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Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire): May anyone approach that officer, or can she be approached only via a Member of Parliament?

Mr. Mitchell: I reassure my hon. Friend that she may be approached by anyone. The Government are committed to seeing parents with care receiving levels of maintenance that adequately reflect both the children's needs and the absent parents' ability to pay. We are at last seeing more maintenance being paid to more parents with care than ever before. I am sure that many hon. Members will agree that that represents a considerable achievement for an agency that many were willing to write off less than two years ago.

I look forward to returning to this Dispatch Box after the Queen's Speech on 14 May, and after the Conservative party has won the general election. I look forward to continuing the important work in the area of child support when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister forms his next Government on 2 May.

As the last Minister to speak during this Parliament from the Treasury Bench and from the Dispatch Box, I will follow in the tradition established by the final speaker in the last Parliament in 1992--my right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory)--in quoting Suetonius, who accurately reflects the outstanding economic achievements secured by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. He wrote:

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    "Urbem excoluit adeo, ut iure sit gloriatus marmoream se relinquere, quam latericiam accepisset."

For those Opposition Members who may find it helpful, this translates as:

    "He so improved the city that he justly asserted he had found it brick and left it marble."

6.50 pm

Sitting suspended.

8 pm

On resuming--

Mr. Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Earlier today I drew Madam Speaker's attention to the fact that there had been an announcement on the widening of the M25. She addressed that point of order. My point of order this evening--I apologise for troubling you--relates to the fact that the Cabinet Secretary has published some Cabinet rules on the conduct of Ministers after the general election has been announced.

I was bewildered as to how a decision could be announced in a parliamentary answer by the Minister for Railways and Roads, the hon. Member for Slough (Mr. Watts) to the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Smith). I spoke to the permanent secretary at the Department of Transport, who said, "Ah. The decision was taken on 13 March."

I appeal to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, about this total abuse and flagrant disregard of the rules laid down by the Cabinet Secretary, who is the custodian of the independence of the civil service. The fact that that can be done is nonsense and an outrage. Can you help? The decision was taken today, not on 13 March. Somebody should be brought to account before the House for that abuse.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris): Thankfully, I am not responsible for anything that the Cabinet Secretary does.

Question put and agreed to.

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