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Point of Order

Volume 573: debated on Tuesday 7 January 2014

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. At 5.15 pm on Sunday at Her Majesty’s prison Oakwood, which is managed by G4S, a group of prisoners refused to be locked down. That led to a 10-hour disturbance in which they allegedly barricaded the Cedar wing and smashed windows. According to the BBC, up to 50 prisoners were involved, and eventually officers in riot gear had to enter the prison. We now know from leaked reports today that there was another disturbance back in November. Staff in riot gear were again deployed to a disturbance involving 18 prisoners, most of whom were said to be drunk and armed with pool cues, and who threatened prison officers and lit small paper fires. The following week, there were five outbreaks of violence in which staff or prisoners were attacked. We are also aware that a prison inspector’s report on that prison demonstrated that it was easier to obtain drugs than a bar of soap, under the management of G4S.

When such an incident has occurred in the past, we have at least received a written ministerial statement, if not a full oral statement. Have you been notified at all, Mr Speaker, about whether there is to be any form of statement about the incident and how it will be addressed? If not, may I urge the Government, through you, to at least provide some form of written statement about how the issue is to be tackled?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The short answer is no, I have received no such indication. The Leader of the House and other representatives on the Treasury Bench will have heard the concern that has been expressed. What follows, I know not, but the hon. Gentleman will keep his eyes and ears open. There are other ways he can pursue the matter through Adjournment debates or written and oral parliamentary questions if he so chooses, but he might want to wait to see the response to his point of order, and I thank him for it.