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There are a couple of points to be made in response to what the hon. Gentleman has just said. First, the use of pejorative comments is not a novel phenomenon in the House of Commons. The hon. Gentleman need not sound quite so shocked, or display his offended sensibilities, at the notion that a right hon. or hon. Member has indulged in that practice.
The hon. Gentleman’s second point may well be helpful to the House as a whole, but I hope he will not take it amiss if I say that it had already penetrated the recesses of what passes for my brain. [Laughter.]In short, I was myself aware of that fact, simply because I have had the rather fortunate vantage point of the Speaker’s Chair since June 2009.
I do not have the statistical analysis in front of me, but I can confirm that, first, it is commonplace for a shadow Secretary of State’s opposite number to come along, and secondly, it is also commonplace for another Minister to do so. Quite what the stats show I do not know, but if Heidi Alexander is interested in the analysis, I dare say that—no state secret is involved—it could be supplied to her or to any other Member when it has been completed.
Finally, let me say that a certain amount of speculation is taking place in the Chamber on the precise whereabouts of the Secretary of State. I do not know, I have not inquired, it does not greatly concern me, and it is not a matter for the Chair; but I hope that, whatever he is doing, he is enjoying himself.