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9 Dec 2002 : Column 127continued
The Opposition invent the facts of the case, missing out the inconvenient ones, and then tryunforgivablyto make political capital out of[Hon. Members: XThat is a disgrace."] If anything is a disgrace, it is the press release issued today in the name of the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard) who clearly does not know the facts of the case.
Mr. Howard: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would you be good enough to confirm, first, that there is no convention of the House that prevents an hon. Member from giving way when replying to an Adjournment debate; and, secondly, that it is the convention of the House to give way when accusations of the kind that the right hon. Lady has just made in respect of another hon. Member are so made?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Djanogly) gave way to the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard). That was his privilege. It is the same for the Paymaster General. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will know that in an Adjournment debate there is an allocated time for the hon. Member who initiates the debate and for the Minister to reply. The Paymaster General has time to consider[Interruption.] Order. I am trying to point out to hon. Members that an Adjournment debate held at the end of the day is not similar to a normal debate.
The Government take the view that we should constantly and actively seek to support the Thalidomide Trust, including working closely with it to ensure that those who are entitled to a tax refund receive it. We are prepared
We stand ready to work with the trust. The Government are also clear that funding for the national health service and for social services, as well as the remarkable increase in that spending, ensures that we can support all those people, as well those in the Thalidomide Trust in challenging[Hon. Members: XGive way."] I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment.
This Adjournment debate should be a rational discussion of how best to support individuals and use the resources available. If Conservative Members look back at what they did in government, they will see that that was the case.