HC Deb 09 November 1999 vol 337 c921 5.48 pm
Mr. Phil Willis (Harrogate and Knaresborough)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. For many Back Benchers, particularly those who are relatively new to the House, once a statement is read it is important to be able to peruse a copy in detail. When I went to the Vote Office straight after the Chancellor's statement, it was not available. I was told that it would not be until it appeared in Hansard tomorrow morning. Do you not feel that that is unacceptable? Something that is read into the record of the proceedings of the House should immediately be available for us to interpret.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin)

Making statements available is a matter for Ministers. Therefore, I hope that they will note what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. Quentin Davies (Grantham and Stamford)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The House has been seriously misled this afternoon—inadvertently, I am sure—by the Chancellor, who said that my right hon. Friend the shadow Chancellor was opposed to the £40 billion more for health and education. I was sitting by my right hon. Friend and I heard him say the precise reverse. Indeed, we have done so on many occasions. We are in favour of and agree with the additional £40 billion for health and education and it is a travesty to say anything else.

Will you give the House some indication that you would be minded to allow the Chancellor to make a personal statement later today if he wishes to set the record straight, as I am sure he will as a man of good faith, once he recognises the serious mistake that he has made?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Those are matters for debate.

Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)

No, they are not.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Perhaps the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) will give me credit for knowing something about the rules of the House. He will learn. The point raised is a matter for debate. The words of the Chancellor are no responsibility of the Chair. The hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies) may have helped to put the matter right.

Mr. Nick St. Aubyn (Guildford)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sorry to take more of the House's time, but you will know that in the main business there is an allocation of time motion that excludes consideration of amendments tabled by Opposition Members. It allows amendments to be put only by Ministers of the Crown. Have you considered that point? Has such a limit on debate been imposed by a guillotine motion before? Can it possibly be within the rules of the House to stop Opposition amendments being considered in a debate?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is not an uncommon practice when the guillotine comes down.