On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Yesterday I raised a point of order, relating to the fact that, with the Minister of Agriculture being engaged in meetings in Brussels, there was no Minister available to make a statement on the foot-and-mouth disease crisis throughout the UK and on its implications for Northern Ireland. I understood that the Minister of Agriculture hoped to be here this afternoon, and a private notice question was tabled. She is again detained — this time in London. It is utterly unacceptable that there is no Minister to speak on a matter that is of great importance to the agriculture community.
Also, can you inform me how it is possible to ask for a statement to be made in the House by another Minister on behalf of the Executive?
That is a matter for the Executive — not for the House. It is appropriate that the Executive should be asked whether another Minister could replace the Minister. You have made the point that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development is in London attending a very important meeting on this issue. The question you raise is a matter for the Executive.