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Business

Volume 739: debated on Wednesday 18 July 2012

My Lords, forgive me. Noble Lords may recall that yesterday I asked the noble Lord the Leader of the House to ensure that while Parliament was sitting, Statements were announced to Parliament and not to the media. Lo and behold, I woke up this morning to hear on the BBC an announcement about the £40 billion loan guarantee scheme. I have no comments about the scheme, which I am sure is perfectly reasonable, but if this is a new announcement of new money being made available, it should have been made to Parliament. If it is not new money, then the Government should tell us that it is recycled money. In any case, on the day on which an announcement was made, the Minister standing at the Dispatch Box should have been able to give an answer to my noble friend Lord Barnett when he asked about it.

My Lords, it is unfortunate that the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, did not give us advance notice of this. She might have asked a question when my noble friend Lord Sassoon moved his Motion. We do not have business questions in this House as yet. I know my noble friend Lord Sassoon could have made a comment at that time. I am aware that he has put down a written Ministerial Statement on this matter. I am also aware that the noble Baroness was able to meet with the Leader of the House yesterday to discuss this matter. I suggest that those discussions continue.

My Lords, another point arises from that. Although the noble Lord, Lord De Mauley, answered the first two Questions immaculately, he is only a Whip and not a departmental Minister. When these detailed Questions arise, sometimes the Whips do not seem to be able to answer them.

On the second Question in particular, where was the Minister of State for BIS—the Scarlet Pimpernel of the House of Lords? Why do we never see the noble Lord, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint? Why does he not come to answer Questions? Why is he not here? He could have answered that Question properly and substantially from the Dispatch Box, but he is not here today. Is it because he is so embarrassed that he was executive chairman of HSBC during the banking scandal?