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Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 4:44 pm on 5th February 1986.

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Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 4:44 pm, 5th February 1986

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The House is always keen to debate matters of public concern. I raised earlier a question about the news that there has been a nuclear fuel leak at Sellafield and that all bar the emergency staff from one part of the building have been evacuated. In view of that, has anybody contacted your office, Mr. Speaker, about the Government making a statement on this issue either today or as soon as possible? This is a matter of great public concern. Therefore, it would be a good thing if we were able to shed a little more light on the subject.

Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I rise, first, because my constituency is involved and, secondly, because I speak for the Opposition on these matters. This is a matter of concern. I have called for an immediate statement from the management and I have a copy of that report here, although I shall not detain the House by reading it. I am assured that the appropriate regulatory authorities have been notified of the incident, that no-one has been damaged and that there has been no release of radiation to the environment. I put it on record now that we shall be considering further information in due course, and I might, on behalf of the Opposition, be calling for a statement tomorrow from the Government.

Photo of Mr Joe Ashton Mr Joe Ashton , Bassetlaw

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Minister opened the statement by saying "With permission". I understand that it is with your permission, Mr. Speaker, that Ministers make statements to the House. Today, we have a controversial Supply Day and the Government have deliberately chosen to eat into its time by making a statement on another controversial matter, which may knock British Leyland out of the headlines. When the Government do that deliberately as part of their news management, should you not refuse that permission, Mr. Speaker, and let them come another day?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. The "with permission" preamble is nothing to do with me. As I understand it, it is purely a convention. Unfortunately, I have no power to refuse to listen to a statement.

Photo of Mr Raymond Powell Mr Raymond Powell , Ogmore

On a point of order arising out of questions to the Secretary of State, Mr. Speaker. I believe that the Secretary of State deliberately misled the House and—

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. The Secretary of State has not deliberately misled the House.

Photo of Mr Raymond Powell Mr Raymond Powell , Ogmore

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Only you can decide on and interpret this.

Over the past few months we have had a sufficient number of mis-statements, incidents of the House being misled, and on occasions deliberately lied to.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Not in this House. The hon. Gentleman knows that everyone in the House is equally honourable, so we do not lie to each other.

Photo of Mr Raymond Powell Mr Raymond Powell , Ogmore

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am not referring to a particular case. I am suggesting that the House has been misled by the Secretary of State on the determination of the chairman of the Welsh water authority and his board about privatisation of water.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I have no knowledge of these matters. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman can pursue them at Welsh Question Time.

Photo of Mr Michael Forsyth Mr Michael Forsyth , Stirling

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have had two statements, one relating to England and one to Wales, on an important matter that will bring immense benefit to people living in those areas. Have you had any intimation from the Scottish Office that we are to know what the proposals for Scotland are? I appreciate that there water is the responsibility of the local authorities.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

No intimation has been made to me.