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Point of Order

Volume 681: debated on Monday 28 September 2020

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wonder if I might seek your advice. Exactly a week ago in this Chamber, I asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care about the efficacy of vitamin D as an extra bit of armour against coronavirus. He said that he had conducted a trial and there was no effect. It turns out that there was no trial. Apparently it was a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence review of secondary evidence on 1 July. The word “trial” implies fresh evidence, not reheated leftovers. The Secretary of State is here, so I wonder if he can correct the record.

I put this matter in as a written question to the Department of Health and Social Care and the answer came back that it had not been able to answer in time. It was the press office that told me about the secondary review of evidence. Is it not unsatisfactory when we do things through the correct channels and it is the spin doctors who end up answering? Can we do better by not embellishing the facts and by getting things in the proper way?

I thank the hon. Member for giving me notice of her point of order. The Secretary of State is here if he wishes to make any comment.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. The evidence is as described. I would be very happy to take the hon. Lady and any other Member through the existing evidence and to listen to any further evidence she has. What matters is getting the best and the right clinical advice. I am enthusiastic to hear about all possible scientific advances that might be helpful.

It is not a point of order for the Chair, but I think the hon. Lady can be satisfied that a meeting has been offered. That is important. The only other thing she put on the record—and I know the Secretary of State is well aware of this—is that we do need speedy replies to MPs.