Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:51 am on 8th March 2018.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 10:51 am, 8th March 2018

On the hon. Gentleman’s first point, I am very appalled, as I think all hon. Members are, to hear of the experiences of his colleague, Mhairi Black. I sincerely apologise to her, on behalf of everybody here, for the appalling abuse she has received: it is utterly unacceptable. Of course, in my role as Leader of the House of Commons, if she wanted to come and talk to me I would be very happy to do so to see whether there is anything specific I can do for her.

As the hon. Gentleman knows and as you know, Mr Speaker, we have worked tirelessly, cross-party, to put in place our independent complaints procedure. I am not sure whether, if that were up and running today, it would have gone some way towards improving the hon. Lady’s situation. However, I certainly hope that our commitment across this House and in the other place to stamping out abuse and making our Parliament one of the best places to work and be employed in will stand us in good stead for the future.

On the hon. Gentleman’s second point, about RBS, I am very aware of the grave concerns about bank closures expressed on a number of occasions by Opposition Members. He will be aware that these are commercial decisions. There are procedures to go through before a bank decides to close, such as consultation with local communities. I point out that one of his hon. Friends has an Adjournment debate on banking in Scotland next week, on 14 March, and I am sure he will want to take part in that.

Finally, the hon. Gentleman raised the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and the Scottish National party’s continuity Bill. It is the Government’s position that the EU withdrawal Bill will provide consistency across the UK to ensure that all parts of the UK are ready for our departure from the EU. We are still hopeful that we can reach agreement with the devolved Administrations on the Bill in the coming weeks.