Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 22nd October 2001.

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Photo of David Winnick David Winnick Labour, Walsall North 4:36 pm, 22nd October 2001

Mr. Speaker, I know that you are, like your predecessors, concerned with the reputation of the House. There has, understandably, been criticism about the fact that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has not been reappointed as a matter of course. Indeed, a written question on the subject appears in Friday's Hansard.

What steps can be taken to debate the issue? When I raised the matter with the Leader of the House on 28 June, he said that

"the present Commissioner has been extremely zealous in performing her duties."—[Hansard, 28 June 2001; Vol. 370, c. 782.]

The suspicion is that in carrying out her duties she has been too zealous in interpreting the rules to which the House has agreed. We know that the office was created because of allegations of sleaze, which did the House so much harm. It is unfortunate that it has been decided that the present Commissioner will not be reappointed as a matter of course. Is there any way in which we can debate the matter on the Floor of the House?

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

It is not for me to advise the hon. Gentleman on procedural matters from the Chair via a point of order. He is as aware of procedure as I am, and it is up to him to find a way of bringing a motion before the House and debating the matter.

Photo of Michael Jack Michael Jack Conservative, Fylde

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will be aware that the House passes its Sessional Orders, dealing with facilities for entry and access to the House, at the beginning of each Session. You may be aware that on Sunday and this morning the traffic light system in Parliament square broke down, causing a considerable build-up of traffic around the House. In light of the difficult circumstances in which we currently operate, when access for emergency vehicles might be needed, I wonder whether you would be so kind as to make inquiries about what can be done to ensure the robustness of the systems that operate the traffic lights, so that at least the terms of our Sessional Orders can be adhered to.

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

I find that the traffic lights always break down at the most inconvenient time. All I can say to the right hon. Gentleman is that at the moment we have a great many worries, particularly about security, but that matter is now on the record.