Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 8th January 2001.

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Photo of Graham Brady Graham Brady Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 3:31 pm, 8th January 2001

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I seek your guidance? Could Ministers be encouraged to make a new year's resolution to give accurate and complete answers to questions asked of them in the Chamber?

A few moments ago, Mr. Speaker, you will have heard the Minister of State, Home Office, the right hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng), claim to me that police numbers in Greater Manchester had increased since March last year. On 4 January, his colleague, the Minister of State, Home Office, the hon. Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke), wrote to me with figures showing that they had fallen by 28. Either the hon. Member for Norwich, South has given me—and other hon. Members—incomplete or inaccurate written information, or his colleague has given inaccurate information in the Chamber. One or other of them must surely put that right.

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

The hon. Gentleman must take that up with the Ministers concerned. It has nothing to do with the Chair.

Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Labour, Cynon Valley

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Have you been given any indication that we are to expect a statement from the Foreign Office about the grave situation in Turkey, where 1,200 political prisoners are on hunger strike? During the week before the Christmas holidays, there was a brutal attack on seven Turkish prisons, in which 27 prisoners were killed and 400 injured. Human rights activists are in prison, and are being abused. Members of a demonstration were rounded up in Ankara, and the leader of the Turkish human rights movement was taken into custody. I understand that he has subsequently been tortured.

Turkey is a candidate for membership of the European Union, and our Government support its candidature. I think that we, as Members of Parliament, are entitled to hear from the Government why they are continuing to support it.

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

I have not been informed of any statement, but I am sure that Ministers will have heard what the hon. Lady has said.

Photo of Ann Widdecombe Ann Widdecombe Conservative, Maidstone and The Weald

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that the content of ministerial answers is not a matter for you, but the fact is that we should be given answers. It will not have escaped your notice, Mr. Speaker, that I asked a question about the Afghan hijack that was not answered at all.

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

That is not a matter for the Chair.