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Point of Order

Volume 563: debated on Tuesday 21 May 2013

I am sorry to test your patience, Mr Speaker, but I want to ask you whether it is in order for the Government to brief newspapers about a major change of policy, to bring it before this House so that questions can be asked about that major change of policy, and then to fail to provide any details to hon. Members about the changes they have in mind. Is that acceptable behaviour, Mr Speaker, or is it indeed a major discourtesy to this House?

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. As he knows, I attach great importance, as have all previous Speakers, to the timely announcement of Government policies in the House first and not to the media. I made a judgment that this matter warranted the urgent attention of the House. The right hon. Gentleman will also have noticed that the level of interest in the subject was such that I thought it appropriate to run the urgent question very fully. As to what has or has not been disclosed elsewhere, I do not feel able on this occasion to say, but I would like to thank the Secretary of State, the shadow Secretary of State and all colleagues for their participation. We will leave it there for today.