Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Points of Order

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 25th April 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

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, 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 12:44 pm, 25th April 2017

We cannot and will not have a debate on the matter. The hon. Lady was courteous enough to give me advance notice of her intention to raise this point of order, for which I thank her, and I have attended both to the substance of what she has said and to the remarks of the Minister.

I must say to the hon. Lady that, disquieting though the experience might have been, and relatively irregularly though it might occur, it is not clear to me that Trudy Harrison has broken any convention. It is certainly a convention to notify another Member of an intention to visit his or her constituency in a political public capacity. It is also a very well established convention that a Member of Parliament should not purport to represent or offer to represent people who are not her or his constituents. [Interruption.] Order. Writing, however, in a campaigning context on party notepaper, though it might not happen very frequently, is not—and I have some experience of these matters—a demonstrable breach of a long-standing convention.

I say to the hon. Lady, whose concern I treat very seriously, that I appreciate that concern, but it seems to me that courtesies between Members of the House, which are important, are best arrived at and adhered to by informal discussions between colleagues. It is not desirable that they should ritually be attempted to be resolved by being raised on the Floor of the House with the Chair. That is to say, to be clear, that they are not matters of order but matters of informal agreement and understanding. It is much better if such understandings can be reached between neighbouring colleagues.