John Bercow: I have listened carefully to what the hon. Gentleman said, and I have to give my decision without stating any reasons. I am afraid that I do not consider that the matter he has raised is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 24 and I cannot, therefore, submit the application to the House.
John Bercow: Order. I trust that the shadow Minister is in his final sentence. He has taken almost as long responding to the statement as the statement itself took. Members must realise that this is not a debate. A response to a statement is a brief response and a series of questions. I hope that that is now clear for the future, because sight has been lost of it, and must be regained at once.
John Bercow: Order. The Minister will accept that his answer must relate specifically to the effectiveness of the internet as a means of promoting democracy worldwide.
John Bercow: I know we are focusing on economic development in this question.
John Bercow: Order. I just gently remind the House that topical questions are supposed to be characterised by short and snappy, as well of course as informative, answers.
John Bercow: Order. The Minister is clearly not giving way.
John Bercow: Order. Many right hon. and hon. Members are seeking to catch my eye. There are two further statements to follow, before we even reach the main business of the day, so if I am to accommodate the maximum number of colleagues on this statement, brevity in question and answer alike is essential.
John Bercow: It is always a pleasure to listen to the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry), but may I gently say that we must now make a bit of progress?
John Bercow: May we have shorter answers from now on, please, and not long statements?
John Bercow: We are most grateful.
John Bercow: Order. As usual, demand has exceeded the time available, and we must now move on.
John Bercow: Order. Before the hon. Lady presents her petition, as usual in these circumstances I appeal to hon. and right hon. Members who are leaving the Chamber to do so quickly and quietly, affording the same courtesy to the hon. Lady that they would wish to be extended to themselves in her situation.
John Bercow: I hope that it is genuine point of order.
John Bercow: I have received a report from the Tellers in the Aye Lobby in the Division at 7.18 pm last night on deferred Divisions-the hon. Members for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge) and for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds). The number of Aye votes was erroneously reported as 320, instead of 310. I will direct the Clerk to correct the numbers in the Journal accordingly: Ayes 310,...
John Bercow: I am extremely grateful to the Minister, but may I remind those on the Treasury Bench that there are a lot of questions to get through, and that a little economy is needed in their answers?
John Bercow: I remind the House that if we are to get down the Order Paper we need short questions and, from Front Benchers, short answers.
John Bercow: Order. First, that intervention was too long and, secondly, the issue is not how much time visitors to the House have to raise matters with Members who might or might not be taking part in a debate; the issue is the allocation of time for Members of Parliament to debate the issues.
John Bercow: I fear that the hon. Gentleman overestimates my influence, although I am grateful to him for doing so. He has registered his concern forcefully and it will have been heard by senior Whips on the Treasury Bench. I have a feeling, knowing the ingenuity of the hon. Gentleman, that he will return to this matter, and more than once.
John Bercow: Order. The Secretary of State must not accuse any right hon. or hon. Member of misleading the House. She has a lot of experience, and I know that she will correct what she has just said.
John Bercow: Order. There is far too much noise in the Chamber. It is very discourteous to Members and, indeed, to Ministers.