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Mr. Andrew Tyrie (Chichester): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I hesitate to raise this point of order after so kindly and thoughtful a speech as yours. I rise to ask that the adjournment be delayed to enable the Government to answer for the inconsistency between statements made in the House on 14 May and 1 June 1998 and the action that they took a few days later, on 4 and 5 June, when, at the behest of the Hinduja brothers, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary met the Indian Prime Minister's special adviser.

At that time, India had just conducted nuclear tests and the Foreign Secretary said that India

The British Government cancelled visits by the Indian chiefs of staff and asked for a review by the European Commission of preferential trade treatment. We now know that, at the very time that the Foreign Secretary was making his statements to the House, arrangements were being made for the special adviser to the Indian Prime Minister to meet--

Mr. Speaker: Order. My answer is no. The hon. Gentleman cannot make a substantive case through a point of order, and the Foreign Secretary will not be making a statement. It is as simple as that.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker--and this is a bit more important. Did you read The Mirror this morning? In it, there is a column by Paul Routledge in which he talks about saying goodbye to our right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) and others, but because he did not do his homework--it is all about sloppy journalism these days, as you will know from all the points of order on the subject raised by Opposition Members--he got it wrong and said that I, too, would be retiring.

11 May 2001 : Column 405

Well, I have news for The Mirror and Routledge: I shall be back here, in this place, on 13 June, when we shall have an election for the Speaker--although you might get nodded through, Mr. Speaker. To Paul Routledge and everybody else, I say, I shall be back here, fighting for redistribution of wealth from the City financiers to the poor and those whom my hon. Friends have represented over the years, and those in Glasgow--and Partick in particular--will benefit as well.

Mr. Speaker: I shall let the people of Partick know.

Mr. Tony Benn: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I do not know whether we are waiting for a message from the Lords or whether we are ready to go, but is it in order to thank you? You have broken another precedent today by making a speech from the Chair. I tell all visitors that it is a characteristic of the Speaker that he never makes a speech, but you have changed that. You have been a marvellous Speaker--kind to us personally and good in the Chair. I, for one, bitterly resent the wholly unfounded criticisms that have been made. I shall watch from afar as you are re-elected within the month.

Mr. Speaker: I think that it was Harry Truman who said that if they were giving out compliments, he would be sure to be in the wrong queue.

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Mr. Speaker: I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that the Queen has signified her Royal Assent to the following Acts:

Appropriation Act 2001

Finance Act 2001

Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001

Social Security Fraud Act 2001

Private Security Industry Act 2001

House of Commons (Removal of Clergy Disqualification) Act 2001

Rating (Former Agricultural Premises and Rural Shops) Act 2001

Health and Social Care Act 2001

Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

International Criminal Court Act 2001

Children's Commissioner for Wales Act 2001

Armed Forces Act 2001

Social Security Contributions (Share Options) Act 2001

Question put and agreed to.

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