HC Deb 30 October 1995 vol 265 cc19-20 3.30 pm
Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Has there been any mention of a debate in the overspill period or in the next Session of Parliament on the report of the Scott inquiry, especially as today another four people from the firm Ordtech are appealing against a judgment against them, which arose only because the Government did the same as they did during the Matrix Churchill affair—threatened public immunity certificates? The net result is that four people are being hounded in the courts while the Ministers who are on the rack are answering questions very long-windedly and providing more questions for Scott to answer with a view to dragging out the matter beyond the general election.

Madam Speaker

That is not a point of order for the Chair. It is a matter of Government business. The hon. Gentleman might put a question to the Leader of the House to find out about business when we come back after prorogation.

Mr. David Shaw (Dover)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You may be aware that I have a number of customs officers in my constituency. Many of them are deeply concerned about various statements that were made over the weekend. They wonder whether their jobs are secure as it has been suggested that cannabis should be legalised. Can we have a short statement on the matter as soon as possible?

Madam Speaker

The hon. Gentleman and the House know that statements from Ministers are not my business, but I have had no information that a Minister is seeking to make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones (Ynys Môn)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. A supplementary question by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Broadgreen (Mrs. Kennedy) wholly and directly related to a matter in my constituency. Unfortunately, the hon. Lady did not have the courtesy to inform me that she was about to refer to it. Will you please remind hon. Members that it is a courtesy in the House that hon. Members should be informed?

Madam Speaker

I noticed that the substantive question did not mention the hon. Gentleman's constituency. Constituencies are often mentioned in supplementary questions. It is extremely difficult always to give Members notice, particularly on the spur of the moment in a supplementary question and often in an exchange across the House during Question Time. As the hon. Gentleman knows, I like Members to be courteous and I hope that they will carry out the proper procedures of the House and inform Members when they are able to do so.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I understand that next Monday we shall debate whether to put into effect the recommendation of the Nolan committee concerning the disclosure of outside financial interests that arise from parliamentary activities. I raise the point of order with you because, in local government, as you probably know, councillors have to declare their interests before they vote. That is very clear and they can be taken to court if they do not do so. When hon. Members vote next Monday, how will it be possible for them to make it perfectly clear that they have a direct interest? It is extremely important because the public will want to know how we go about our business. The Nolan committee has made a firm recommendation. Will you rule it necessary for Members to declare their interests if they are likely to be affected by the ruling, if it is implemented?

Madam Speaker

I hope that hon. Members will keep it in mind at all times and particularly, as the hon. Gentleman says, next Monday, that if they are speaking in the debate, they should make their interests quite clear at its start. That is what the hon. Gentleman seeks.