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Points of Order

Volume 538: debated on Thursday 19 January 2012

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wonder whether it is in order for Ministers to abuse Opposition Back Benchers on the basis of their age or gender—[Laughter.] Yesterday, we heard the Prime Minister do that to the 79-year-old hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner). That problem was repeated today—[Interruption.]

Order. I say to Mr Shelbrooke, who is now engaging busily in a conversation with the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Andrew Jones): calm yourself. The hon. Lady is raising a point of order about manners, to which I intend to listen and with which I will deal, and it hardly helps if people are sniggering and smirking at the point she is making.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The Minister of State, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, did the same thing today when he described the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) as “hysterical”. You used the word “manners”, Mr Speaker. Is there anything you can do to promote better manners in this Chamber, so that Members do not face abuse from Ministers?

What I would say to the hon. Lady is that “Erskine May” is clear that good temper and moderation in the use of language are the hallmarks of parliamentary debate—to those I would simply add good taste. I hope that that is helpful.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. At last week’s business questions, I asked about a little boy who was being denied cancer treatment. Thanks to the intervention of the Leader of the House and the immediate intervention of the Secretary of State for Health, that treatment was granted. Sometimes the public get the impression that Parliament does not work, but on that occasion it clearly did. I wondered how I could get that on the record.

The hon. Gentleman has done so and he knows it.

Bill Presented

Civil Aviation

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Mrs Theresa Villiers, supported by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Secretary Hague, Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mrs Secretary May, Secretary Vince Cable, Secretary Justine Greening, Mr Secretary Paterson, Secretary Michael Moore, Mrs Secretary Gillan and Mr Francis Maude, presented a Bill to make provision about the regulation of operators of dominant airports; to confer functions on the Civil Aviation Authority under competition legislation in relation to services provided at airports; to make provision about aviation security; to make provision about the regulation of provision of flight accommodation; to make further provision about the Civil Aviation Authority’s membership, administration and functions in relation to enforcement, regulatory burdens and the provision of information relating to aviation; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 275) with explanatory notes (Bill 275-EN).