HC Deb 08 July 2003 vol 408 c897 12.30 pm
Mr. Tim Boswell (Daventry)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I know that you are always anxious to ensure that Ministers make their announcements first to the House. Yet on making inquiries about tomorrow's launch of the Government's national skills strategy, I discovered from the Department for Education and Skills that although the Secretary of State will indeed seek to make a statement to the House at 12.30 pm tomorrow, he intends meanwhile to visit Westminster further education college, in the company of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, for a launch breakfast.

You will know, Mr. Speaker, that I yield to no one in my support for FE colleges as a whole—and, indeed, for that college in particular—and I have absolutely no objection to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills having breakfast. But with great respect, an FE college is not the House of Commons, and I wonder whether you would care to request that the Secretary of State make his initial statement here—perhaps, for example, by seeking to intervene in today's debate at 7 pm.

Mr. Speaker

Like the hon. Gentleman, I have no objection to the Secretary of State having breakfast, but I will look into the matter and write to the hon. Gentleman.

Mrs. Eleanor Laing (Epping Forest)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will be well aware of the contents of early-day motion 1548, concerning the Minister for Children. It has been made public that the Minister intends to address a conference this afternoon on the subject of the Green Paper on children at risk. Have you had any indication that she intends to do us the courtesy of coming to this House—as you have so often told Ministers they ought to—to present the Government's plans on this urgent matter, before presenting them elsewhere?

Mr. Speaker

I have seen the terms of the early-day motion and the hon. Lady's point of order really has nothing to do with me: the early-day motion is in perfectly good order. The hon. Lady put an urgent question to me that was rejected, and I give no reason as to why it was rejected. I have looked into the question of whether the Minister for Children will speak at the conference about the Green Paper on children's rights, and I understand that she will not; rather, she will speak in her capacity as a Minister, which she is entitled to do.