HC Deb 25 November 1987 vol 123 c277 4.34 pm
Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should be grateful if you would help the House by encouraging Ministers, when they give statements, to provide copies of those statements in the Vote Office, if not in advance at least by the time the statement starts. We will not see the Minister for Health's statement until Hansard is published tomorrow. It is especially unfair to the House because, when the Minister started his speech, people could be seen going round the Press Gallery delivering copies of it to the press. We all defer to the press as the fourth estate, of course, but there is no reason why we should be handicapped by not having copies of statements which would improve our ability to ask more probing questions and therefore make the Government more accountable. Perhaps the Government are frightened of that. That is why I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to use your influence in obtaining copies of statements.

Mr. Speaker

Although I have sympathy with what the hon. Gentleman has said, I do not think that this is a matter for the Chair. The question should properly be put to the Leader of the House tomorrow. I understand the importance of what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. Frank Haynes (Ashfield)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I do not want to spoil your birthday. You have already heard my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Mr. Meale) talking about British Coal running all over those people in Nottinghamshire and other areas. I hope that you will use your influence to get the Secretary of State for Energy to help us with this problem, because we have reached the end of the road.

Mr. Speaker

I omitted to say to the hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. Meale) that I hoped that he would find other ways of bringing the matter before the House. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will do the same.