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Point of Order

Volume 719: debated on Monday 5 September 2022

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. On 12 August, the Government made a significant policy announcement via a statement to BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme but without informing Members of this House. They said via the radio that they would not be purchasing Evusheld, a preventive covid treatment for the estimated half a million immunosuppressed and immunocompromised patients, many of whom are still shielding from covid-19. No “Dear Colleague” letter was circulated to Members of this House setting out the background and rationale for such a major policy decision, nor did I have any response to my request in a letter to the Secretary of State to meet with MPs virtually during the summer recess to explain his decision.

Outside this House, various arguments to refuse this life-saving treatment have been put forward by Ministers, but they simply do not stand up to scrutiny. It is therefore vital that Members of this House have the opportunity to properly scrutinise the Government here in public view in this Chamber.

Madam Deputy Speaker, can you please advise whether the Government have given you any indication that they intend to make a statement this week, or perhaps issue a “Dear Colleague” letter? If not, can you please advise how we can bring the next Secretary of State to this Chamber to answer questions on why the Government continue to block a drug for the most vulnerable among us—a drug that is medically approved, clinically effective, cost-effective and in use by many other countries?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving me notice of her point of order. I can confirm that Mr Speaker has not had notice of any statement on this subject. The hon. Lady will know the various ways in which she can continue to pursue the issues she has raised, but I am confident that those on the Government Benches will have heard her comments and I am sure they will feed them back to the relevant Government Departments. Clerks in the Table Office will also be able to give the hon. Lady advice on how she might pursue this.

We now come to the Second Reading of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill. Not moved.