On a point of order, Mr Speaker. During Prime Minister’s questions, my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the Opposition raised the case of someone who undergoes home dialysis, and the Prime Minister stated that the NHS covers the cost of that dialysis. The amount of money that the NHS makes available only partially covers the cost of dialysis and people are reimbursed only after they have paid their bill. That answer misrepresented the position of people who are on home dialysis, and yet again, we find ourselves asking the question: when will the Prime Minister come back and correct the record?
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Although we do not yet know how many candidates there will be for the election of the Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, because the nominations close next Tuesday, we know that it will be a contested election and that it will take place next Wednesday. I have received various missives from colleagues who say that they will be away on parliamentary business next Wednesday. Although this is a matter for the House, how can we facilitate the participation in that ballot of Members who will be missing, through a proxy vote or some other voting system?
I am grateful to the hon. Member for notice of his point of order. He is correct that the rules of the House do not allow the use of proxy votes in the circumstances described, unless a proxy vote is already in place. I do not think that it is right to change the procedures on the hoof, but this is an important point that might be looked at before future elections. I am sure that he will have been to see, and had a great conversation with, the Leader of the House and the Chief Whip and, hopefully, that will all have been taken on board.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Will you please advise me on the remedial action that could be taken to correct the record following the claim that was made at Prime Minister’s questions by the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Ed Davey), who asserted that “the Government are slashing the support payments that farmers rely on” before a new scheme is even introduced? That claim is simply incorrect.
It is not for me to ensure the accuracy of what is said by Members. It is their responsibility and, if a mistake has been made, it is that Member’s responsibility to correct the record. We do not want to have a full debate on Prime Minister’s questions either.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to raise the issue of the statement today. The fact that a Minister came to the House to discuss an important issue, and was scrutinised for about an hour, is wholly the way in which this democracy should work. Is there any way that you could get it through to some other Ministers that they should do that on more occasions?
The hon. Member has put his case forward, but I totally agree, once again, that it is helpful that the House hears something first and that it is not heard through the media. I am sure that Ministers will have listened to him and will hopefully take it on board.