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Points of Order

Part of Women in the House of Commons – in the House of Commons at 12:05 pm on 12th January 2017.

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Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (International Affairs and Europe) 12:05 pm, 12th January 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have heard you on occasion, Sir, advise Ministers at the Dispatch Box to address the House, not their own Back Benchers. I wonder whether you have noticed that the Leader of the House has developed an unfortunate habit of staring either at Mr Bone or vacantly into space when answering questions from the quarter of the House where Scottish National party Members sit. There is an issue here not only of audibility but of non-verbal communication. For example, when the Leader of the House was unable to distinguish between a 94% performance in accident and emergency in Scotland, compared with 88% in England, had he been looking our way, he would have seen SNP Members shaking their heads. When he made an unfounded allegation about the conduct of the Scottish referendum campaign, which was impeccable, he would have seen us laughing at him. I do not want to pick out the Leader of the House in particular, but perhaps you could encourage all Ministers to do Members the courtesy of responding to them when being asked questions in debates and statements.