HC Deb 02 February 1993 vol 218 cc151-2 3.57 pm
Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You will confirm that, from time to time, all Secretaries of State exercise quasi-judicial duties, and that they are also responsible for allocating funds without partiality or prejudice. Today, when I accused the Secretary of State for Education of conducting a political vendetta against Bradford local education authority, he shouted from a sedentary position, "You haven't seen anything yet." For as long as that statement remains on the record, many of my constituents and others in Bradford will believe what they have suspected for a long time—that the Secretary of State for Education is greatly prejudiced against Bradford local education authority and its schools.

What I would like to ask you, Madam Speaker—

Madam Speaker

Order. Points of order are now prefaced with such a long preamble that they are really an extension of Question Time. I hope that, from now on, every hon. Member who raises a point of order will come directly to the point of order itself. To do otherwise is to abuse the House's time.

Mr. Madden

What I would like to ask is this, Madam Speaker. Will you arrange for my concern to be conveyed to the Secretary of State for Education, and will you provide him with an opportunity to withdraw what he said earlier today?

Madam Speaker

I fear that that is an extension of Question Time. Of course, the Secretary of State and other right hon. and hon. Members will see in Hansard tomorrow what has been said. I am sure that it will be brought to the Secretary of State's attention.

Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. The procedural circumstances surrounding the Secretary of State's statement have changed; indeed, they changed as he was making it. During the statement, we discovered that the Government are not prepared under any circumstances to provide the rescue package which might keep Leyland DAF in business. The statement having been made in reply to a private notice question, the conditions are now ideal, indeed typical—even irresistible—for an emergency debate as the Leyland DAF case now fulfils the three qualifications of the Standing Order. If you were to allow me to make such an application, Madam Speaker, such a debate would also enable us to clarify some of the discrepancies between the statement made by the President of the Board of Trade and that made by DAF. Will you allow me to make such a submission, Madam Speaker?

Madam Speaker

As the right hon. Gentleman and the House will know, all Secretaries of State, and hon. Members for that matter, are responsible for the statements that they make. It is not for the Speaker to comment on statements made by Secretaries of State. If the right hon. Gentleman cares to make an application to me, I shall of course consider it on its merits. I must not, as Speaker of the House, concern myself with the argument. As the right hon. Gentleman will understand, I must concern myself with the merits and I shall always look at applications purely in that light.

Mr. Hattersley

May I make an application?

Madam Speaker

I must have it in writing.