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Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:33 pm on 17th January 2008.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 2:33 pm, 17th January 2008

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Before we get on to our substantive business, may I raise a follow-up to an exchange at business questions today, in which the Leader of the House denied that Ministers were continuing to treat Members of the House with contempt by making announcements outside the House before making them to Members here? Shortly after business questions had concluded—I suspect that this was no coincidence—I received a hand-delivered letter in my office from the Minister of State for Work and Pensions, Caroline Flint, saying that she had endorsed the closure of the Christchurch Jobcentre office. I bumped into my right hon. Friend Mr. Letwin just now, and he had yet to receive a similar letter telling him that the Dorchester office of Jobcentre Plus was also closing. What concerns me is that the Minister knows that I take this issue very seriously. It has been the subject of a public meeting in my constituency, the subject of a petition to Parliament, and the subject of an Adjournment debate that I initiated. Indeed, it was also the subject of a delegation that I took to discuss the matter with the Minister, yet her letter makes no reference to any of those matters. What concerns me most of all, however, is that I have now received a piece of paper from one of the journalists at the Bournemouth Daily Echo which shows that, at 9.21 this morning, the Minister's Department was communicating directly with a journalist, making the telephone number of the Minister, no less, available—

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Douglas White
Posted on 18 Jan 2008 1:23 pm (Report this annotation)

This is a direct insult, both to Mr Chope and his constituents.