On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In answer to a question about school funding, the Prime Minister repeated the statistic about 1.9 million children being in good or outstanding schools that was proven not necessarily the full truth only this week following investigation by the shadow Secretary of State for Education. The UK Statistics Authority has also proven the number not to be true. Will you advise, Mr Speaker?
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her perspicacity and her fleetness of foot in raising this matter immediately after Prime Minister’s questions. As the House will know, I have many roles here, but they do not include that of “truth commissioner”. Each Member is responsible for the accuracy of what he or she says in the House, and if a Member, including a Minister, thinks that he or she has erred, it is that Member’s responsibility to correct the record. Meanwhile, the hon. Lady has put her thoughts on record, and she will have to content herself with that for now.
The day would not be complete without a point of order from Mr Peter Bone.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Unusually in Prime Minister’s questions—or at any time in the House—a hon. Member held up a placard with a slogan on it. What was coincidental is that I understand that a photographer, to whom I am sure you had given permission, was taking photographs from the Gallery above me. I wonder whether you would investigate that coincidence, Mr Speaker.
That is a coincidence. The House photographer was working in the Gallery, but I did not note of what the House photographer took pictures. More particularly, as the hon. Gentleman has raised a perfectly proper point, the Chair has to judge in the circumstances of the time whether it is best to intervene or simply to allow matters to proceed. I felt that the hon. Member for Blyth Valley (Mr Campbell) might have, as it were, luxuriated in the lather of further attention if I had commented on the matter, but he was behaving in a mildly disorderly manner. As he knows, I am a little concerned that his propensity to consume very hot curry might be encouraging him in this somewhat untoward behaviour, from which I hope he might desist when he gets a bit older—he is only a young, new Member.
We will leave it there for now, but I am sure that the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), who regards his colleagues and those who work in the service of the House highly, would not cast aspersions on the integrity of a House Officer and, as it happens, a superb photographer—[Interruption.] Oh Mr Campbell, you must compose yourself; we are at an early stage in our proceedings.
Railways (Franchises) Bill
Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)
Tim Farron, supported by Sir Edward Davey and Tom Brake, presented a Bill to require the Secretary of State to terminate a rail passenger services franchise agreement in certain circumstances; to repeal section 25 of the Railways Act 1993; to make provision for local franchising authorities in England; and for connected purposes.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 23 November, and to be printed (Bill 271).