Point of Order

Aviation Security – in the House of Commons at 1:15 pm on 22nd March 2017.

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Photo of Alan Brown Alan Brown Scottish National Party, Kilmarnock and Loudoun 1:15 pm, 22nd March 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I previously pointed out to the Leader of the House in business questions that both the Liberal Democrats and Labour have been fined for their conduct in the 2015 election. I drew attention to the fact that the Tories were also under investigation and that the Electoral Commission has expressed concerns that the capped fine limit means that fines are no longer a suitable deterrent. Basically, the Leader of the House was almost dismissive with a “how dare he raise that” response, and he stated that

“for Members of the Scottish National party to give lectures about good practice during election campaigning is a bit rich.”—[Official Report, 19 January 2017; Vol. 619, c. 1088.]

That implied that the SNP was possibly implicated as well. Now that the Tories have been fined a record £70,000, how can I make sure the record is correct: the SNP was the only major party not fined at the election, and our record number of MPs was returned without any financial shenanigans? How do I make the Leader of the House consider it worthwhile to make an apology?

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, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee, 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, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for his characteristic courtesy in giving me advance notice of his intention to raise it. What I would say to the hon. Gentleman is as follows: first, he has found his own salvation by putting what he regards as the facts of the matter on the record, where they will permanently reside, doubtless to the great delight of the hon. Gentleman and possibly of other people in Kilmarnock and Loudoun; and, secondly, when the hon. Gentleman asks what can be done to procure an apology from the Leader of the House, I fear that that may be a case of optimism triumphing over reality. I was in the Chamber at the time, and the Leader of the House is of course responsible for what he says, but I think the Leader of the House offered a robust response in the course of what might have been thought a knockabout exchange. I have always thought that Alan Brown was quite a steely fellow himself, but if I am in any sense mistaken on that front, may I commend to him the benefits of acquiring at least one of the characteristics of the rhinoceros? I am referring not of course to aesthetic beauty, but to notable resilience. We will leave it there for now.

If there are no further points of order, at any rate for now, we come to the presentation of a Bill. [Interruption.] Order. I am sure hon. Members are awaiting with anticipation and a degree of excitement the presentation of a Bill in the name of Keith Vaz.