HC Deb 02 February 1994 vol 236 cc889-90 3.30 pm
Mr. Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I have given you and the Secretary of State for Employment notice of the matter that I intend to raise. It arises from the ethyl chloride leak and subsequent flash fire at the Associated Octel company in Ellesmere Port in my constituency.

Have you, Madam Speaker, had any request from the Secretary of State to make a statement on the health and safety implications of that serious incident, which could have had dire effects on my constituents and those of the right hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad)? Had the wind changed, it would also have affected the constituents of the Secretary of State himself and those of the hon. Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Porter).

In raising the point of order, I am sure that the House would want to congratulate the Cheshire fire service on the bravery and skill of the work it did, as well as the efforts of the emergency services and emergency planning team, who carried out splendid work last night.

Madam Speaker

The latter comments of the hon. Gentleman are not a matter for the Chair, nor are they a point of order.

I have not heard from the Secretary of State that he is seeking to make a statement on that matter. As the hon. Gentleman is aware, it has been referred to the Health and Safety Executive. He may like to find other methods of pursuing it in the House.

Mr. Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. May I draw your attention to the Votes and Proceedings of the House, which are published in the House papers today? On Monday, the Secretary of State for Transport tabled the important Draft Channel Tunnel (Security) Order 1994, only to withdraw it on Tuesday and replace it with another order. I have tried to ascertain from the Department of Transport what were the differences between the orders and what were the errors which, I assume, existed in the first order, and it was unable to tell me. I went to the House of Commons Library to see whether any communication had been made, and still found no explanation of the alterations.

Do you have any capacity to require the Secretary of State to withdraw the second order and get it right? Even the second order is altered manuscript, and it seems indicative of the sloppy nature of the way in which the Secretary of State is handling the channel tunnel business. He should be given 5 minus for effort. I hope that the matter can be taken away and looked at again.

Madam Speaker

As I am sure the hon. Gentleman realises, that is not a matter for the Chair. Had he pursued his inquiries a little further, he would have found that the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments exists to look into such matters.

Back to