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Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Several hon. Members:

rose —

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Photo of John Maples John Maples Deputy Chairman (Candidates), The Conservative Party, Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Documents published this weekend under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 show that my hon. Friend Peter Luff and I were deliberately misled in the House in November 1997 by the then Prime Minister about the Ecclestone affair. The documents show that the Prime Minister had decided on 16 October of that year to seek a derogation for Formula 1 from the tobacco advertising ban. That was immediately after he had met Mr. Ecclestone. In answer to us, the former Prime Minister stated that no decision had been made on 16 October.

The House must assert its right to truth from Ministers. Can you, Mr. Speaker, tell me how we can amend our rules to achieve that? I urge you to give us a lead in this matter so that we can insist on full and truthful answers from Ministers and a sanction against those who mislead us.

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Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Chair, Business and Enterprise Committee

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will understand that my hon. Friend Mr. Maples and I would know what to do were the gentleman in question still a Member of the House. That is not the case, so it is all the more important that the record be corrected. Even if you cannot rule in detail today on how we can go about that, will you please set up a review of the rules to ensure that errors of this kind made by former Members of the House, probably deliberately, can be corrected? This is a matter of the utmost importance.

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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 have been advised often that the content of a reply is not a matter for the Chair, but I am deeply concerned that two hon. Members have said that they were deliberately misled, albeit that the person concerned is out of the House. I suggest that, to pursue the matter, both hon. Members write to me and I will ask my officials to look into the content of the letter.

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