Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:30 pm on 25th May 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development) 12:30 pm, 25th May 2005

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Did you receive an explanation today as to why the amendment in my name and that of my hon. Friends to the motion on the Queen's Speech did not appear on the Order Paper? Can you confirm that it was properly presented and presented on time?

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. In this morning's Order Paper, there was an error regarding the motion for an address. The amendment to it in the name of the leader of the Scottish National party, which appeared yesterday, was not reprinted. A corrected version of item 3 on today's Order Paper has been placed in the Vote Office.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Chair, Education & Skills Committee

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You and I have been in the House a considerable time. We both enjoy a robust debate in the House but every Member deserves to be heard in the House. Although there is a fair level of activity in any debate, which we all understand, when an orchestrated group tries to stop a Member in the House from being heard, that is a serious concern. Towards the end of last evening, there was a clear, organised attempt—we used to call it talking among ourselves—to disrupt speeches. We always have to speak in polite terms, but now that we have gone back to silly hours on Tuesday nights, there is a great temptation for Members here to enjoy a good dinner. [Hon. Members: "Oh!"] The mixture last night—

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. That is not really a point of order. Let me tell the hon. Gentleman that I have noticed at times that he interrupts speeches, and I have had a bit of judicious deafness in that respect. He has given me an opportunity to say that it is good manners to listen to Members at all times. If Members want to enter into private conversations, they should go outside the Chamber. I have put that on the record as much as any Speaker.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons

I have dealt with the point of order. I do not want to hear any more about it.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman Shadow Secretary of State (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As recently as last week you urged Ministers to make their announcements to the House rather than to the media. Over the weekend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Deputy Prime Minister heavily trailed their plans for shared home ownership, and a press release today from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister precedes a written ministerial statement referring to documents that are not available in the House of Commons Library—I have just checked. Does not that show complete contempt for the House and will you support my efforts to get that issue, which was originally our policy, properly debated?

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons

I understand that there has been a written statement. Let me clarify my position. It is bringing information to the House that is important. Let me say to the hon. Lady, who is a member of Her Majesty's Opposition, that I will, of course, always consider urgent questions. If things have been said in the media, perhaps over the weekend, that does give me a feeling that the Minister concerned must come to the House. I hope that that is helpful to the hon. Lady.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Opposition Whip (Commons)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. During International Development questions today and, to a certain extent, during Prime Minister's questions, it was impossible in certain parts of the House to hear the debate. It was not so much because of the normal ambient noise, no matter how much we may not like that ambient noise, as because some of the speakers were not working and the amplification system is faulty. It was faulty yesterday, too. May I ask that perhaps over this coming week it be looked at and repaired?

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons

The hon. Gentleman has a valid point. Just before I left to come to the Chamber the Serjeant at Arms told me that work would take place over the weekend, and perhaps the recess if necessary.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Attorney General, Party Chair, Liberal Democrats

Further to the point of order made by Mrs. Spelman, Mr. Speaker, you were robust in the last Parliament and said that if there were a ministerial announcement, it should be made here first, with the press statement coming later. The hon. Lady said that things had been done in the wrong order today, and it would be helpful if you confirmed your statement of the last Parliament.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons

In this Parliament, before the House was kind enough to re-elect me, I confirmed my position—and I stand by that.