HC Deb 20 November 2001 vol 375 c194 4.35 pm
Mrs. Angela Browning (Tiverton and Honiton)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. From media reports in the past 48 hours, the House will be aware that tomorrow night "The Money Programme" on the BBC will show footage of interviews with people who were present during the captivity and decapitation of the four hostages, one of whom was a constituent of mine, who were taken and murdered in December 1998. Given that Ministers have assured the House that both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Metropolitan police would carry out a full investigation into how those men came to murdered, and given that we now have new information after the coroner's inquest, have you, Mr. Speaker, received any indication that a Minister from the FCO will come to the House this week to explain why officials failed to identify those key witnesses and how they intend to take the matter forward?

Mr. Speaker

I have had no indication, but now that the hon. Lady has mentioned the matter, it is on the record and the appropriate Minister will take note of what she has said.

Mr. Ian Taylor (Esher and Walton)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I, too, had a constituent decapitated in December 1998 in the same incident. Can you ask the Foreign Office whether it can clarify rumours of a link with al-Qaeda? I fully understand that it is up to the relevant Minister to come to the House, but this is an important matter of great delicacy and, indeed, urgency.

Mr. Speaker

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern. My advice is that it would be better if he, rather than I, approached Foreign Office Ministers.

Mr. Tony Lloyd (Manchester, Central)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry to raise the matter in this way, but when a statement has national impact, is consideration given to balancing the Members called to ensure that the interests of all areas of the country are reflected in exchanges with the Secretary of State?

Mr. Speaker

I note the hon. Gentleman's disappointment. The Chair gives no reason why some hon. Members are called and others are not. All that I can tell him is that next time round, he will be high on my list of priorities.

Mr. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. By extension, could that declaration of preference be extended to other Members who could not catch your eye?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Gentleman knows that some days he wins and others he loses. They, he lost.