Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 4:43 pm on 11th December 2000.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. The hon. Member for South-West Devon (Mr. Streeter) is making a point of order; the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) must wait his turn.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

At 10.30 this morning the Government launched a White Paper on globalisation at a press conference. Copies were made available to non-governmental organisations and the press this morning, but not to Members of Parliament[Interruption.]

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. The hon. Gentleman is making a point of order to the Chair; the Whip should not open his mouth while that is going on.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

Copies of the White Paper were made available to NGOs and the press this morning, but were not available to Members of Parliament until this afternoon. Given that the White Paper was billed as the Government's strategy to shape the forces of globalisation and was important enough to appear in the Queen's Speech, I ask you to rule, Mr. Speaker, whether the Government were right to launch it at a press conference, rather than making a statement to the House so that Ministers could be questioned by hon. Members—not least on many of the shortcomings in the White Paper, especially the fact that, although it refers to cracking down on corruption, the Government have passed up the opportunity to introduce a measure on corruption in the Queen's Speech. Is that not yet another contempt of the House?

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for drawing the matter to my attention. I will look into the circumstances that he describes.

Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. During our recent exchanges with the Prime Minister, I referred to the annexes attached to the French presidency report, with particular reference to European defence and security policy. It is outrageous that the Prime Minister should refer to documents intrinsic to the discussion and the statement that are not available in the Library so that Members can comment and question the Prime Minister on those issues. Will you be good enough to look into the matter?

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

I hope that all Ministers will make relevant documents available to the House in a timely manner.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Scotland)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the imminence of the Falkirk, West by-election next week, have you received any notification that any Minister will make a statement to the House on the tearing up of the Independent Television Commission code of conduct on the balance of political coverage, given that the Prime Minister will be allowed a one-hour propaganda slot tomorrow evening that is not being afforded to the leaders of any other political parties?

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

The answer to the hon. Gentleman's question is no.