Point of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:16 pm on 15th May 2003.

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Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission 1:16 pm, 15th May 2003

I do not wish to prolong the argument. I can well understand that the Cabinet has to take a decision and that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport then has to prepare a statement to the House. However, the statement does not need to come before the House until circumstances allow the Opposition to be given at least an hour's notice, so that they have time to examine the statement. That is what I am saying today, and I would be very disappointed indeed if what I have heard were true. I remind the House that, less than a week ago, I used my discretion to allow a Minister to make a statement to the House at a rather strange hour. By all means allow the Cabinet to take a collective decision, but Opposition parties—I am not referring to the Conservative party alone—must be allowed an hour to examine a statement.