Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:48 pm on 16th November 2017.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education) 12:48 pm, 16th November 2017

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. At Work and Pensions questions on Monday, the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Guy Opperman, stated in response to my question about the collapse of AEA Technology and its pension scheme that my concerns about mis-selling and the advice given by the Government Actuary’s Department in 1996 had been specifically dealt with by his predecessors in debates in March 2015 and October 2016. Having looked at those debates in Hansard, I am sorry to say that he was simply incorrect.

I have written to the Minister, I have asked him for a meeting with my constituents, and I have asked parliamentary questions. As you know, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am a new Member, and I feel like I have reached a brick wall, so will you please advise what I can do next, so that not just my constituents but constituents represented by parties of all colours can seek redress on this important matter?

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I thank the hon. Lady for giving notice to Mr Speaker of her intention to raise this point of order.

First, I would have the hon. Lady reflect on whether she has received an answer to any of the questions she asked and how long she has waited for that answer. I take it from her demeanour that she has waited longer than she thinks reasonable, so I say to her that what Ministers and other Members say in this House is, of course, a matter of their individual responsibility and not a matter for the Chair. She has raised the point, and if a Minister feels that his or her response has been inaccurate, I am sure that that Minister would consider taking steps to correct the record, but that of course is up to the Minister.

The hon. Lady also asks for advice on how to pursue the matter further, and a number of avenues are open to her. I would advise her that consulting the Table Office on what might be the most effective course of action would be a good idea.

Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I seek your guidance. Yesterday at Prime Minister’s questions I raised the plight of cancer patients, some of whom are dying as they wait for their universal credit payment, and the issue of terminally ill people having to self-declare as dying when applying for universal credit, even though they might not want to do so.

My question was not specific to Scotland, because these matters apply across the UK, yet the Prime Minister suggested that the Scottish Government could use powers to change these things. Universal credit powers are not devolved to Scotland. It is not acceptable to abdicate responsibility for such UK Government matters—

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. I have to stop the hon. Gentleman because a point of order is a short point, not a speech, and we are about to have a debate on the very matter he is raising. I appreciate that he wants to raise this as a point of order, but, as I said in answer to Layla Moran not a minute ago, what a Minister says in this place, and of course that includes the Prime Minister, is a matter for them. Whether or not a fact is correct is a matter for debate, and I am quite sure Drew Hendry will have an opportunity, hopefully within the next couple of hours, to make his points of debate in the Chamber, and they will be listened to by the Minister on duty.

Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. We hope to get on to the debate, and we will all be noting whether Drew Hendry stays in his place, even if called last in the debate, to register his views.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Just as what Ministers say is not a matter for me, nor is it a matter for me whether Drew Hendry stays in his place.