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Points of Order

Volume 570: debated on Thursday 7 November 2013

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will know that since a resolution of the House in 1688, it has been clear that Committees of the House should proceed without let or hindrance. Page 838 of “Erskine May” states:

“Any disclosure of written evidence or a Committee’s internal working papers, which has not been authorised by the Committee, may be treated as a contempt. In particular, disclosure of a draft report which has been submitted to a Committee before such a report has been agreed to by the Committee and presented to the House may be treated as a contempt.”

The allegations that the Leader of the House has tried to brush off today about what the Secretary of State is said to have done go considerably further than he suggests. We do not know whether the Leader of the House has asked the Secretary of State all the relevant questions. We want to ask questions in the Chamber. My point of order to you, Mr Speaker, is this: can you make it absolutely clear to the Leader of the House that it is perfectly possible to have a statement tomorrow, or for that matter an urgent question, and that the House would regard it as a courtesy to hear directly from the Secretary of State, and not just second hand from the Leader of the House?

It is, of course, perfectly possible for there to be either an urgent question or a statement tomorrow, but I feel sure that those are facts of which the Leader of the House was already well aware. I am merely courteously repeating them in order properly to respond to the hon. Gentleman’s point of order.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Home Secretary said on Monday, about the latest TPIM terror suspect to abscond:

“I do not have his passport, but the police do.”—[Official Report, 4 November 2013; Vol. 570, c. 27.]

However, the Home Secretary has since asked that Hansard be corrected to say:

“I do not have his passport, Mohamed was not in possession of his British passport when he returned to the UK so there was no passport for the police to seize.”—[Official Report, 6 November 2013; Vol. 570, c. 1MC.]

Can you tell me whether it is in order for a Secretary of State to try to amend Hansard because of her own error, or should she come back to Parliament and correct the record herself? Can Hansard even be changed in this way, especially as it has been printed and the facts have now changed?

I am very grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order, of which I did not have advance notice. Therefore my immediate reply is that I will look into the matter that she has very properly raised.

The issue of the Intelligence and Security Committee was raised earlier and for the purpose of clarification I wish to remind the House that the Committee may sound like a Select Committee and, at its hearing today, it may look like a Select Committee, but in fact it is not a Select Committee. We will leave it there for now.