On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The Minister repeatedly answered my hon. Friends' questions with words such as, "Watch this space. See the statement on Wednesday," and the like. Does he intend to make a statement to the House on Wednesday? If not, why not and why does he repeatedly refer to such an announcement on Wednesday? Is it in order for him to do so when he apparently has no intention of making a statement to the House?
It is perfectly in order for the Minister to make the comments that he has made. That is not a point of order for me because I have no responsibility for the order of business on Wednesday, or any other day.
On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Given the announcement by the rail franchising director this morning that rail prices will be pegged to inflation-only increases or less during the next seven years, have you received a request from the Opposition spokesman on transport to apologise to the House and the country at the Dispatch Box for all the Opposition's scaremongering?
On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I do not know whether you are aware of the fact, but the Office of the Passenger Rail Franchising Director has issued a press release that is not allowed to be taken out of this country. A note to editors says:
This notice must not be taken to the USA or Canada
or to certain other European countries. Apparently, use of the notice would make the sale of British Rail's stock and services illegal within those countries because of the level of subsidy involved. It seems extraordinary that private notes should be sent to newspaper editors about what can or cannot be exported, yet the House apparently has no prospect of hearing a statement from the Minister about exactly what he is proposing on such matters. Can you help us?
Perhaps we shall have to wait until tomorrow to see whether a statement is to be made. As I said earlier, I have no responsibility for the business of this House. If Ministers wish to make statements, they always give me and the House notice in good time and the announcement is always on the annunciator screen by 1 o'clock.