I seek your advice in respect of a rather difficult matter. You will recall that, on 14 February, we dealt with the Wild Mammals (Protection) Bill. That Bill was defeated narrowly—by only 12 votes. On Monday 17 February, The Times carried an advertisement, placed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. That advertisement named every Member of Parliament and indicated how each had voted. You will recall that I was a sponsor of the Bill. I am a vice-president of the League Against Cruel Sports, and in the advertisement I was recorded as having abstained in the Division. My hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) was also recorded in that way, but we both voted for the Bill. We have been contacted by people saying that we betrayed their trust and the undertakings that we gave to our constituents. Can you, Sir, give me some advice?
The survey was pretty inaccurate, because I also found my name on it as having abstained. My three deputies were also recorded as having abstained, so I am not sure that the public should place too much credence on such an advertisement. The hon. Gentleman has made his point, and I think that he should raise the issue with the organisation concerned.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have great sympathy with the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr. Bowden) in this respect. It is a serious matter, especially for those of us who hold the cause as dear as we do. I was a Teller for that vote on the Bill and, of course, journalists being what they are, I was missed off the list in The Guardian as being absent. I have taken steps to remedy that omission if anyone cares to read today's "Diary" in The Guardian, but that is neither here nor there. I think that it would greatly assist some journalists who are perhaps not fully aware of our procedure if Tellers were recorded among those who vote for or against as our vote is taken by voice, before we move to count in the Division Lobbies. It is a serious matter, because we want people outside to know what Members of Parliament are doing, for and against strong arguments.
On a wholly different point of order, Mr. Speaker, but I suggest a far more important one in the long term. In his question to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) asked about the health service in Norwich. The hon. Gentleman has it as one of his ambitions that the health service of Scotland —[Interruption.]
Order. I cannot hear this. I stopped a member of the Opposition for seeking to continue Question Time. I saw the hon. Gentleman standing but, unhappily, I was not able to call him on that particular question. I suggest that he tries his luck on a future occasion, not under the guise of a point of order.
I wonder whether I could raise with you, Mr. Speaker, a matter which is very sensitive in the run-up to the general election. Without being critical of any of the House authorities, I am surprised at the contents of the Government motion on the Order Paper. You have always ruled, that the Government have no responsibility for Opposition parties' policies. The sensitive issue is the involvement of the civil service in, first, drafting the motion, because that seems to be a clear breach of the impartiality rules by which the British civil service is governed; and secondly, its briefing Ministers on the contents of this motion. There can be absolutely no doubt that the civil service has become embroiled in party politics in the drafting of the motion and in the briefing of Ministers.