HC Deb 16 January 1997 vol 288 cc468-9 4.13 pm
Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I wonder whether you have received a request from the hon. Member for Richmond—to whom I have given notice that I intend to raise this matter—saying that he wishes to apologise to me for the fact that he has circulated his constituency with a statement saying, first, that I sit on the Labour Front Bench, which is manifestly untrue, and secondly, that I have agreed that any number of slots or pathways for aircraft over his constituency should be allowed to expand.

The hon. Gentleman knows both allegations to be totally untrue. I am surprised that a Member of his standing and experience should choose to make the matter public in this way, without coming to the House to apologise for his inaccuracy and lack of responsibility.

Madam Speaker

The hon. Member for Richmond has not approached me about the matter. The hon. Lady is talking about a non-parliamentary document, which is outside my control in any case. I can therefore do nothing about it. I see that the hon. Member for Richmond appears to want to catch my eye, however.

Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham)

I am the hon. Member for Twickenham, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker

Of course.

Mr. Jessel

I hope I will be given at least equal time to reply.

Madam Speaker

Order. This is not a debate. I assume that the hon. Gentleman wants to respond on a point of order.

Mr. Jessel

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. The hon. Lady has suffered a lapse of memory. She has forgotten her letter to The Times of 20 August in which she supported an increase in the allocation of slots for aircraft using Heathrow—

Mrs. Dunwoody

No, no.

Mr. Jessel

That would certainly have led to an increase in the amount of noise. I did not say that the hon. Lady had suggested an unlimited increase in the number of slots. She favoured allocating 10 an hour, which is about 150 or 160 a day.

Madam Speaker

Order. This is a matter that I cannot resolve because it concerns a non-parliamentary document—such as a letter to The Times. I suggest that the two Members concerned go out and have a nice cup of tea.

Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I gave you notice of it a little earlier because I think it is a matter for you. I draw your attention to yesterday's Hansard, and to the fact that the Adjournment debate initiated by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) started at 10.49 am and finished at 12.15 pm, between columns 257 and 277, and had no separate heading. Indeed, each page of the debate is headed "British Prisoners of War", which was the heading of the previous debate.

As there will be considerable interest in the debate on the part of those previously employed by bus companies who have been defrauded of their pensions, I ask that it be reprinted in full and given its correct heading and page numbers. That would be of great convenience to all, inside and outside the House.

This appears to be another serious error by Hansard since the privatisation of HMSO; you will remember, Madam Speaker, other serious errors that were reported to you before Christmas.

Madam Speaker

I find the publication of Hansard of very high quality, and I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's point. We are fortunate indeed to have the Editor and staff producing Hansard for the House so effectively and efficiently.

I certainly take the substance of the hon. Gentleman's point of order seriously, however. I have had the opportunity to look at Hansard, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for bringing it to my attention. The Editor has apologised to me for the error, which is quite a serious one. A correction will certainly be published tomorrow, and I hope that it will satisfy the hon. Gentleman.