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Points of Order

Volume 561: debated on Tuesday 23 April 2013

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Yesterday, Mr Nick Bitel was confirmed as the new chair of Sport England, but Mr Bitel was not the original recommendation for the position. He is an excellent appointment and we wish him well in his post, but it has emerged that the recommendation of Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson for the position was overturned following the intervention of No. 10. It would appear that she has been discriminated against because she had the courage to stand out against the Government’s hated welfare reforms. We need a statement on this shambolic and shabby affair. Did the Sports Minister recommend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson for the position; what was the role of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in changing that recommendation; and did the intervention of No. 10 result in her not being appointed to this position?

I must say to the hon. Gentleman that, important issue though he raises, it is not one for the Chair. His attempted point of order will have been heard on the Treasury Bench and, knowing his terrier-like qualities as I do, I feel sure that this is a subject to which he will return.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There have been reports that plugs will be installed in the Chamber to help with charging pocket computers and iPads. Could you use your good offices to try to improve the wi-fi in the Chamber, which barely works on most occasions, before we spend a lot of taxpayers’ money putting plugs in the Chamber?

Well, I know that the Clerk feels that wi-fi in the Chamber works extremely well, and he advises me that he has been using it this day. More widely, I think the safest thing I can say to the hon. Gentleman is that these matters are being looked into and I feel sure that he will wish to participate in any investigation or examination that takes place.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In fact, I wish to make the same point that my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Clive Efford) made a few moments ago. There is a great deal of concern about the lack of transparency on that issue, and we look forward to finding a way of getting to the bottom of what happened.

I note the attempted point of order from the hon. Gentleman, who is a former Minister for Sport. I can only reiterate what I said to the hon. Member for Eltham (Clive Efford), which is that I am sure that Members will take such opportunities as the Order Paper provides to raise these concerns, which will have been heard by, among others, the Government Chief Whip.