On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. You will remember that the first debate in this House that arose from a public petition took place in 2011, on the Hillsborough stadium disaster. I am sorry to tell you that one of the campaigning journalists who made that debate happen, Dan Kay, died this weekend. Dan made an extraordinary, pioneering contribution to journalism and he was an incredible support to bereaved families and survivors during the very traumatic second inquest. May I seek your advice on how I can mark his life for the record and offer the support of this House to all those who loved him?
I am grateful to the hon. Member for giving notice of her point of order. While she will understand that it is not a point of order for the Chair, she has succeeded in putting this sad news on the record. I am sure that colleagues in all parts of the House will wish to join her in sending condolences to Dan’s family and friends.
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I too seek your advice. Over the past few weeks, I have tabled several written parliamentary questions to ascertain what meetings are being held in Government to implement the recommendations of Sir Brian Langstaff’s second interim report on the infected blood scandal. I have asked for details on the number of meetings, who attends, who chairs those meetings and if there have been any meetings for the devolved Administrations, but I have been refused that information. Today there was a report in the Financial Times that meetings have been held by the Treasury and the Department of Health and Social Care about compensation. I raised the matter in Treasury questions and I was referred to the Minister for the Cabinet Office, who has consistently refused to disclose any information. Can you please advise me, Madam Deputy Speaker, on how I can obtain the basic information showing that the Government are acting “at pace”, as the Minister for the Cabinet Office claims, setting out for those infected and affected what meetings are being held to implement Sir Brian’s recommendations?
I thank the right hon. Lady for that point of order. I can see that she has been going around the houses with different Departments. The Secretary of State for Health is still in the Chamber and will have heard what she has said. I am sure that those on the Treasury Bench and the Whips will also have heard and will be reporting back as we speak that this matter has been raised, and perhaps will pass it through to the Cabinet Office. It may be that not all the meetings that she has asked about have been collated already, but one hopes that that might happen at some point soon, because I know how anxious she and many Members of the House are to know that progress is being made on the issue.
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Cleveland Police area now has the highest crime rate in the country, yet according to the latest Home Office figures, the force has 250 fewer police officers than in 2010. ITV Tyne Tees has run a series of features on these terrible failures by the Government and their effect on our communities on Teesside, yet Home Office Ministers continue to refuse to speak to reporter Rachel Bullock, who wants to give them a chance to respond to her report. Could you please advise me on how I can encourage Ministers to engage with regional media? Do any of them have any plans to come to this House so that Members can hold them to account on this matter?
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I support my hon. Friend in his request for a statement, because Cleveland Police has not only the highest incidence of crime, but the lowest rate of recruitment. Crime is surging and we are relying on a return of a couple of hundred recruits. We are still hundreds short. I support my hon. Friend’s request for guidance on how we might secure a statement from the Minister on this critical point for our communities.
I thank both hon. Gentlemen for their points of order. I am sure that both of them will realise that I am not responsible for whether Ministers engage with regional media; that is clearly up to them. I am also not aware of any plans for Ministers to come to the House on this issue. The Table Clerks will provide advice as to how the hon. Gentlemen might like to raise particular issues in the House. They are both very experienced Members, so I am sure they know how to table, for example, parliamentary questions, and I expect they will do so any minute. Those on the Treasury Bench will have heard their comments and I am sure will pass them back to the relevant Ministers.