HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 c21 3.31 pm
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Last Tuesday, the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions said in this House: I was not in a position to block any arrangement about his future employment elsewhere— he was talking about Martin Sixsmith— in the civil service and I accepted that discussions between Sir Richard Mottram and Mr. Sixsmith should continue."—[Official Report. 26 February 2002; Vol. 380, c. 564.] Over the weekend, Mr. Sixsmith published an 18,000-word dossier that is in direct conflict with that statement. Either Mr. Sixsmith was lying to the press or the Secretary of State was lying to this House. Has the Secretary of State made any moves to set the record straight regarding this, because it puts the Secretary of State and this House in some danger of losing their credibility?

Mr. Speaker

There has been no approach to me.

Andrew Bennett (Denton and Reddish)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In the Question Time that has just gone, we completed only nine questions. It is not so long ago that, at Social Security questions on a Monday, we often got up to Question 20. Is it not deplorable that only nine substantive questions were dealt with today? Could I suggest that you consider taking some action on this, and that instead of letting the next Social Security questions run for one hour to 3.30 pm, you let it run until Question 20 has been reached so that individual cases, like that of my constituent dealt with in question 18 today, can be reached?

Mr. Speaker

I have no such powers. However, I have said before that there should be brief questions and, of course, brief replies. That will allow us to get down the Order Paper. I am conscious that hon. Members, including the hon. Gentleman, have waited patiently for their particular question to be reached. It is a pity that we are only getting to Question 10.

Hywel Williams (Caernarfon)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Was it in order for the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes) to contact the police in south Wales on no fewer than four occasions regarding a case that was under their active consideration? I refer to the case of Mr. German, the sometime head of the Liberal party in Wales and a former Deputy First Minister. Was it in order for the hon. Gentleman to interfere? Have you received a request from him to come to the House to explain himself?

Mr. Speaker

This is a matter that has taken place outside the House and has nothing to do with me.