Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 30th January 2008.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Conservative, Henley 12:31 pm, 30th January 2008

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Since I am sure that the Prime Minister inadvertently misled the House when he said I wanted to cut spending on— [Interruption.]

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

Order. I need to hear the hon. Gentleman's point of order. I am the only one who has to stay and listen to it.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Conservative, Henley

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for staying. Since I am sure that the Prime Minister inadvertently misled the House when he said that I wanted to cut spending on the Metropolitan police, and since that is the exact opposite of the case—I want to get more police officers out on the beat to reverse the rise in violent crime over the past eight years and to restore to our streets, buses and station platforms a sense of safety and security—will you, Mr. Speaker, ask him to come as soon as possible to this Chamber to rectify that mistake?

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

The hon. Gentleman has put the record straight—and very swiftly at that.

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Photo of Neil Turner Neil Turner PPS (Mr Jim Murphy, Minister of State), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your guidance on the actions of Members in relation to the work they do in other Members' constituencies, and in particular on the actions of Mr. Wallace in relation to the Tote in the Wigan constituency. The hon. Gentleman approached the Wigan Evening Post representative in the Press Gallery, and the paper ran a story about 650 job losses in Wigan because of the Tote being auctioned off to the private sector. I understand that the hon. Gentleman lists the Tote as paying him money in order to— [Interruption.]—bat on its behalf in his entry in the Register of Members' Interests, but on the Monday following the story the Tote main board issued a statement refuting what the hon. Gentleman had said and saying that the story was untrue. Therefore, he was clearly not acting on its behalf at that time. At that time—

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

Order. The hon. Gentleman must give me clarity: what is his point of order? I have to be careful that a Member is not being attacked through the method of a point of order.

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Photo of Neil Turner Neil Turner PPS (Mr Jim Murphy, Minister of State), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The point of order is whether or not it is right for an hon. Member from another constituency to brief the press about a false story, which has put fear into people and has undermined my work and that of my right hon. Friend Mr. McCartney in our constituencies. That is interfering in the actions of my constituency, and it is against the rules of this House.

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

Having heard the circumstances, I must say that that is not a point of order—it is not a matter for the Chair. I make an appeal to hon. Members. I receive correspondence about comments made regarding one another's constituencies, but it is best if the Speaker is not drawn into those matters. It is best if local MPs, regardless of party differences, can resolve the matters themselves without raising them on the Floor of the House. The matter ends there. It is not a point of order.

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

Order. I hope that the hon. Lady is not telling me about points of order, because I have forgotten more than she will ever learn about these matters.

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Photo of Dawn Butler Dawn Butler Labour, Brent South

Sorry, Mr. Speaker. It is just that Opposition Members do not listen to the rules of the House. I concur with my hon. Friend Mr. Turner about Opposition Members coming into my—

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

Order. Let me stop the hon. Lady there, because some of the correspondence to which I was referring is about wee local difficulties just north of this House, and I do not want to know about them. That is what I am trying to tell hon. Members—do not draw the Chair into these matters.

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Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Shadow Minister (Scotland)

I am sure that Mr. Turner did not mean to mislead the House, but he made an allegation that I received payment from the Tote and that that was in the Register of Members' Interests. Of course when he examines the register, he will see that no such entry exists—nor did I receive any such payment. Would he perhaps take the opportunity to withdraw that scandalous allegation?

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

I consider that the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre has put the matter straight.

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

Order. As I said, it was not a proper point of order, but the hon. Gentleman has put the matter clearly on the record.

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Photo of Clive Efford Clive Efford Labour, Eltham

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is right, is it not, that no Member should attempt to mislead this House? Mr. Johnson commented on what the Prime Minister said, but it should be recorded that in fact it was the Conservatives in the Greater London authority who opposed the introduction of safer neighbourhood teams.

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

Order. What the hon. Member for Henley said was perfectly in order. He said that the Prime Minister may have "inadvertently" misled the House. Often it is the words that we use in this place that keep us in order, and he used the term "inadvertently".

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister reiterated his intention that the European Union treaty should be debated at length and line by line—

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Photo of Claire Curtis-Thomas Claire Curtis-Thomas PPS (Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Attorney General), Law Officers' Department

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to draw your attention to the fact that during International Development questions we only got as far as Question 6. Would you try to do what you can to ensure that we make progress in these matters?

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

I always do. Of course, the hon. Lady will know that I called her on a supplementary, and that takes up time. If she did not stand, I would move on quickly, but that is not the point of the House, is it? The point of the House is to find a balance between getting through the Order Paper and allowing hon. Members to have their say.

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

I hope that the right hon. Member for Makerfield is not going to bring up the Tote again. I call Mr. Dismore.

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Photo of Andrew Dismore Andrew Dismore Labour, Hendon

Further to the point of order made by Mr. Johnson, Mr. Speaker. I believe that I first raised the question of cuts in the police according to his policy, and that was based on a report in the Evening Standard

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

Mr. McCartney, I hope that we are not going the re-open the matter of the Tote. I know that you are a constituency neighbour of Mr. Turner, but if this is not a point of order, I shall stop you, albeit reluctantly.

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Photo of Ian McCartney Ian McCartney Labour, Makerfield

May I reassure you, Mr. Speaker that the way in which I will put this matter is in order? It is in order to raise this point of order. Mr. Wallace is not a constituency

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