HC Deb 15 May 1985 vol 79 c324
Mr. Roland Boyes (Houghton and Washington)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Today the Home Office has issued a supplementary White Paper on the scientific procedures on living animals. It was issued at a press conference thereby giving the press an opportunity to question the Home Secretary. I hope that you, Mr. Speaker, will support my view that on such an important matter a representative of the Home Department should have been in the Chamber today to answer Members' questions on the paper. Many people are concerned about animal experiments. In fact, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, on Friday morning I shall present a petition signed by 500,000 people who are concerned about the outrageous and barbaric LD 50 test. I mention that only to show you the magnitude of the concern of the British people about animal experiments.

Is it within your power, Mr. Speaker, to insist that the Home Secretary or one of his junior Ministers should come before the House and allow Members of Parliament to have the same right as members of the press have had today?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Gentleman knows that I feel strongly that this House should be the forum of the nation where we should discuss all these matters. It is not a matter for me whether statements are made to the press or elsewhere.

Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not a fact that a White Paper is presented to Parliament? Surely that is the purpose of a White Paper; that is what is said on a White Paper. I put it to you as protector of the interests of the House of Commons that for a White Paper to be issued and a statement then made to the press and not to Parliament is offensive to the interests of Parliament.

Mr. Speaker

That is as may be, but, unhappily, it is not a matter for me.