HC Deb 07 February 2002 vol 379 c1054

2 pm

Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If the Leader of the House were to ask you for the opportunity, would you allow him to correct an impression that he gave—I am sure, inadvertently—a short time ago? I thought that he suggested that the Opposition were responsible for delaying business yesterday, yet during about six hours of debate, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills alone spoke for 43 minutes and the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) spoke for 35 minutes. Government Members spoke for a total of three and a half hours, while Opposition Members spoke for only two and a half hours. I say that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because I do not want either the House or you to be under any misapprehension—nor would I want anyone to accuse the Leader of the House of giving the wrong impression: during yesterday's business, in which, regrettably, we made so little progress on the Education Bill, Government speakers took up much more time in total than Opposition speakers.

Mr. Deputy Speaker(Sir Alan Haselhurst)

I think that it suffices that that point is on the record. I had the pleasure of listening to most of those speeches, so I am well aware of the balance.

Clive Efford (Eltham)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It should be pointed out that the majority of Labour Members who spoke from the Back Benches in support of the new clauses could hardly be described as Government members.

Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker

I think that it would be safer for the Chair to let that rest.