Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:39 pm on 27th June 1995.

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Photo of Mr George Robertson Mr George Robertson Shadow Secretary of State 4:39 pm, 27th June 1995

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. May I seek your advice on an important matter? At Prime Minister's Question Time last Tuesday, the Prime Minister made a specific reference to me which was not based on the truth, when he asked my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition whether he would publish the earlier, secret report held by the Labour party into Monklands council, which the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) has consistently refused to make public?"—[Official Report, 20 June 1995; Vol. 262, c. 149–50.] I raised a point of order last Wednesday, pointing out that that was not true, and that the Prime Minister had written to me later that day indicating that it was not true. He wrote to me saying: Although a report may have been published as a result of your party's internal inquiry". The Prime Minister has not clarified that point in writing or orally, and he has not apologised to the House for it.

Given that, in that same Question Time, the Prime Minister said: Ministers who deliberately mislead Parliament should resign".— [Official Report, 20 June 1995; Vol. 262, c. 149.], I wonder if you can tell us what advice is contained in "Erskine May" for situations such as this, when a Prime Minister has said that I have not done something, when in fact the report to which he referred was published in March 1993; and, when he is asked on pain of his integrity if he will clarify the matter and apologise to the House, he still does nothing.

Surely there must be some protection for hon. Members, wherever they sit and whoever they are, from other right hon. or hon. Members making statements that are simply not true, and when that right hon. or hon. Member is unwilling to come back to the House, admit the truth and apologise.