HC Deb 14 April 1999 vol 329 c227 3.30 pm
Dr. Liam Fox (Woodspring)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You may have seen newspaper reports today that following the defeat of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill in the House of Lords last night, the Government are claiming that they will now use the Parliament Acts to bring the Bill back for a third time. If that is done in a year's time, a change will be sought to the law in Scotland in an area which will by then be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Has the Secretary of State for Scotland made any attempt to make a statement in this House to clarify under what legislation the Government intend to implement such proposals, which undermine their own policy of devolution?

Madam Speaker

I am not aware of any statement that is about to be made in the House. The Government have not made their intentions known to me at this stage.

Mr. Ian Bruce (South Dorset)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I understand that one of the Government's key policies is to get youth unemployment down, and I know that all hon. Members on both sides of the House want to see the statistics on youth unemployment. Apparently, the Office for National Statistics has just announced that the Government have asked it not to keep those statistics any more, so we will not be able to see whether the new deal is working or not.

Madam Speaker

Order. What is the point of order for me?

Mr. Bruce

Have you had a request for a statement on this matter, Madam Speaker?

Madam Speaker

No. If there was to be a statement, we would all know about it because it would be on the Annunciator.

Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. In answering questions, the Deputy Prime Minister urged us all to rally behind the Government. Could you rule that this House—of all places—must be a place where people are allowed to express reservations about Government policy in good faith?

Madam Speaker

It is not for me to indicate what Ministers or Back Benchers should say in this House. We are all free to express our opinions. The hon. Gentleman, as a Back Bencher, is entitled to his point of view just as much as much as any Front Bencher.

Forward to