|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
8 Jan 2003 : Column 173continued
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 24, to debate an important matter that requires specific and urgent consideration, namely
For example, we should consider the whole issue of the threat to neighbours by Iraq and the whole issue of effects on the wider Islamic world. We may rue the consequences of going to war, which may be as rueful as those suggested by Ministers in other contexts. We should consider the whole issue of international law and the moral basis on which forces are being sent. We should consider the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency and precisely what the position of a report from the inspectors will amount to.
I come to the crucial issues. Let us suppose that British and American armour gets to Baghdad, what will happen then? Is it contemplated that a regime will be set up under General Tommy Franks along the lines of that set up under Douglas MacArthur all those years ago in Japan?
I have only three minutes to make my point, but we should consider the very crucial question that was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Lyons) yesterday. If the United Nations decides to take no military action against Iraq, will British troops join American troops in invading Iraq? The House of Commons needs to explore such issues.
I passionately believe that if we send British troops to risk their lives, they are entitled to know that it is the settled and overwhelming conviction of their countrymen that their cause is just and that they are doing something that is urgent for Britain. That settled conviction does not exist at the moment; only by a Commons debate can such a conviction be arrived at.
Mr. Speaker: I have listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman and I have to give my decision without stating any reasons. I am afraid that I do not consider that the matter that he raises is appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 24. I cannot therefore submit the application to the House.
Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. On 1 February last year I wrote to the Secretary of State for Health requesting his assistance with handling constituency issues. I asked whether the Department of Health had a diagram or spreadsheet to show what was happening with health service reforms, who was responsible for each aspect of health care and to whom we should address any problems on behalf of our constituents. I said that such a document would be helpful for us all. In December, I received a reply from the Under-Secretary of State for Health, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, dated 25 November 2002, a considerable time after I first wrote. I will not reprise for the benefit of the House the stream of verbiage in the Under-Secretary's letter, although you, Mr. Speaker, will have seen it. There was no response to my specific request for assistance, not only for me, but for all Members of the House.
There are two specific issues on which I would be grateful for your advice, Mr. Speaker. Is it acceptable for the Department of Health to take such an inordinate length of time to reply to hon. Members? Is it frankly acceptable for requests for assistance in how we manage complaints on behalf of our constituents to be dealt with in such a contemptuous manner, as you have seen in the terms of the letter?
Mr. Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his point of order and for showing me the correspondence to which he refers. Members are entitled to prompt replies from Ministers that address the issues raised. In this case, the hon. Gentleman is entitled to feel disappointed on both counts. I have asked the Secretary of State to review the correspondence. [Hon. Members: XAnswer."] Order.
Lawrie Quinn, supported by Mr. Tony Lloyd, Mr. Michael Clapham, Mr. Roy Beggs, Mr. Frank Doran, Mr. Richard Allan, Mr. Bob Laxton, Ian Stewart, Mr. Malcolm Savidge, Rob Marris, Mr. Andrew Dismore and Judy Mallaber, presented a Bill to make provision about the prosecution and punishment of offences which are, or are treated as being, offences under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 or the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 31 January, and to be printed. [Bill 37].
The background to today's debate is what Labour promised before it was elected, and what it has done since. Three questions need to be asked. Have Labour's policies actually worked? Is the approach behind the policies correct? What needs to be done to address the
The Labour Government have spent a lot of moneythere is no doubt about that. In the past two years, real-terms spending on the NHS has increased by more than 20 per cent.but there has been an increase of only 1.6 per cent. in finished consultant episodes, which is one of the main ways in which we measure hospital activity, and last year there was a 0.5 per cent. fall in the number of hospital admissions. The Prime Minister says that schools and hospitals are the priority, but if such a sum has gone into the NHS and activity levels have risen by only a fraction, what has gone wrong?