§ Mr. Burns
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will explain the reasons behind, and apologise to the hon. Member for West Chelmsford for, breaching the Ministerial Code of Conduct by failing to give him advance warning of his visit to Chelmsford on Tuesday 13 March. 
§ Mr. Prescott [holding answer 19 March 2001]
Paragraph 79 of the Ministerial Code says that it is the custom for MPs to be informed when a Minister visits their constituency. My office is under strict instructions to inform constituency MPs of all Government or Departmental visits. My visit to Chelmsford was to attend a private Labour Party function and under those circumstances I did not consider it necessary or indeed appropriate to inform the constituency MP.