Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 27th April 1999.

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Photo of Tim Yeo Tim Yeo Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 3:30 pm, 27th April 1999

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Last Thursday, the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food answered an oral question on Meat Hygiene Service inspection charges, saying that the Government have proposed no charges and consulted on no charges; no one has had an invoice involving a 1 per cent. increase, a 1,000 per cent. increase or any increase."—[Official Report, 22 April 1999; Vol. 329, c. 1034.] On Friday morning, I visited a Leicestershire abattoir owned by Joseph Morris, who had received that very morning a letter from the MHS confirming that the increase in the charges he must pay for visits by official veterinary surgeons employed by the MHS would rise by more than 100 per cent., backdated to 22 March. Do you agree, Madam Speaker, that the Minister should explain to the House at once whether he knew what the MHS was doing when he answered that question; and, if he did not know, why not?

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

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman realises that that is not a matter for me. From what he has said, I have no doubt that he will raise the matter directly with the Minister concerned.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell Labour, Linlithgow

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Both in questions to the Prime Minister yesterday and during the debate, the question was repeatedly asked as to what would happen if Russian ships were to be apprehended, either in the Mediterranean or in the Adriatic. Have you had any request from Downing street, the Foreign Office or the Ministry of Defence to address that question?

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick Labour, Walsall North

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. Is there to be a statement today on the continued violence, the murders and the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo? Those acts cause tremendous distress to hon. Members—certainly to Labour Members and, I hope, to Opposition Members as well—and it would be interesting to know whether a statement is to be made as soon as possible.

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

I must inform both hon. Gentlemen that I am not aware that a statement is to be made today, but I know that the Government are aware of those matters. Ministers make statements to the House as often as they are able to and I want them to continue to do that.