HC Deb 05 December 1994 vol 251 cc21-2 3.31 pm
Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I wonder whether you are aware of the announcement today of the loss of 2,500 jobs by Mercury Communications and also the decision to dismantle all 2,700 of its pay kiosks. That has enormous implications for the future of our communications industry, for employment and also for competition policy. Will the Government make a statement about the matter? I hope that the dismantling of the pay phones will be accompanied by as much ministerial hype as was their erection.

Madam Speaker

I have no responsibility for seeing that a statement is made about that matter. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that I have not received an application from any Minister to make such a statement today.

Mr. David Shaw (Dover)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. At the weekend there was a very serious announcement about the possible voting position in the House of Commons. That announcement resulted from the suspension of Nottingham's Labour party. Surely we should refer the matter to the Committee of Selection so that it can determine whether there are enough Labour Members from Nottingham in the Labour Whip, or whether there is a serious problem of a shortage of Labour Members.

Madam Speaker

I have heard some bogus points of order in my time, but that really takes the biscuit.

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You will have noted during Question Time an incident at the Dispatch Box when the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made what can only be described as an idiot of himself by holding up a handwritten sign showing misleading statistics on overseas development. Are you happy with such conduct at the Dispatch Box, Madam Speaker?

Madam Speaker

I am not happy with conduct whereby any Minister or any Member brings such diagrams or explanations into the Chamber. I believe that all Members of the House and particularly Ministers should be sufficiently articulate to express what they want to say without diagrams.

Sir David Steel (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. May I support what you say, but also say that Members and Ministers should be literate and numerate? The Minister managed to hold the idiot guide upside down, which made it even more confusing for those of us who were trying to follow what he was saying.

Madam Speaker

I am glad that I was not sitting opposite the Minister, so I did not have to read it upside down.

Mr. George Foulkes (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. With regard to the vote tomorrow on VAT on fuel, I have a list of 14 Conservative Members of Parliament who have said that they are against the increase in VAT on fuel. If they vote in favour of that increase in the Division tomorrow, how will we be able to find out whether they have been bribed or battered into submission?

Madam Speaker

That is too hypothetical for me to attempt to answer at this stage.

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