§ Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath)
On a point of order, Madam Speaker. It is being announced on the electronic news media that the Solicitor-General said half an hour ago that there is to be no prosecution of Melita Norwood, the exposed spy, or of any other people connected with the matter. Have you received any request from any Minister to make a statement in this House. Surely a statement should have been made here before there was an announcement to the electronic news media—especially on an important matter that was the cause of much controversy and previously dealt with by Government statement—
I have answered the point of order; I have not been told by any Minister that he wants to make a statement. I cannot take the matter any further.
Will the hon. Member please resume his seat? I answered the point of order put to me: I know of no Minister who is seeking to make a statement in the House. I have been in the Chair since 2.30 pm, and can take the matter no further until I leave the Chamber, when I might find a Minister who is willing to make a statement. At the moment, I have the business to get on with and know of no Minister wanting to make a statement. I shall take a different point of order.
§ Mr. Hughes
There is a written question on today's Order Paper, which was tabled on Friday, on the subject just raised. Will you confirm your previous advice that it is the practice of the House that written questions should be answered at 3.30 pm, after Question Time, and that statements to the press before answers are made available to hon. Members should be made only after that time?
That is quite true. Questions are not to be answered before 3.30 pm; the hon. Member is perfectly correct and I am grateful to him.