Skip to main content

Points of Order

Volume 583: debated on Monday 23 June 2014

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, the right hon. Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey), contradicted my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr Hepburn) earlier when he asked about the sanctions rate. She said that the number of successful appeals was around only 10%. According to the Trussell Trust’s “Below the Breadline” report, the average success rate was 58% over the period from 22 October 2012 to 30 September 2013, and in the three months to 30 September 2013 it was 86%. How can we put on the record whether those figures cited by the Trussell Trust are correct and where the Minister managed to get the figure of 10% from?

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I gave the official statistics, and I was correct.

Order. Patience, Mr Sheerman. A man of your seniority should have acquired gravitas and stoicism. We are coming to you, man. Be calm, be happy—it is Wimbledon. Relax.

On a day like today when such serious issues are being debated in Question Time, when so few Conservative Back Benchers are here, and when time for the business runs out and there are a number of pent-up questions from Labour Members about serious issues such as the fact that the students’ disability allowance is being taken away, what can we do to add to the length of the session so that Members in all parts of the House get a fair crack of the whip?

My appetite for hearing hon. and right hon. Members ask questions is insatiable. I would happily run the session on for longer, but I am afraid that it is not within my power. Not only is the hon. Gentleman here every day during working hours, but I sometimes fondly imagine that he probably sleeps here as well; I do not know. He knows that his request is unfortunately beyond my powers, but he has made his point with his usual alacrity, and it is on the record.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. During Question Time, the disability Minister, the Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, the right hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), stated that he had inherited the current backlog in ESA claims from the previous Government. How can we put on record the fact that his predecessor told the Work and Pensions Committee that a small backlog in 2011 was going to be eliminated by the summer of 2011? The two statements clearly cannot be consistent.

The evidence is that the hon. Lady has found her own salvation. She asked how it could be done and at the same time she did it. It is on the record, and we will leave it there.