Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:12 am on 14th September 2017.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 11:12 am, 14th September 2017

First, may I advise you strongly, Mr Speaker, to nail down your Chair, just in case? The hon. Gentleman is clearly concerned that someone might run off with it.

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman shows his usual contempt for this place, which is actually a bastion of democracy. [Interruption.] He calls it a tinpot dictatorship, which is pretty contemptuous. It is a great shame, but it comes as no surprise; that attitude pervades his approach to this place.

The hon. Gentleman raises the question of, as he calls it, the “grubby deal”. The confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP provides funding to the Northern Ireland Executive, once reconstituted, and frankly I am sick of Opposition Members putting it forward that this is somehow finding its way to a political party. They know full well that that is not the case. They also know full well that there have been many support packages for different parts of the United Kingdom. The money being provided for Northern Ireland will go towards tackling incredibly important problems and challenges in Northern Ireland, such as mental ill health, the consequences of the troubles, and infrastructure.

In response to the hon. Gentleman’s question on the hours allocated for the eight-day Committee of the whole House on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, we have provided eight hours a day of protected time. In fact, that compares rather favourably with the 39 hours and 17 minutes provided for discussion of the Lisbon treaty. As we showed when we extended the time for debate on Second Reading of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill following a request from Members, we will of course look carefully at this matter. Finally, it is a bit rich of the hon. Gentleman to say that the conference recess is held at the behest of the Liberal Democrats when he himself came to me to ask whether we could consider changing the dates to suit the Scottish National party conference—[Laughter.]