HC Deb 20 November 1995 vol 267 cc349-50 4.23 pm
Mr. Piers Merchant (Beckenham)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I seek your guidance on what further action I can take following the non-declaration of an interest by the hon. Member for Peckham (Ms Harman) in a debate on Friday. At the time, she said that full information would be available in the Library, from which I assumed that it would cover the figure involved as well—but to date it does not.

Several hon. Members


Madam Speaker

Order. A number of hon. Members are seeking to raise points of order about the declaration of interests. I will take no more points of order on that matter. The House is well aware that our rules have recently changed. I urge all hon. Members who wish to table questions, motions, and amendments to motions and Bills to read clearly the notice in the Table Office before doinf so. It remains the clear responsibility of each Member of Parliament to decide whether a declaration of interest is appropriate. I myself have taken the trouble to go to the Table Office to read that notice; I expect all hon. Members to do likewise.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I do not know whether you have had the opportunity to watch any episodes of "The Final Cut" on television on Sundays. It is giving rise to a great deal of offence in the House, not because the Prime Minister, Francis Urquhart, is portrayed as a killer—these things happen, as we know—but because of the way in which our procedures are misrepresented.

At the end of the programme, we learn that the parliamentary adviser to the programme makers is none other than the hon. Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant). Do you not think that it might be opportune for you to call him into your office and tell him a few things about procedure, so that the programme gets it right?

Mr. Michael Fabricant (Mid-Staffordshire)


Madam Speaker

I do not usually take further points of order, but, as the hon. Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Fabricant) has been mentioned, perhaps, in all fairness, I ought to do just that.

Mr. Fabricant

While I should welcome the opportunity to come to your private chambers to have the procedure explained to me, Madam Speaker, may I explain that, although I may give advice, there is no obligation on the BBC to take it?

Madam Speaker

Opportunity is a fine thing; it will not come the hon. Gentleman's way.

Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You may have seen reports to the effect that the Secretary of State for National Heritage is planning to convene private meetings with Conservative Members to give them help and advice on how to obtain money from the various national lottery funds for groups in their constituencies.

Although you, Madam Speaker, cannot be responsible for meetings convened by the Secretary of State for National Heritage, I would hope that you, as the protector of the rights of all hon. Members, might be able to persuade the Secretary of State to make sure that any tips, advice or information are shared with all hon. Members and not only with Conservative Members.

Madam Speaker

I am sure that that is absolutely the right way to proceed. However, I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman, as a parliamentarian of long standing, would be knocking on the door of the Secretary of State for National Heritage to learn a few of those tips for his own region.