HC Deb 28 October 2003 vol 412 c175 1.18 pm
Mr. Stephen O'Brien (Eddisbury)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should like to raise an issue of which I gave you notice. This morning, the Treasury published details of long-postponed proposals on its child trust fund in a written statement. Notice of the statement, however, does not appear on today's Order Paper. In the Library, it was inserted in the list in manuscript form. Hon. Members were not notified of that additional statement, and noticed it only when they turned up at the Library to collect other statements.

The statement is an important publication, and Members will wish to be aware of it. Whatever the reason for its omission from the list, may I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to take it up with the Department responsible, and ask why it sought neither to delay the statement nor to alert Members of its existence by other means?

The new procedures for written statements were introduced by the Government, despite the reservations of many in the House, yet the Government seem unable to comply with their own procedures, which were designed to alert Members to statements being made. Is this incident not further evidence of the contempt in which the Government hold the House of Commons?

Mr. Speaker

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of the point of order. I am advised that the Treasury gave notice of the written ministerial statement yesterday, in the usual way. Unfortunately, due to an administrative mistake, the notice was not printed in the Order Paper this morning. I understand that the statement and the related documents are now available to Members in the Library and the Vote Office.

Mr. Paul Tyler (North Cornwall)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask you to draw to the attention of the Editor of Hansard, and to instigate an investigation of, a curious, bald but unattributed statement that appears at column 1122 in Hansard for 18 September under the heading "Royal Assent"? The statement reads: Anyone would think that the constitution of this country was the personal chattel of the Prime Minister and his cronies."—[Official Report, 18 September 2003; Vol. 410, c. 1122.] There is no apparent attribution of the statement. It appears there in all its bald significance. It might be an illicit entry. It could have been hacked into the system. It certainly does not look as though it has come from Buckingham palace.

Mr. Speaker

The statement was brought to my attention at the time and I made arrangements to have the matter corrected. It has been corrected.

    1. c175