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Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 5th February 2013.

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Photo of Ian Lucas Ian Lucas Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 12:31 pm, 5th February 2013

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your guidance on whether it is appropriate for a Minister to refuse to meet hon. Members to discuss important matters relating to their constituencies. It seems extraordinary that a Minister has refused three times to meet elected Members of Parliament who should be given respect.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons

Even if something is extraordinary, that does not necessarily render it disorderly. It is not a matter for the Chair; it is a matter between the Minister and the Member. The hon. Gentleman has made his point. If the Minister wants briefly to respond, he can.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am very grateful, Mr Speaker, because I want to ensure, in the interests of clarity, that the hon. Gentleman understands what I have just said: once he and his colleagues have worked out what it is they want, I am very happy to meet them.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Labour, Manchester, Gorton

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Will you confirm that right hon. and hon. Members have only two privileges that are not available to every citizen in this country? One is freedom of speech in this Chamber, subject to your rulings, and the other is access to Ministers.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons

I am reluctant to enter into a debate on this matter. The first point is unarguable; the second is something about which I have just opined. I know that the right hon. Gentleman would not seek to lure me further, because that would be unfair and the right hon. Gentleman would never knowingly be unfair.