Skip to main content

Point of Order

Volume 594: debated on Tuesday 10 March 2015

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am a new Member of Parliament, but I understand that it is a convention in the House for a Minister, or any other MP, who is to visit a constituency to inform the Member who represents that constituency. Over the last six weeks I have had the pleasure of receiving numerous visits from Conservative Ministers who, no doubt, have wished to see how a Liberal Democrat-controlled council and the Liberal Democrat MP are managing to make such a good fist of it in Eastbourne, and they have always been kind enough to let me know, even when there has been only an hour to go before their arrival. However, I was disappointed to discover that the Secretary of State for the Home Department had visited my constituency yesterday, and I had not been notified.

This morning I spoke to Beryl Healy, who is a former mayor of Eastbourne and a well known and established constituent of mine. She told me that she thought that this was simply bad manners, but I believe that the Home Secretary is a very courteous parliamentarian, and I admire her courtesy even when I disagree with her. In that respect, I feel that she has let me down. Can you advise me on how I can address the Home Secretary on this matter, Mr Speaker?

The hon. Gentleman has made his own point in his own way, and he has used the device of a point of order to register his discontent. Let me say this to him. The convention—and it is not a rule or a law—is well established, although I am sorry to say that it is frequently honoured as much in the breach as in the observance, a phenomenon that tends to be exacerbated in the run-up to an election.

I would prefer Members to resolve these matters satisfactorily without their having continually to be aired on the Floor of the House. I am sympathetic to the hon. Gentleman, but I think that he must now rely on his own devices to ward off repeat performances that he judges to be discourteous.