Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 1:14 pm on 4 September 2013.

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Photo of Fiona O'Donnell Fiona O'Donnell Labour, East Lothian 1:14, 4 September 2013

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. During today’s Prime Minister’s questions, in response to a question from my hon. Friend Gordon Banks about Government support for food banks, the Prime Minister said that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions had enabled Jobcentre Plus staff to make referrals to food banks. The Trussell Trust has informed me that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has actually stopped that happening now and has advised staff that they can no longer make referrals, and that this is causing chaos for hundreds of people in need. I have tabled a parliamentary question on this issue, which should have been answered yesterday—I am still waiting for an answer. Can you assist me by advising how we can ensure that those in this House, volunteers in food banks, Jobcentre Plus staff and, most importantly, those in need have the correct information?

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

I am grateful to the hon. Lady, both for her point of order and for her courtesy in giving me advance notice of her intention to raise it. She believes that she has identified an inconsistency between what the Prime Minister has told the House and what the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has said. Those on the Treasury Bench have now heard what the hon. Lady has to say. If Ministers agree with her, no doubt the position will be clarified. Each and every right hon. and hon. Member in this House is responsible for his or her own words. Beyond that, the hon. Lady has identified the fact of the question she wishes speedily to be answered. She is a persistent and assiduous Member, and I am confident that she will soon get an answer, perhaps aided and abetted in pursuit of it by her point of order. If she does not get one, she can table further questions, and I have a sense that this is a bone that she will cling on to for as long as she judges to be necessary.