We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 4th May 1995.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr 3:32 pm, 4th May 1995

I thank the Leader of the House for reverting to using his best endeavours to announce, as far as practicable, two complete weeks of business. May I raise three points relating to next week?

I understand from press reports some weeks ago that some time next week the committee headed by Lord Nolan will present its interim report to the Prime Minister. Although the committee reports to the Prime Minister, it is in effect a report to Parliament and people about Members of Parliament and their interests in quangos. Therefore, we expect and request early publication and not to have to wait for the Prime Minister to think about it and delay publication until the Government have decided what they are going to recommend or not, as the case may be. We do not want a knee-jerk response. All political parties will be affected and there will be collateral damage all round. We also expect reasonable time to be allocated for a debate a couple of weeks after publication of the report.

Secondly, will the Leader of the House ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Secretary of State for Social Security—whoever he considers most relevant—to make a statement to the House next week about the tax and social security implications for the 460 victims of thalidomide of the decision reached yesterday by Guinness plc to pump extra money into the Thalidomide Trust in the next 15 years? That is welcome in so far as it goes, but it is quite unacceptable that the issue appears to be dealt with in a piecemeal fashion. It affects a small group of our fellow citizens who were not expected to live this long. Many of them are heads of their own families now. Parliament really should be able to address the matter and we could do so better if we had a statement from the relevant Minister about the implications of yesterday's decision.

My final point relates to a point that may turn up on business next week, but if it is scheduled for after 10 o'clock it may be taken on the nod. Since 12 April, the Home Secretary has had on his desk the report of the English parliamentary boundary commission. Given that that report recommends five extra constituencies for England and that we have already approved the Welsh report, which creates two extra constituencies, and the report of the boundary commission for Northern Ireland, which increases the number of constituencies from 17 to 18, after the next election there will be eight extra Members of Parliament.

It would be quite unacceptable and the public would go ape if we were to increase the size of the House—which some think is too great already—without debating the issue. In the normal course of events, it would be taken "forthwith" after 10 o'clock. It would be lamentable for the House not to debate a fairly substantial increase in the size of the House.