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Questions to Ministers

– in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 14th June 1988.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton 6:15 pm, 14th June 1988

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am amazed that you took the other points of order, but mine had to wait——

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

Order. I apologise to the hon. Gentleman: he was not on his feet, and we have a heavy day ahead of us.

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton

My point of order arises out of Question Time. I wanted to raise my point of order immediately after I had asked my question. I went to see you, Mr. Speaker, and you said that I could not raise it at 3.30 pm, but had to wait until after all the statements.

My question, No. 15, was directed to the Secretary of State for Social Services. It was linked with Question 1, so I was called early. It was: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the special unit dealing with transitional protection in respect of housing benefits to be in full operation. My supplementary question to the Secretary of State raised the plight of a number of my constituents, individuals and families, who are up to '£26 worse off under the changes and have been caused acute hardship by them. I followed up that information with key aspects——

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

Order. We do not want to go over this again. I heard the question, and I want to know the point of order for me.

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton

I must explain it, Mr. Speaker. You heard the question, but I wonder whether you heard the Minister's answer——

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

Order. I did, but this should be a point of order to me, not a rerun of Question Time.

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton

I shall cut short what I asked. I asked about heating charge rebates and how they were applicable to the transitional arrangements—for they are. My question was perfectly relevant to the substantive question on the Order Paper. In his cursory answer, the Secretary of State, in effect, said that what I had said had nothing to do——

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

Order. This is an absolute abuse. The hon. Gentleman is seeking to have a rerun of Question Time and is not raising a point of order with me.

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

Order. I shall take it only if there is a point of order for me.

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen , Leyton

It is very much a point of order for you, Mr. Speaker. I agree that there was an abuse of the House—by the Minister, who did not properly answer my relevant question. Hon. Members such as I take oral questions seriously. I have not been known to miss them. I come in especially for oral questions when my question is high on the Order Paper, and I expect a decent answer——

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

Order. I must stop the hon. Member there. Throughout this point of order he has been raising matters that are plainly for the Minister, not for me. We must move on.

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

Order. I shall hear no more, as this is an abuse. The hon. Gentleman must resume his seat.