Scheduling of Parliamentary Business

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 7:38 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Labour, Rhondda 7:38 pm, 17th July 2017

I congratulate Kirstene Hair, who made an absolutely sterling, brilliant Union speech. I concurred with nearly everything she said in it, apart from the political stuff—[Interruption.] Well, the party political stuff. My hon. Friend Marsha De Cordova—who is not in her place at the moment—also made an exemplary speech. It is nice to hear a Member paying tribute to their mother in the Chamber, and my hon. Friend did that beautifully and elegantly.

It is a shame that I am following Kelly Tolhurst, because I am actually rather fond of her, having spent a great deal of time in her constituency contributing to the Labour party coming third in the by-election. She said that Labour Members needed to get over themselves and get on with it. Yes, we would like to get on with the business of opposition; the problem is that we are not being given the Opposition days on which to be the honourable Opposition. That is the whole point. I apologise to the Leader of the House; I was rude to her earlier. I actually like her, and there are some things that I want out of her, so I am going to be nice to her now. Seriously, I was rude earlier, but I feel strongly about such issues.

The Government and Government Members need to bear it in mind that the power of the Executive in our parliamentary system is quite phenomenal. Standing Order No. 14 says that the Government have complete control over the timetable. They get to decide when they are going to give days to the Opposition, to private Members’ Bills and to the rest, but Government business always takes precedence. Standing Order No. 48 says that only the Government can table motions relating to money and taxation. We do not have a proper Budget; we have a Budget speech. This House does not actually decide on the process of how money is allocated at all. Standing Order No. 83A means that only the Government can table a programme motion, so only the Government can decide how much time we are going to devote to each element. Even in the utter nitty-gritty of the Welsh Grand Committee, only the Government can table a motion under Standing Order No. 108 to say when we are going to have a Welsh Grand Committee, what it will debate and all the rest of it.