Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 11:12 am on 14th February 2013.

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Photo of Mary Creagh Mary Creagh Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I would like to set the record straight—[Interruption.]

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

Order. I say to Members who are shrieking that they should cease doing so. Mr Burley, you are now eagerly consulting your BlackBerry or iPhone, and that may be a more profitable activity for you than shouting from a sedentary position. Let me make it clear that Mary Creagh will be heard, and the Minister will be heard, without unnecessary distractions.

Photo of Mary Creagh Mary Creagh Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I would like to give the Minister the opportunity to set the record straight. He is right that I received last Friday the names of three UK companies suspected as passing off horse as beef. I immediately e-mailed and wrote to the Secretary of State, on that day, offering to share the information with him. I received a response from him on Monday asking me to hand it over. He was obviously unaware that I had already handed it over to the FSA on Saturday, and that it had reassured me that it was already in possession of those names. Will he now withdraw the disgraceful slur and apologise to me?

Photo of David Heath David Heath The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I have here the e-mail exchange between the FSA’s director of operations and the hon. Lady. He repeatedly requests further information and evidence on the comments that she made in the House, and her reply is:

“I am very anxious to protect my source from any repercussions.”

She then seeks to bargain with the FSA for further information before releasing her information. I am happy to put that into the public domain if it would help, but I think my comments were entirely justified.