Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 4:11 pm on 2nd March 2015.

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Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Chair, Justice Committee, Chair, Liaison Committee (Commons), Chair, National Policy Statements Sub-Committee 4:11 pm, 2nd March 2015

I seek your help, Mr Speaker. I received an e-mail from the Chancellor of the Exchequer engagingly entitled “Constituency courtesy”, which told me that he was proposing to visit my constituency on the following day—Friday—as indeed he duly did. However, this e-mail was sent at 9.17 pm on Thursday night, when I received it. That seems to stretch the concept of courtesy rather a long way. Could we not introduce some sort of training course or refresher course that we can send Ministers and their advisers on so that they have a full understanding of what these courtesies are?

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 bound to say that I think Members would benefit from such a course. I have known the right hon. Gentleman long enough to know that, perhaps unlike a number of colleagues in all parties, his own included, he himself would never be guilty of a discourtesy because he is among the most courteous Members of the House. I think that people ought to observe the spirit and not just the letter of the convention. Many people will feel that it is a discourtesy for him to be notified at such a late stage. I leave colleagues to consider whether that is worthy of somebody who occupies any ministerial office—notably, in this case, the occupant of the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think that people ought to rise to the level of events, if I can put it that way.