Mr Irvine Patnick: My hon. Friend is knowledgeable about local government. Is it normal for a district auditor to hold a press conference before he has completed his report? Possibly the hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South (Mr. Gunnell), a former member of the Audit Commission, is aware of previous cases in which a press conference has been held by a district auditor.
Mr Irvine Patnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the interest shown by GPs in the total purchasing initiative. 
Mr Irvine Patnick: I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that that shows an overwhelming response to the pilots, including a surgery in Sheffield, and that GPs, whether or not they are fundholders, need to purchase the best possible care for their patients? Have not the Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen shown today that they are totally opposed to fundholding and will abolish it if they are given...
Mr Irvine Patnick: May I join the Minister in praising the work of the South Yorkshire probation service? He may be aware that I made representations on behalf of that service to the previous Minister, and that those representations were considered before the changes that took place in the probation service. I am grateful for that, and I wonder whether my hon. Friend would like to comment.
Mr Irvine Patnick: I presume that that was a party caucus meeting; otherwise, I would have expected to be invited.
Mr Irvine Patnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number of students in further and higher education in Scotland; and what is the current ratio of school leavers to the number entering higher education. 
Mr Irvine Patnick: Does my hon. Friend agree that those figures exceed not only the forecast in the 1987 White Paper, but also that in the 1991 White Paper, by an astonishing amount?
Mr Irvine Patnick: When does my hon. Friend propose to take action on councils such as the one that used to be led by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Betts)—Sheffield council, which takes seven weeks to re-let council houses, which does not collect its council house rents, and which does not collect its council taxes? Sheffield has been given more money in its education standard spending...
Mr Irvine Patnick: There is more. I have recently received a letter from Sheffield city council, with a copy of a—
Mr Irvine Patnick: No, it was not a council tax demand. It was a resolution condemning the hypocrisy of leading Labour politicians—I have it here and anyone can see it—in seeking privileges for their own children which they deny to other people. Does that not show that, for once, Sheffield has got it right?
Mr Irvine Patnick: When will my hon. Friend take action—
Mr Irvine Patnick: Will my right hon. Friend arrange an early debate to discuss the resolution passed by Labour-controlled Sheffield city council on 31 January, which has been sent to the Secretary of State for Education and all Members of Parliament for Sheffield? In it, the council condemns the hypocrisy of senior Labour politicians in seeking privileges for their children in contradiction of their own...
Mr Irvine Patnick: The Association of Chief Police Officers raised five key points in a paper which has, I believe, been circulated. I shall not go into the details, but will my right hon. Friend assure me that he has taken them into consideration?
Mr Irvine Patnick: rose—
Mr Irvine Patnick: Is my right hon. Friend aware that, once again, Sheffield states that it will spend more than its standard spending assessment on education, and claims that its 2.1 per cent. is lower than those of the other three districts in South Yorkshire and much lower than metropolitan councils?
Mr Irvine Patnick: A couple of weeks ago I initiated a debate on this very matter to which the Minister responded. The practice is becoming more and more prevalent: in order to raise cash, local authorities with land are capitalising on it and then giving themselves planning permission. But because this is not a national issue, it has not been called in by the Minister. Something must be done about this bad...
Mr Irvine Patnick: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Earlier today, I raised with you in writing what occurred last night. Opposition Whips were standing shoulder to shoulder at the No Lobby, stopping Members of Parliament from exercising their right to vote in that Lobby. This bully-boy tactic—[Interruption.]
Mr Irvine Patnick: This bully-boy tactic is not in keeping with the House of Commons, or with page 399 of "Erskine May". Speaking as a former Whip, although I have been intimidated by some of the former Opposition Whips—not the present crop—I have never known Whips, including a lady Whip, to stand shoulder to shoulder to stop Members of Parliament from exercising their proper duty of voting.[Interruption.]
Mr Irvine Patnick: I am pleased to have the opportunity of raising a matter that has interested and concerned me for many years—public participation in planning. Nearly 500,000 planning applications were lodged in England in 1993-94. Of those, only 99 were "called in" for decision by the Secretary of State for the Environment, or 0.02 per cent. of all planning applications submitted in England in that year....
Mr Irvine Patnick: The circumstances are similar, and prove that the problem is not confined to Sheffield but is happening throughout the country, as I have always believed. I shall highlight yet another example in Hallam. A piece of land on the former bus terminus site is bordered by Terminus road, Abbeydale road, Pingle road and Hartington avenue in Millhouses, Sheffield. Despite many letters expressing...