Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 24th April 1995.

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Photo of Mr Tim Smith Mr Tim Smith , Beaconsfield 3:31 pm, 24th April 1995

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. May I draw to your attention the story that has appeared on the front page of the Evening Standard this afternoon, which suggests that members of the Public Accounts Committee are demanding the release of details about the royal household's money? Is not it quite wrong that the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) should have sought to pre-empt a meeting of the Committee, which is not meeting until 4.30 pm today, when most of us are interested not in pursuing his prurient inquiries into the royal household, but only in value for money?

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

I have not seen the report to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but I shall certainly take a look at it. If the situation is as the hon. Gentleman says, I certainly take such matters quite seriously. I hope that he will leave it in my hands.

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain , Neath

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Are you expecting a statement from the Government about reports this morning that the number of gas complaints have gone up by 150 per cent.? Is not that an example of the privatisation shambles, when the number of gas complaints go up and the chief executive's salary goes up as well?

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

I have not been informed by the Government that they are seeking to make a statement today.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien , North Warwickshire

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Are you aware of the article in this morning's edition of Today, which shows that Britain tops the league in crime—

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien , North Warwickshire

In this morning's Today newspaper—

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

I understood which newspaper, but I did not understand what followed it.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien , North Warwickshire

My point of order, Madam Speaker, is that the paper says that Britain tops the league of shame in its rise in crime since 1979. Given that that information became available—it appears—after Home Office questions last week, should not the Government make it clear in all candour when answering questions that their crime record is appalling and not as good as they claim?

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

These points of order are totally bogus. Therefore, I am taking no more. [Interruption.] Just a moment—I shall determine whether they are bogus points of order, not the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan). The point of order raised by the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Smith) was not bogus, if I may say so. However the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. O'Brien) is bogus. I am not expected to read every newspaper that comes out and I have no intention of doing so.

Several hon. Members:

rose

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Sit down. I have not finished answering yet. It is for the Government, if they have anything to say, to say it to the House and not through the hon. Gentleman or me to newspapers. I will take only genuine points of order now. I will listen to Mr. Shaw. If it is not a genuine point of order, he will be sat down.

Photo of Mr David Shaw Mr David Shaw , Dover

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I hope that it will be as genuine as I can possibly make it in the circumstances.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. That is not saying very much at all.

Photo of Mr David Shaw Mr David Shaw , Dover

My concern is about the order in the House of Commons in terms of whether we have balanced reading material. It is obvious from the first two points of order—

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. That is nothing whatever to do with me. I warned the hon. Gentleman. Any more points of order? Very good.