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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am wondering whether the Secretary of State for Social Services has sought your permission to make a statement on the precipitate resignation this afternoon of Mr. Victor Paige, the chairman of the National Health Service management board, in the middle of his period of office. It seems to me to be so significant a matter that the Secretary of State ought to be here. When Mr. Paige was appointed in January 1985, the Secretary of State said that his appointment was——
Order. I have received no request. The hon. Member knows that it is not a matter for me. If he deals with it through the usual channels, he may get some satisfaction.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Leader of the House is here. It was an important appointment that was announced by the Prime Minister and it was welcomed with a vast fanfare of trumpets. It was promised that Mr. Paige's appointment would bring about massive improvements in National Health Service efficiency. When he resigns, because he is sickened by what is happening, there is to be no statement in the House.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Since Mr. Paige has resigned from a lucrative job, he is obviously very concerned about something that clearly is a matter for public debate. I wonder whether you will advise the House about how this matter can be brought urgently to the Floor of the House and the Secretary of State made to come here and explain what is going on in the Health Service that has forced Mr. Paige to resign from a very lucrative job.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that approximately four hours ago I raised a point of order. It is significant that this resignation was announced half an hour after I raised my point of order, which related to a letter that was written to the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee by Mr. Paige answering questions on the level of services being provided by four health districts in the south of England. It is important that a Minister comes to the Dispatch Box, because the House wishes to know whether there is a connection between my point of order and the breach of privilege which was reported to the House by me and Mr. Paige's resignation.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I shall try, as ever, to be helpful. This procedure has been adopted on several occasions when it has been necessary to ask for your guidance on how we can get a statement, and you have invited the Leader of the House to say something. Since he is present now, would you repeat that procedure?
In response to such genuinely popular acclaim, I should say that these matters are ordinarily considered through the usual channels, and I imagine that they will be as effective on this occasion as they have been on others.