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Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 25th June 1996.

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Photo of Mr Michael Jopling Mr Michael Jopling , Westmorland and Lonsdale 4:33 pm, 25th June 1996

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I draw your attention to the fact that the Liberal Democrats' motion for debate today does something which, although I understand it to be perfectly in order, is done only rarely—it makes a personal attack on a Minister?

It has been well known for a good many weeks that the year's most important meeting of the Council of Ministers is taking place today, and it is essential that my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Agriculture attends. At the meeting, annual price fixing will be decided upon. Frankly, if my right hon. and learned Friend were not there, thousands of farmers in this country would fail to understand why he was not fighting for them. I can say that with experience, having been Minister of Agriculture for more than four years. [HON. MEMBERS: "This is a point of order."] Mr. Deputy Speaker, although hon. Members are at liberty to table any motion they like, will you deplore a motion that attacks a Minister personally when there is no sensible way in which—