Does the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry) wish to pursue his point of order, which I must warn him in advance will be very thin?
§ Mr. Robert Parry (Liverpool, Scotland Exchange)
Yes, Mr. Speaker. My point of order relates to the statement that appeared in the Liverpool press during the weekend, when the Secretary of State for Education and Science was stated to have accused my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition of whipping up a mob in Liverpool at the demonstration by the unemployed on 29 November. That statement was recorded in the Liverpool Echo as:Foot whips up the mobWe on Merseyside, and particularly the unemployed, are opposed to that statement—
Order. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is opposed to that statement, but I want a point of order on which I can rule. Political arguments between the two sides take place in the country as well as in the House, but if there is a point of order on which I can rule, I am willing to try.
§ Mr. Parry
I believe that the speech was made in my constituency, at the Merseyside Conservative ladies' luncheon club, which does not seem to be a deprived organisation. The right hon. and learned Gentleman did not have the courtesy to advise me, although he was speaking in my constituency. We on Merseyside are sick and tired of laughter and jokes from Conservative Members when we are talking about unemployment on Merseyside. Many of the unemployed on Merseyside feel that the real mobsters are hon. Members on the Government side of the House.
§ The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for the Arts (Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science was here earlier, but unfortunately he could not remain. The hon. Gentleman is quite right. It is a normal courtesy for Ministers to inform hon. Members if they are speaking in hon. Members' constituencies. Those courtesies have a point, and should be observed.
My right hon. and learned Friend intended to observe that courtesy, but I am told—I do not know whether this makes things better or worse—that he wrote to the wrong hon. Member. He tells me that he wrote to the hon. 795 Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton). There it is. I apologise to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry).