HC Deb 20 April 1994 vol 241 cc884-6

3.31 pm

Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker

Before I hear the point of order, may I say that I am very disappointed that the House did not make the progress that it should have made at Question Time. Questions have been too long and, although there have been one or two very brisk answers from a particular Minister—for which I award him an accolade—answers, too, have often been too long. I hope that things will improve tomorrow and in the coming days.

Mr. Wigley

You may be aware, Madam Speaker, that following reports in the press in Wales today under the headline "Redwood Plan in Tatters", referring to what is called the humiliating defeat of the Secretary of State's plan which blew a hole through his blueprint for counties in Wales", comments have been made by the Welsh Office about the future of the Local Government (Wales) Bill which have not been made in the House. The position is exacerbated by virtue of the fact that the Secretary of State for Wales is not a member of the Standing Committee dealing with the Bill. In these circumstances, would it be possible for the Secretary of State for Wales to make a statement in the Chamber on what is going to happen to the Bill, in view of the uncertainty that it is causing for local authorities in Wales?

Madam Speaker

I have not seen the report to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but he is clearly referring to decisions, activities and debates that took place in the Standing Committee. I have not so far been informed by the Secretary of State that he is seeking to make a statement to the House.

Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)

Further to what you said, Madam Speaker, about the prolongation of Question Time, would it not be better were we to revert to the old custom—and only very few of us here remember it —that nobody bothered to thank you for allowing them to catch your eye? This is a new development. The new calibre, lower-quality Members now think that somehow or other they play to your favour by saying "Thank you." Will you tell them that there is no need for that; you are simply doing your job?

Madam Speaker

I wish that all hon. Members were as courteous to each other as the hon. Gentleman seems to think that they are to me. They are not always very courteous to me, and I value a little "Thank you" sometimes. I now call Mr. Hain.

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