Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 4:21 pm on 18 February 1998.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan Conservative, Blaby 4:21, 18 February 1998

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I have given you prior notice of this point of order, which concerns the accuracy of statements recorded in the Official Report. We all judge the Official Report to be of immense use when we write our speeches or assemble arguments, and it is important that statements recorded in it are accurate, so I ask your guidance. On 21 January, the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Ms Palmer) introduced a ten-minute Bill about air weapons. I have spoken to the hon. Gentleman and we have discussed the matter, although sadly he cannot be here this afternoon. I should say that I wish him no ill and I am sure that it was confusion of facts, rather than any other cause, which led to this point of order.

The Official Report states: "In the past few years, one police officer was killed and another 7,000 injured by airgun attacks."—[Official Report, 21 January 1998; Vol. 304, c. 1014.] However, in response to a written question from me, the Home Secretary said that, although he had no figure for the past two years, he could find no fatal injuries and a total of 22 injuries recorded during eight of the past 10 years. I can find no other evidence of anybody being killed. Every policeman injured is a serious matter, but the discrepancy between 22 and 7,000 is large, and I wondered whether you could give your judgment on that, Madam Speaker.

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

The answer is a polite no. It is not a point of order the hon. Gentleman is challenging the figures used by another hon. Member and that is not a matter for the Speaker, but a matter for debate and argument. It is not for the Speaker of the House to determine the figures or to become involved in arguments about the substance of debates. The hon. Gentleman may try to use other methods to bring the matter to the attention of the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer).