Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 5:24 pm on 6 July 2015.

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

Order. I appreciate that the House is in a state of some animation, but if there are Members who, quite unaccountably, are leaving the Chamber before the points of order from the hon. Members for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) and for Ashton-under-Lyne (Angela Rayner), I hope they will do so quickly and quietly, so that the rest of the House can listen with rapt attention to the said points of order. I know that the hon. Gentleman will defer to a newer Member.

Photo of Angela Rayner Angela Rayner Labour, Ashton-under-Lyne

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Members will miss a great point of order if they leave now. I wish to correct the record in Hansard of last Thursday’s Adjournment debate on Hatfield colliery. In column 1742, the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise made reference to potentially “sexist comments” that I was meant to have made. That was not the case; I was merely pointing out that it was Mrs Thatcher’s Government who started the miners’ problems. My point related to ideology and was nothing to do with gender. I was not able to correct the matter at the time, as Anna Soubry refused to allow me into the debate. Can we ensure that the record is corrected or moved?

If you will indulge me a little more, Mr Speaker, I am also incredibly disappointed that I still have not heard from the Secretary of State for Health regarding last Monday’s point of order. Will you remind him that I sit in this place not for myself, but to represent many thousands of Ashton-under-Lyne constituents? What can I do to get them the respect they deserve?

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

There are two responses to the hon. Lady’s point of order, for which I am most grateful. In respect of the first matter, she has now put what she regards as the correct interpretation of past statements on the record, and it is there for all to see.

In relation to the second matter—how the hon. Lady can get the respect she seeks and, specifically, a response to the point of order that she articulated last week—she will already have learned of the very quick journey that can be made from here to the Table Office. The Table Office staff are unfailingly professional, courteous and helpful. She may have to use the device of the Order Paper and follow-up questions to extract what she wants from a Minister. Knowing as I do already the assiduity of the hon. Lady, I feel sure that she will have recourse to the Table Office sooner rather than later.

Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Procedure Committee, Chair, Procedure Committee

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On Friday, I met 55 black cab drivers—fantastic men and women—at Cheshunt boxing club. They are very concerned about Transport for London’s unwillingness to enforce its regulations in respect of the business practices of Uber. It is difficult for me to bring those concerns to the Floor of the House because licensing is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Mayor of London. As a procedural expert, Mr Speaker, will you advise me on how I can bring the concerns of 55 black cab drivers to the Floor of the House of Commons so that their voice can be heard by this place?

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Whatever one’s views on English votes for English business, I have considerable sympathy for Mr Carmichael and the decision that you have made. It strikes me that so often in this place, we fill out time with Whips desperately trying to bring people in, when really important debates, such as this one and the ones on the Iraq war and the Syria war, are limited to one day.

I know that you will say immediately, Mr Speaker, that you do not have control over business, but as the Chairman of the Procedure Committee is here and you are here, I just wonder whether we may look at this matter so that, in future, you might have the ability to mark business as of particular national importance so that it gets two days of debate. That used to happen in our proceedings many years ago, when we often had longer debates, such as the famous Norway debate, which lasted more than one day.

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

I say three things to the hon. Gentleman. First, I think that matter would usefully fall within the bailiwick of the Procedure Committee. My understanding is that the Committee, chaired by Mr Walker, is currently considering a work programme for the Parliament, and Sir Edward Leigh might just have added to that workload.

Secondly, I am deeply sympathetic to the proposition that there should be fuller debates on very important matters. The hon. Gentleman might be aware that Mr Mitchell and others raised precisely that point at business questions last Thursday. As yet there has not been a definitive response, but the hon. Gentleman might want to add to the pressure.

Lastly, I say to the hon. Gentleman that some of these matters might be attended to in the event of the creation of a House business Committee, which was of course a commitment of the previous coalition Government. I am sure it just happened to slip their memory and they did not get round to introducing it. Knowing what a terrier the hon. Gentleman is, I have a feeling he will probably return to the standard.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. On a point of clarification, I understand that the reason why the House business Committee was not introduced in the last Parliament was a conflict between the two Government parties, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. Now that is not the case, there does not seem to be any reason why that Committee could not be introduced.

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (House of Lords)

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On 13 June I submitted a written question to the Leader of the House about English votes on English laws, asking which Bills would affect England only and which would affect England and Wales only. Today I have received the response. Included in the list of England and Wales only Bills is the Scotland Bill. [Laughter.] Yes, that was much the response that I gave. I would appreciate it if the matter could be looked into and the correct response provided.

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

I am grateful to the hon. Lady, who has put her point on the record and fully entertained her right hon. and hon. Friends in this early part of the day. It is not a matter for the Chair, but might I suggest that the hon. Lady could be keen to elaborate upon that point in tomorrow’s debate? If she were minded to say, “But Mr Speaker, I have already made the point”, I would say to her that repetition is not a novel phenomenon in the House of Commons.

Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee, Chair, Backbench Business Committee

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Just this afternoon I have been informed that unfortunately, no nominations for membership of the Backbench Business Committee have been forthcoming from the Government. Will you indulge me by using your offices to see whether nominations can be extracted from them?

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

My response to the hon. Gentleman, betraying a modicum of surprise if not complete stupefaction, is that providing Government Back-Bench members of the Committee is obviously a matter for the Government. A number of bodies within the House, including the House of Commons Commission, remain to be fully constituted. I make the point, in the gentlest terms, that it is important that we make progress on these matters before we rise for the summer recess. The Backbench Business Committee, upon which the hon. Gentleman served as a Back-Bench Member in the last Parliament and which he is now privileged to chair, is an extremely important Committee in the House’s deliberations, and I very much hope, and am confident, that it will be treated with the appropriate respect by Government Whips.