HC Deb 13 December 1999 vol 341 c40
Mr. James Gray (North Wiltshire)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. During the debate on transport on 8 December, the Deputy Prime Minister said, at column 837 of Hansard, among other places, that his view was that Conservative members of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee wholeheartedly supported his Bill to establish the Strategic Rail Authority. That is quite incorrect. The report to which he referred makes it plain in paragraph 5 on page viii that the official Opposition wholeheartedly oppose the establishment of the Strategic Rail Authority.

Has the right hon. Gentleman indicated his intention to come to the House to correct that misleading statement? Is there any procedural rule to protect the rights of Back Benchers on pre-legislative hearings of Select Committees who, although perhaps perfectly content to allow a report to be unanimous, none the less want to protect their own position as members of Her Majesty's official Opposition?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving notice of his intention to raise that point of order, but he must know that this is a matter for interpretation and debate. The Chair has no knowledge that the Deputy Prime Minister is intending to make a statement, but the Transport Bill is due to be debated and that will provide an opportunity for matters of argument and interpretation to be determined.