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Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 4:38 pm on 2nd November 2009.

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien Shadow Minister (Health) 4:38 pm, 2nd November 2009

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In a written answer to me on 27 October 2009, Health Ministers claimed that the reason for their delay in publishing the final report from the Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board, which is examining weaknesses in Government policy on malnutrition, was because the board was "independent of Government" and that there had been a delay by the board's independent members in producing the report. However, in the same answer the Health Ministers said that the reason for the ongoing delay now that the report is with the Department is that the report now needs to be "considered by Ministers". Of course, while the delay is ongoing, the appalling burden of malnutrition is getting worse. Is it in order for Ministers to delay the publication of a report that is apparently independent of government, yet which the Government have pledged to publish, when it has, according to the written parliamentary answer, been with Ministers since as far back as "July"?

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Members Estimate Committee, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons

I am grateful to Mr. O'Brien for his point of order and for advance notice of it. Sadly, I must reiterate a central point in this Chamber: that the timing of the release of Government reports is a matter for the Government. The hon. Gentleman has registered his serious discontent with what he regards as an unacceptable delay. The point is on the record, and it will have been heard by Ministers and indeed by others.

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