Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 24th April 2018.

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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 2:45 pm, 24th April 2018

I can confirm that. Any journalist can contact any Member if said journalist is minded to do so. I think it is as simple as that; I have no responsibility for what has been said, and the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that I do. To be candid, I have no knowledge of which individual or outlet he has in mind. In a way, that is an advantage; he is asking me a straightforward question and I can offer him a straightforward confirmation by way of reply.

Needless to say, I am very sorry to hear about the torrent of abuse that the hon. Gentleman, his wife and his daughter have experienced—that is very sad. Nothing is going to stop the hon. Gentleman, whom I have known for more than 30 years, from speaking his mind, and it is right that that should be so. But it is a pity when people feel it necessary not to play the ball but to play the man or the woman, indulging in ad hominem abuse of a frequently loathsome kind, and sometimes of a kind that would be of interest to the police. This is a very worrying development in our democracy, about which I have spoken before, but I thank the hon. Gentleman for what he has said and I hope my reply offers him some reassurance.