HC Deb 24 May 2004 vol 421 c1321 4.25 pm
Lembit Öpik (Montgomeryshire) (LD)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I notice that theDaily Mail has a report under the title "Watchdog to combat the Army bullying", which accurately predicted the content of today's statement. One of the good things about the campaign as a whole has been the trust among parents, MPs and the Department in maintaining confidentiality, so that disturbs me. May I ask, through you, that the Minister—I do not believe that he leaked or spoke to the press himself—ensures that there is no prospect of any such leak from those in the know, because wherever we stand on the specifics of the case, such leaks are detrimental to the overall spirit of trust that we have in general enjoyed among all the parties?

Mr. Speaker

I cannot institute an inquiry, but I can say that the Minister came to the House and I appreciate that.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow) (Lab)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Both the Minister and the Opposition spokesman referred to Iraq during the statement, but I sensed that you would not wish the subject to be pursued in detail on this occasion. Given the seriousness of the situation, may I gently suggest that perhaps the Department for International Development, the Foreign Office or the Ministry of Defence should make a statement to the House tomorrow on events in Iraq?

Mr. Speaker

I have no doubt that the matter will be considered.

Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is there anything you can do to protect the relevance of the House? You will know from a glance at the business that is about to commence that we face the absurd prospect of debating the 12 groups of new clauses and amendments that you have selected in only four and a half hours. By my calculation, that is something like 25 minutes per group, and at least two of the groups contain 25 amendments and new clauses. This is in danger of bringing of the House into disrepute, and I wonder whether it is not time to look at all this again and find some way of not getting into the position of neglecting our duty properly to examine legislation.

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. Gentleman could not be accused at any time of neglecting his duty, but his point of order is simply taking more time out of the main business, because it is not a matter for me.