HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 c1287 12.31 pm
Mr. Tim Yeo (South Suffolk)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Yesterday, at column 1122 of Hansard, the Prime Minister said that Britain must choose between taking France to court for its illegal ban on British beef and trying to persuade France to lift it. As the Government's attempts at persuasion have now collapsed in utter failure, and as, even in the last hour, British officials have been summoned to Brussels—no doubt to prepare for yet more unjustified concessions—can you tell the House whether the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has requested permission to make a statement about this devastating blow to his whole strategy?

Madam Speaker

I have had no request from the Minister to make a statement today.

Mr. David Maclean (Penrith and The Border)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I am sure that you will have noticed early-day motion 1007, condemning the Chancellor for the serious error that he made when addressing the House on Tuesday. Have you had any request from the Chancellor to make a personal statement so that he can correct what is a serious, but no doubt inadvertent, error?

Madam Speaker

I have seen the early-day motion to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, but I have not been told by the Chancellor that he is seeking to make a statement.

Mr. Desmond Swayne (New Forest, West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. It was widely trailed on the wireless this morning that the Home Secretary would today be making clear his intentions with respect to legislation on the future of hunting. Have you had any notice from the Home Secretary that he is seeking to make a statement? If you have not, is it within your competence to detail the runner on the Treasury Bench to fetch the Home Secretary, since we have so much time between now and seven o'clock?

Madam Speaker

I am afraid that I do not have the authority to order a Minister to come here, and I am not aware that any such statement is being made.

Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West)

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. As a defender of the rights of all Members of this House, you will recall that there was a vote in November 1997 in which 411 Members of this House expressed the opinion that foxhunting is animal abuse and should be banned. Can we have an assurance that, in the next Session of Parliament, you will ensure that there is a full debate, so that all hon. Members can express that view again?

Madam Speaker

We are now getting into bogus points of order, and there will be no more.