On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you know, like my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) I am an assiduous attender in the Chamber. Today, when the Social and Liberal Democrats had the choice of subject for debate on this Supply day, I happened to be out of the Chamber for a short time while I was engaged in important constituency work. I understand that, without any notification, the Minister made an attack upon me.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, when an attack is to be made on another hon. Member, it is usual to notify that hon. Member so that he may respond. The Minister attacked a very good record of work by the Minister with responsibility for small firms in the last Labour Government, who ensured growth and prosperity for small firms. It is deeply regrettable that the Minister should feel so insecure and incompetent that he chose to attack me behind my back. It is very much to be regretted.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) said about his being an assiduous attender in the Chamber. He is. The only reason he was missing tonight was that there was no money resolution. If there had been, I think that he would have been on his feet now. The important issue is that he was attacked—
Why did not the hon. Member raise the matter at the time? I was not in the Chair at the time. The hon. Members for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) and for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) are assiduous attenders. It is a convention that, if hon. Members attack each other in the Chamber, they let the relevant hon. Member know. I cannot judge what happened in the debate to which the hon. Members have referred.
It is a bedtime story. When the Minister was attacking my hon. Friend, another Tory Member—I think it was the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton)—said, "Hey, just a minute. Never mind about attacking the hon. Member for Bradford, South. You should be getting interest rates down." There is a moral to the story. The Minister should not have attacked my hon. Friend; he should have been doing his job in respect of interest rates. My hon. Friend came out—