– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd February 2018.

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The Chairman of Ways and Means took the Chair as Deputy Speaker (Standing Order No.3).

Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 9:34 am, 2nd February 2018

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I wish to correct the record of my answer yesterday to my hon. Friend Mr Rees-Mogg. He is aware of this point of order.

Yesterday, I answered a question based on my honest recollection of a conversation. As I explained yesterday, I considered what I understood to be the suggestion being put to me as implausible because of the long-standing and well-regarded impartiality of the civil service. The audio of that conversation is now available, and I am glad that the record stands corrected.

In the context of that audio, I accept that I should have corrected or dismissed the premise of my hon. Friend’s question. I have apologised to Mr Charles Grant, who is an honest and trustworthy man. As I have put on record many times, I have the highest regard for our hard-working civil servants. I am grateful for this opportunity to correct the record and I apologise to the House.

Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I beg to move, That the House sit in private.

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 163), and negatived.