LILLEY BRANDS MINISTER "A THREE POUND NOTE"

- Tuesday, 23rd March 2004

 

Yesterday in Parliament, Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, called for the Speaker to brand Immigration Minister, Beverley Hughes, both irresponsible and "worth as much as a three-pound note" because of her refusal to accept responsibility for the policies pursued by her own department. A whistleblower recently revealed that Home Office officials have been waiving checks on tens of thousands of economic migrants from Eastern Europe.

Peter Lilley said: "Before this government it was unprecedented for a Minister to refuse to accept responsibility for policies pursued by her Department. In such circumstances, the whole House of Commons has a responsibility to seize every opportunity to hold that Minister to account.

"However, at Home Office Questions yesterday, Labour ministers deliberately filibustered by giving long and unhelpful answers to earlier questions so that there was almost no time left to question Beverley Hughes when we reached the question about her responsibility for this immigration scandal. This is quite outrageous and a sign of her irresponsible attitude to Parliament. As I said to the Speaker - a minister who refuses to accept responsibility for her own department?s policies or to answer questions about them is worth as much as a three-pound note."

ENDS

Note to Editors: Peter Lilley MP?s Point of Order:

Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): On a different point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will know that it is almost unprecedented for a Minister to disclaim responsibility for the policies pursued by his or her Department. In those circumstances, it behoves the whole House to seize every opportunity to hold that Minister to account. There seemed every possibility that we would have an opportunity to question a Home Office Minister on the apparent lack of control on the crucial issue of immigration, which concerns all our constituents, when we reached question 10, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Upminster (Angela Watkinson). Yet you will have observed, Mr. Speaker, that because of an organised attempt at filibustering, with long and unhelpful answers to previous questions, we only just got to question 10 at the end of Question Time. The Minister concerned then gave what was, in effect, a statement rather than an ordinary answer, thereby depriving us of the opportunity of holding her to account for her denial of responsibility for the policies pursued by her Department. Can you make it clear to Ministers that an irresponsible Minister is worth as much as a three-pound note?

 

 

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