HC Deb 07 December 1993 vol 234 cc143-4 3.30 pm
Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. What is the procedure regarding a petition which is handed to an hon. Member which affects an hon. Member of another party? Yesterday, the Wyndham Hill action group from Yeovil handed me a petition that had been signed by 4,500 people regarding a Sainsbury's supermarket in Yeovil. Apparently, the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) did not take the petition. Will you assist in this matter, Madam Speaker, by calling the right hon. Gentleman to present his petition on behalf of his constituents?

Madam Speaker

As always, the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) seeks to be helpful to the House.

Mr. Graham Riddick (Colne Valley)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. A few moments ago you heard the Leader of the Opposition claiming that the House was being denied the opportunity to vote on the issue of VAT on domestic fuel. I have just been to the Table Office, where it was confirmed to me that it would have been in order for the Opposition to table an amendment to the Budget resolution which is being tabled by the Government. That amendment could have specified that the issue of VAT on basic fuel should be debated.

I do not know whether that is due to incompetence on the Labour Front Bench or whether they do not want to debate the issue because of the generous compensation package. Will you confirm that it is in order, or would have been in order—

Madam Speaker

Order. I have the gist of the hon. Gentleman's point of order. It is hardly a matter which needs a point of order, and is more a matter of information. It is for the Opposition to use their opportunities and their time to take such action.

Ms Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. A report in today's Lloyd's List says that informal discussions have taken place with the Department of Transport regarding the setting up of an alternative shipping register. Have you heard from the Secretary of State for Transport whether he intends to make sure that the proposals are discussed, or whether they have any force?

Madam Speaker

Order. I have had no indication from the Secretary of State that he is seeking to make a statement on that matter.