HC Deb 15 July 1997 vol 298 c200

Mr. Howard Flight accordingly presented a Bill to amend the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 to exempt persons who have attained the age of 75 from paying the fee for certain wireless telegraphy licences; to make provision with respect to the funding of the BBC; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time upon Friday 28 November, and to be printed [Bill 45].

Mr. Ken Maginnis (Fermanagh and South Tyrone)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. May I beg your indulgence for a moment? You referred to a letter which you said that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had sent me, and informed me that it had been placed in the Library. Having checked, I find that it has indeed been placed in the Library—although it was marked "confidential", and although I believed that it was confidential to me.

The letter does not answer the questions that I put to you earlier. In fact, it endorses the point that I have made. That suggests to me that the Secretary of State should be advised that it is proper for her to come to the House to make a statement on what is obviously a change of policy and practice, contrary to the impression that she and the Prime Minister gave until 30 June.

Madam Speaker

The hon. Gentleman is aware that I have no authority to require a Secretary of State to come here. I understand the argument, but I can only suggest that the hon. Gentleman try in other ways to clear up the matter, and his argument with the Secretary of State.