POINT OF ORDER – MINISTERIAL REPLIES – 17 July 2006
Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Further to the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Hertfordshire (David Gauke) about ministerial non-answers, you will remember the advice that you gave me a few days ago in relation to a question that I had asked the Secretary of State for Defence. I asked whether he was informed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the Chancellor's proposed announcement on the future of Trident before the Chancellor made his Mansion house speech. The answer was:
“I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a range of issues.” – [Official Report, 5 July 2006; Vol. 448, c. 1107W.]
You advised that I should table another question. In pursuance of your advice, I did so, asking whether in the course of those regular discussions the Chancellor of the Exchequer had informed the Secretary of State for Defence of the content relating to the future of Trident in the Chancellor's Mansion House speech before that speech was made. The reply was:
“I have nothing further to add to the reply I gave the hon. Member on 5 July”. – [Official Report, 11 July 2006; Vol. 448,c. 1798W.]
I wanted you to know the seriousness with which Ministers take your strictures on these matters.
[Mr Speaker: I knew that I was giving the hon. Gentleman good advice, but he must try and try again.]