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Mr. Newton: I cannot promise a debate, despite the fact that the MOD police headquarters is in my constituency. I plainly have an interest in the matter. On the latter point, I shall look into what the hon. Gentleman said.

Mr. Bernard Jenkin (Colchester, North): Given the staggering news, which is just coming through, that the Labour party has been seeking to fix the "Today" BBC personality of the year and that "Today", the BBC Radio 4 programme, has suspended that operation pending a proper investigation, could we have a debate on public standards in public life and the independence of the BBC, to ensure that we properly air how the Labour party is seeking to manipulate the media?

Mr. Newton: That sounds an extremely attractive proposition on the basis of the intelligence that my hon. Friend has communicated to the House. At least one

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member of the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges is in his place and suggesting that we should take that matter on as well. I would have to pass on that one for the moment.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover): Is the Leader of the House aware that the Opposition are likely to defeat the Government in Monday's vote on the fisheries motion--due to the Government's lack of a majority, especially after today's by-election? Will the Government make provision for a confidence motion on Tuesday? Many people can smell the decay and rottenness of the Government. They are on their last legs; it is time that they were wrapped up--giving everybody a Christmas present. Let us have an election and sort it all out.

Mr. Newton: Great as is my desire to please the hon. Gentleman, as ever, even to the point of being willing to give him a Christmas present, I do not think that it will be that one.

Mr. David Shaw (Dover): Would it be appropriate to have a debate on the shortfall in tax revenues since about 1990, when three hon. Members tried to smuggle a video camera through Customs? Those hon. Members have never been punished. Indeed, one of them sits on the Opposition Front Bench to this day.

Mr. Newton: I think that you, Madam Speaker, would probably be with me in saying that, if there are matters that ought to be investigated in respect of hon. Members' conduct, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on them on the Floor of the House. It would be appropriate to draw them to the attention of the Parliamentary Commissioner.

Mr. Harry Barnes (North-East Derbyshire): The problem with the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) is that he gives slapheads a bad name, which I greatly resent.

My question relates to coal mines, all of which in Derbyshire have been closed, the last one being closed by the Deputy Prime Minister. Many pits and drift mines have been closed, which has created a great problem of abandoned mine shafts. There is a Select Committee report on the matter. Can we debate it? I believe that slots are available on a Wednesday morning for the discussion of Select Committee reports.

Mr. Newton: The hon. Gentleman makes a serious point that deserves a serious response. He is right: there is provision for some debates on Select Committee reports, some of them on Wednesday mornings. We have had some such debates recently. They are normally chosen on the advice of the Liaison Committee, so the hon. Gentleman might care to make his representations to my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Sir T. Higgins).

Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley): Can my right hon. Friend find time for a full day's debate on the Floor of the House on trade union reform? Not only would it give me the opportunity to talk about how effective it has been, and to say that the United Kingdom has some of the lowest levels of strikes since records began, it would allow me to share with the House the views of a left-wing

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Labour councillor from Burnley, Marcus Johnstone, who said during the most recent strikes in Paris--when the police were being pelted with stones, petrol bombs were being thrown and cars were being overturned--that they were a great inspiration for us all and that it was a great shame that people in this country did not demonstrate in exactly the same way against a right-wing Government. That is shocking in itself, but Marcus Johnstone has been selected as the Labour party's candidate to fight me at the next general election.

Mr. Newton: My hon. Friend has found a most ingenious way in which to draw his constituents' attention to his opponent's views. It sounds to me as if he is lucky in his opponent.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North): Will there be an opportunity next week to debate the report of the Standards and Privileges Committee? Is the Leader of the House aware that many of us would like the opportunity to congratulate the Committee on demonstrating that an all-party Committee and self-regulation can work? If it can work on this occasion, it can work on others.

Would it not be useful if the Press Complaints Commission also could demonstrate that it is an effective self-regulating body?

Mr. Newton: Perhaps I might take that question as being directed principally at the Standards and Privileges Committee. I am sure that its members will be grateful for what the hon. Gentleman said.

I shall ensure that what the hon. Gentleman said about the Press Complaints Commission is drawn to the attention of Lord Wakeham, who is its chairman.

Mr. Jacques Arnold (Gravesham): May we have a debate as soon as possible on the use being made of facilities of the House? I understand that a Labour party document has been found on a photocopier, no doubt after hundreds of copies had been made, which explains how people can go about voting for the right hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) in the personality of the year contest on the BBC "Today" programme. That has apparently led to the BBC's realising that it has been had by a Labour party spoof, and closing down the contest this year--which is, I believe, unprecedented.

Mr. Newton: My hon. Friend emphasises the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester, North (Mr. Jenkin). I increasingly think that the photocopier is one of the most dangerous things ever invented.

Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South): The Leader of the House might think that I am harassing him, but why is Northern Ireland not included in the Protection from Harassment Bill, and why has the Northern Ireland Grand Committee not yet been called to deal with the Budget implications for Northern Ireland in light of the Prime Minister's statement a few weeks ago? Is he, like me, grateful that, for once, the European Court appears to have acted wisely--by throwing out the objections to the Hualon investment in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Newton: I note with satisfaction the hon. Gentleman's last remark. On the first two points, I shall take the questions as representations and consider them.

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Mr. John Marshall (Hendon, South): May we have an early debate on early-day motion 4?

[That this House calls on the Government to acknowledge that over 3,000 people with haemophilia have been infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a result of NHS treatment with contaminated blood products, to recognise that over 60 people with haemophilia are now understood to have died from liver disease contracted as a result, and to consider giving similar financial assistance to those infected with HCV, who currently receive no additional help, as for those infected in the same way with HIV who have been compensated by the Government.]

It has now been signed by 273 Members of the House--a majority of those eligible to sign it.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, yesterday, a petition signed by 30,000 people was handed in at No. 10 Downing street? It calls for a hardship fund to be set up for haemophiliacs who have been infected with hepatitis C? Does he agree that, in the spirit of Christmas, that would be a useful and moral gesture for our right hon. Friends to make?

Mr. Newton: Once again, I pay sincere tribute to my hon. Friend's persistence in raising this matter and the way in which he has pursued it. I believe that he initiated a Wednesday morning Adjournment debate on that subject only yesterday. He will understand that I am not in a position to add to what the Minister said to him then.

Mrs. Margaret Ewing (Moray): There seems to be an avoidance therapy on the issue of Monday's business in the House. Hon. Members such as me, who represent a highland seat, must try to be in two places at once, and at a time when travel can be very difficult. It may not be possible for members of the Highlands and Islands Convention to return to the House in time to vote, far less to speak in the debate. How on earth was that conflict reached by the usual channels? Who discussed the matter? Who decided that the common fisheries policy should be debated on the same day as the first meeting of the Highlands and Islands Convention? It seems to me that that is either sabotage of scrutiny or sabotage of the fishing industry.

Mr. Newton: It is not intended as sabotage of anything. We need to hold the fisheries debate before the Fisheries Council, and Monday seems the appropriate day on which to hold it.

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