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Points of Order

Volume 566: debated on Tuesday 16 July 2013

I hope it will be a point of order, rather than a point of mischief—I have known the hon. Gentleman for 30 years—but we will hear it.

The Secretary of State has said repeatedly, and just a moment ago for the final time, that Members on the Opposition Benches had not supported a culture of transparency in the NHS, yet during these questions he has heard Member after Member, including myself, saying that we supported the inquiry, we provided details to it, we arranged meetings for our constituents—[Interruption.] What advice can you provide so that he does not come here and mislead the House in this way again? [Interruption.]

Order. [Interruption.] Order. I am perfectly capable of handling these matters without any sedentary interjections from hon. Members on either side of the Chamber. The first thing the hon. Gentleman must do is to withdraw the accusation of misleading the House, which is an unparliamentary accusation. If he wants to use another word, he may, but he must not accuse a Member of misleading the House. I ask him to withdraw.

Yes. What the Secretary of State said is clearly not supported by the facts, but I am happy to withdraw the word that you have asked me to withdraw. I withdraw the word.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for withdrawing that word. Beyond that we need not go today. I thank him for that.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Yesterday the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Prime Minister made very misleading statements about the impact of welfare reform—

Order. I am sure that the hon. Lady is not suggesting that any misleading statements were made in this House. Can she just be clear that she is not saying that?

Misleading statements were made, not in this House, but in relation to Government business. The Government have been rebuked on a number of occasions, for example by the chair of the UK Statistics Authority, for making misleading remarks. It is unparliamentary behaviour. What action can be taken?

Order. I simply say to the hon. Lady that, although I understand that emotions on these matters are extremely highly charged, where there are references to conduct outside the Chamber, by definition the matter is not parliamentary and, therefore, there can be no question of the Chair being expected properly to rule on the matter. She has made her wider point and it is on the record. I think that we must leave it there for today.

If there are no further points of order, we now come to the ten-minute rule motion, for which the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr Donaldson) has been exceptionally patiently waiting.