Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 2:09 pm on 19 July 2007.

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Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Conservative, Spelthorne 2:09, 19 July 2007

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am pleased to see the Leader of the House in her place, and I hope that she is there to respond to the issue that I am about to draw to the House's attention.

During business questions earlier this afternoon, I drew the attention of the Leader of the House to early-day motion 1952, which relates to the leadership of the UK delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I pointed out that Mr. Prescott was not going to be a shoo-in, as there will be an election for the position, taking place next week. Given that the Council of Europe is all about democracy, I sought the assurance of the Leader of the House that a democratic election would involve every member of the delegation having a vote for its leadership. The answer I received was: yes, that is what would happen.

It is now clear that that answer was factually incorrect. I readily accept that the misleading of this House was totally unintentional. Nevertheless, that answer was wrong, because it is absolutely clear that only Labour members will be able to vote. We will therefore end up with a leader of an all-party delegation chosen on the basis that some of us are disfranchised. I hope that the Leader of the House now wants to correct her mistake and then explain why some of us are effectively second-class members, denied the right to say who will be our leader.

Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman The Leader of the House of Commons , Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Party Chair, Labour Party, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I thank Mr. Wilshire for raising this point of order and providing me with an opportunity to clarify the position. I can reassure him that we have not changed the procedure in any way, as it remains the case that the leadership of the UK delegation to the Council of Europe is a matter for the Prime Minister.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Conservative, Spelthorne

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker

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So was the house mislead? It appears to me...

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Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. We must leave it there. If the hon. Gentleman wants to pursue the matter further, he will have to—

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. No, the Leader of the House has responded to the point of order. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to pursue the matter further, he should consider choosing other channels to do so.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Conservative, Spelthorne

On a different point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Would it be a different point of order if I were to thank the Leader of the House for being so prompt in correcting her mistake?

Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I am more than content to accept that point of order. Perhaps we can now move on to the next business.