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Points of Order

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 15 November 2022

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. It has been revealed that, in the Opposition day debate on Scottish independence and the economy on Wednesday 2 November, figures used by SNP Members were inaccurate. The right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford) said that Scotland possesses

“25% of the potential European offshore wind and tidal resource.”—[Official Report, 2 November 2022; Vol. 721, c. 884.]

This was subsequently repeated by the hon. Members for Inverclyde (Ronnie Cowan) and for East Renfrewshire (Kirsten Oswald). That figure has been debunked by the think-tank These Islands—[Interruption]—and by the Scottish Government’s own civil servants. The think-tank has shown that it is the product of a bogus analysis of a mixture of reports dating back to 1993, and freedom of information requests to the Scottish Government have shown that their civil servants have been privately warning against the use of this figure for at least two years. Given that this figure is completely fictitious, have you had any representations from those Members that they intend to come and correct the record?

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. As the hon. Member for Edinburgh West (Christine Jardine) states, the figure of 25% used by the SNP is actually closer to 4%. [Interruption.] While SNP Members laugh at and heckle the research done by Sam Taylor of These Islands, they should remember what SNP Scottish Government officials have said. Two years ago, they said that

“we tend not to use this anymore.”

Also two years ago, they said that

“the 25% estimate has never, to my knowledge, been properly sourced”.

In January 2021, they said:

“Yes we did recycle those figures quite robotically without really checking them.”

Yet they are still being robotically recycled by SNP Members, including the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford) and the hon. Members for East Renfrewshire (Kirsten Oswald) and for Inverclyde (Ronnie Cowan). What representations have you had from those Members who just in the last fortnight have used deliberately misleading claims in this House, and if they did so knowingly, will they be asked to apologise?

I think the hon. Gentleman should be a bit more cautious on the language about misleading, but I will now give my answer.

Just a minute, please. Order. Can I just say to you, Mr Cowan, that two of us are not going to be on our feet at the same time? I am standing, I know your intention, and I will give my first answer before I come to you. Please, let us follow the orders of the House, which apply to everybody, including you.

I thank the hon. Members for Edinburgh West (Christine Jardine) and for Moray (Douglas Ross) for giving notice of their points of order. The Chair is not responsible for the accuracy of Members’ use of statistics. Members themselves must take responsibility for the accuracy of their contributions. These Members have made their views clear, and I certainly do not want a continuation of the debate.

Mr Cowan, I am sure you are not going to continue the debate, are you?

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I thank you for your forbearance on this matter; I have no intention of rehearsing the debate. All I would say is that I checked Hansard and I clearly said “potential”, and I stand by that. If the Scottish Government and the industry had had investment from the UK Government, that potential—

Order. We are doing it again; the hon. Member will have to sit down. The answer is, “Thanks for that; it is a good clarification.” I am going to leave it at that; I am not going to continue the debate.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In an answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Andrew Jones), the Chancellor promised a letter on arrangements to be made for park homes. Is there anything you can do, Mr Speaker, to ensure we return to what used to be the normal practice: that when correspondence is referred to, it is placed in the Library of the House? We all have skin in the game.

The right hon. Member has put that on the record, and I am sure everybody on the Front Bench will have heard, including those in the Treasury.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I apologise for not giving you notice of this, but reports suggest that protesters in Iran are being sentenced to death and executions may take place almost immediately. Has any Minister given you notice that they will come to the House to make a statement on what protection and assistance will be provided for people in Iran, particularly UK citizens?

I thank the hon. Member for that important point of order. Nobody has come forward with a statement, and I am surprised the Foreign Office has not been knocking on my door to say it wants to make one. I am sure the point of order will have been heard, and an urgent question might be presented tomorrow.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The coroner recorded this morning that the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak was caused by acute oedema—respiratory failure—but that that was caused by prolonged and severe exposure to mould growth in the home in which he lived. Mould growth in properties— both private and social housing—is an issue across these islands of ours; has any Minister given any indication that they will comment on the inquest today or in the future, and if not, can we at least alert the Treasury Bench to the coroner’s conclusions, because they have implications that go way beyond the tragic case of the two-year-old boy in my constituency?

I totally agree that that is a tragic case and I thank the hon. Member for giving notice of his point of order. I have not heard of any statements; however, Ministers will have heard the points he has raised and I hope they will consider them. I know the hon. Member will pursue this, perhaps in an Adjournment debate; if he puts his name in, he may well be successful.

Bills Presented

Motor Vehicle Tests (Diesel Particulate Filters) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Mr Barry Sheerman, supported by Geraint Davies, Wera Hobhouse, Clive Efford, Dr Philippa Whitford, Christine Jardine, Matt Western, Sir Robert Goodwill and Caroline Lucas, presented a Bill to set standards as to the emissions particulate sensing technology to be used in roadworthiness tests for diesel vehicles; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the first time; to be read a Second time on Friday 24 March 2023, and to be printed (Bill 189).

Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests (Appointment by Parliament) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Christine Jardine, supported by Ed Davey, Daisy Cooper and Wendy Chamberlain, presented a Bill to make provision about the appointment by Parliament of an Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the first time; to be read a Second time Friday 9 December, and to be printed (Bill 188).