to assist persons to obtain employment and about notices relating to participation in such a scheme.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 149) with explanatory notes (Bill 149-EN).