POINT OF ORDER – WASTE OF WHITE PAPERS – 26 July 2007
Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Can you tell me whether either you or Mr Speaker have had any indication from Ministers about a policy for distributing White Papers to Members? I refer to the White Paper entitled “Delivering a Sustainable Railway”, a personal copy of which I received from the House of Commons Members' Post Office, doubtless along with 645 other hon. Members. A perfectly serviceable summary accompanied it and it was possible to get a copy of the full report from the internet. For hon. Members, there was the possibility of a small amount of exercise by walking from one side of the Members' Lobby to the other to pick up a hard copy of the full White Paper, if they needed it, from the Vote Office.
Given that I suspect that approximately 500 to 600 of the individually delivered copies found their way straight into the recycling bins, is it not wasteful at a retail rate of £25 a copy for Ministers to insist on sending personal copies of the publication to hon. Members when it is unnecessary to do that?
[Mr Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): The way in which Departments produce and distribute White Papers is a matter for them, not the Chair. The hon. Gentleman's point is firmly on record and will doubtless be noted by those who are responsible for such matters.]