Order. I must tell the hon. Gentleman that he is not able to raise that matter in the Chamber. I also had notice of this point of order but I must tell the hon. Gentleman and the House that page 235 of "Erskine May" clearly states:
The opinion of the Speaker cannot be sought in the House about any matter arising or likely to arise in a committee".
The hon. Gentleman must make his views known to the Ministers in the usual way. I cannot help him or allow him to raise on a point of order matters currently before a Standing Committee.
Firther to that point of order, Mr. Speaker, and with great respect, can you advise me whether it would be in order for me to write to you expressing my concern about the proceedings of the Committee continuing? In that way you would have an opportunity to reflect on the matters that I wish to raise and consider whether any matter is appropriate for your consideration.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I would not have bothered the House with this point of order if it had affected only myself, but it affects a distinguished retired civil servant.
You may recall, Mr. Speaker, that, in question No. 2 today to the Chancellor, I attributed a view to Sir Kenneth Clucas, a former Permanent Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry. The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) was then called and said to the House—certainly in the hearing of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Monklands, East (Mr. Smith) among others—that that information had been leaked to me. Sir Kenneth Clucas retired more than five years ago and there was no question whatever of a leak. Sir Kenneth made the statement that the Prime Minister had placed Sir Robert Armstrong in a very difficult position and that it was unethical for the Cabinet Secretary to embark on an inquiry to which he knew the answer before he started. That is the public view of Sir Kenneth Clucas and it is wrong for the hon. Member for Northampton, North to say that that information was leaked.