Point of Order

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:50 pm on 13th September 2017.

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Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 12:50 pm, 13th September 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Further to the earlier remarks of my right hon. Friend Jeremy Corbyn, I seek your advice on how to elicit a response from the Government on the question of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its report of 31 August. I wrote to the Secretary of State on 5 September, calling on him to come to this House to debate the UN report, but to date have not received any response from him. Obviously, the House rises tomorrow and I am again concerned that the Government have not been held to account on this very important issue. As you know from the earlier remarks, Mr Speaker, the UN describes this as “a human catastrophe”. Have the Government given you any indication as to when they might report to the House? May I also seek your guidance on how to ensure that this House is the first place to hear of how the Government intend to take forward the Committee’s detailed recommendations?

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

I am most grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order. The short answer to her particular inquiry is that I have received no indication from any Minister of an intention to make a statement on this matter. However, I note what the hon. Lady has told me, and I am conscious of, and sensitive to, the fact that the House will cease to sit tomorrow for the period of the conference recess, and therefore I understand the rationale behind the hon. Lady raising the matter with some sense of urgency today. My response to her is to say, first, that an attempt could usefully be made at business questions tomorrow to elicit from the Government their thinking as to whether, and, if so, when, they intend to broach this matter in the House. My secondary suggestion is that if that does not bear fruit, it is open to the hon. Lady as soon as we return from the conference recess to seek to raise the matter, and if she thinks she can justify doing so, to do so on the basis that it is by then demonstrably urgent.