Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:36 pm on 10th June 2014.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Party Chair, Co-operative Party 12:36 pm, 10th June 2014

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Many will think it odd that the Prime Minister’s choice for Britain’s next EU Commissioner will be scrutinised by the European Parliament, but that there appear to be no plans to allow the British people, through this House, to examine their suitability. Have you had any indication that Ministers might support such parliamentary scrutiny on this occasion?

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 grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order, of which I did not have advance notice. The short answer is that I am not aware of any intention for arrangements to be different on this occasion from those which have applied in the past. However, the point has been aired. It will have been heard at any rate by the Government Chief Whip, who sits impassively and in languid fashion on the Treasury Bench, but I feel sure that it can be the subject of a private conversation between the hon. Gentleman and the Government Chief Whip if both are so minded. The latter part of that sentence is at least as important as the former.

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 do not think there is a “further”, but because I am a generous soul and the hon. Gentleman’s brow is more than usually furrowed, we will give it a go.

Photo of Michael Connarty Michael Connarty Labour, Linlithgow and East Falkirk

As I understand it from the last meeting of the European Scrutiny Committee, it is the Committee’s intention to write to the Government on that very point and to suggest that the Committee might be given the facility to do that interview before the appointment is made.

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

That is a helpful observation. Whether it is a point of order I do not know, but it is a helpful observation from somebody who is familiar with the workings of the Committee. I had better leave it there. There has been a kind of conversation through attempted points of order. Where it will end I know not.