Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 2:57 pm on 15 March 2001.

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Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire 2:57, 15 March 2001

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. A few moments ago in my question to the Minister, I inadvertently indicated that some schools in my constituency had closed as a result of the outbreak. What I meant to say was that Wiltshire county council has considered whether to close the schools. However, as far as I am aware, none of them has been closed.

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

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's point will have been noted.

Photo of Nick Brown Nick Brown Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Minister of State (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for me to reiterate that I fully understand that the rural community wants to do everything necessary to assist farmers and others who rely on visitors to extinguish the disease?

Photo of Gerald Howarth Gerald Howarth Conservative, Aldershot

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that you were absolutely right to thank the Minister for the time that re has given to the House, and we would like to thank you for ensuring that the exchanges were able to continue. They demonstrated Parliament at its best.

Sadly, I raise a point of order because I wonder whether you have received notification from the Secretary of State for Defence of his wish to come to the House to make a statement. I was telephoned by my local radio station last night about a £200 million investment, including £3 million for my constituency, for barracks accommodation for soldiers. I have received no information from the Secretary of State, so I approached his office this morning, but I have still not received any information. That is appalling.

The Minister for the Armed Forces is in his place and I heard him on my local radio station this morning telling my constituents about the investment, but he has not had the courtesy to let me know about it so that I can tell my constituents what on earth is going on. I wonder whether you, Mr. Speaker, would deprecate the behaviour of Ministers in the MOD who—unlike the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who has made such a great effort—have made no effort to keep the House informed.

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

The hon. Gentleman is trying to draw me into an argument. All I can say is that I have had no approach from the Ministers that he has mentioned.

Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone

Further to that previous point of order, Mr. Speaker. As my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) said, it has been extremely good of you to give us so much time for questions.

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

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman; praise from him is praise indeed.