§ Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As I understand it, you deprecate the custom of Ministers giving information outside the House before it is given here. Last Thursday, the Prime Minister stated that she could not comment about Lord Rothschild. She reminded my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), that when he was a Minister, he said:
It is the long-established practice of this House that the Government do not comment on matters of this kind."—[Official Report, 28 July 1976; Vol. 916, c. 626.]My point of order is that the Prime Minister refused to give information to the House on Thursday and made no statement to the House on Friday, yet a statement was issued to the press — from which we obtained our information. The Prime Minister refused to give information to a number of hon. Members, including Conservative Members, and it is wrong that she should take the opportunity the following day to make a statement outside the House. Either she should have answered on Thursday or she should have made a statement on Friday or today.
I ask you to rule, Mr. Speaker, on the practice followed by the Prime Minister, because it was against your direct wishes and you have deprecated such practices.
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not have the appropriate Hansard before me. My recollection is that the Prime Minister said on Thursday that she was not yet ready to give a reply.