Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:36 pm on 20 January 2015.

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Photo of Alison Seabeck Alison Seabeck Shadow Minister (Defence) 12:36, 20 January 2015

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On democracy day, I am concerned that the fisheries Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, has made a statement on his personal Facebook page specific to changes in bass fishing, saying that he has made a breakthrough. However, when I checked the Order Paper, the official website of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Marine Management Organisation website, I found no formal statement. The EU website says that the deal has not been finalised, and fishers directly affected are finding out about it from cross-posting from sea anglers. I would welcome your advice on whether it is appropriate for ministerial statements to be put out in this way.

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, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

I will come to the hon. Gentleman in a moment.

I thank the hon. Lady for giving me notice of her point of order. I understand that her concerns relate to the Minister’s comments on Facebook about the December Agriculture and Fisheries Council. I believe that there has been no ministerial statement to the House, following that Council meeting, but that a number of parliamentary questions on it have since been answered. Off the top of my head and on the basis of such thought as I have been able to give to it, it is not clear to me that the Minister is on this occasion guilty of breaching the important principle that Parliament should be informed first of significant developments in public policy. Nevertheless,

I am sure that the Treasury Bench has taken note of the point, and will convey its gist to Ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

I do not know whether Sir Edward Leigh had a point of order, but I am all agog if he has.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Chair, Public Accounts Commission, Chair, Public Accounts Commission

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This morning, we had an excellent debate in Westminster Hall on Holocaust memorial day. I thought that it would be appropriate, as we celebrate our 750th birthday today, for this House—I recognise that you are the head of our House, Mr Speaker, and you are of Jewish ancestry—to proclaim that, even if our House survives for another 750 years, we will not, in this, our time, be found wanting in standing up for the right of Jewish people to live in peace and freedom wherever they are in the world.

Hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the point of order, and the consideration that underlies it. I think that the reception to it tells its own story. It will be endorsed by everybody from across the House. It might be thought a particularly timely point of order for the hon. Gentleman to raise given the pervasive threat of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world, and the fact that it is a significant problem in the United Kingdom as well.

The hon. Gentleman’s wider point—namely, the 2015 anniversary and celebrations—will be of great interest to the House. All sorts of plans have been developed to mark and commemorate that anniversary, about which Members will hear, and with which they will be involved, during the year. I will of course have something to say on that matter not today, but in the course of the week.