§ Mr. Phillip Oppenheim (Amber Valley)
On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Yesterday, during the debate on party funding, the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) quoted from a letter alleging links between the President of the Board of Trade and an alleged fund-raising operation involving the Saudi Arabian Government. The author of that letter was not identified, and no substantiated evidence was produced to show that anything in that letter was true. The letter was quoted after the Saudi Arabian ambassador had specifically denied the allegations that appeared in The Guardian, and after the chairman of the Conservative party had also denied them.
I warned the hon. Member for Hammersmith that I intended to raise this matter with you, Madam Speaker. Although it is understandable that he should wish to divert attention from the appalling performance of the Opposition spokesman, was he not stooping low by raising an unsubstantiated allegation, and doing so when the President of the Board of Trade was patently not in a position to deny it?
§ Madam Speaker
Whatever happened yesterday or on previous days is a matter for the occupant of the Chair at that time. The incidents raised by the hon. Gentleman are not points of order. Points of order are not a court of appeal on what happened previously. If hon. Members believe that points of order should be raised, they should be raised at the time and dealt with. This is not a court of appeal at which we look back on something that took place previously.
§ Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)
On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I should like to apologise to you and to the House for my temporary lapse a few moments ago, but it is aggravating to witness hilarity when one is discussing the sufferings in Bosnia.