Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:53 pm on 17th July 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 1:53 pm, 17th July 2018

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I do not think it is a point of order. It has to be said that that does not put the hon. Gentleman in a particularly exclusive category, as most attempted points of order are in fact more attempted than points, if I may say so. What I would say to him by way of response, and I appreciate the sincerity with which he raises the issue as a former Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, is as follows. Money akin to Short money, representative money, is paid to Opposition parties represented by Members who have chosen not to take their seats in respect of costs incurred exclusively in relation to the party’s representative business. That was, as I suspect the hon. Gentleman knows, decided by the House in November 2005. I had no role in that matter, other than as a Member of the House. I had no greater role than anyone else. As the Speaker, I have no role in changing that arrangement or, alternatively, upholding it. It is the property, if I may say so, of the House. If the hon. Gentleman has concerns about the administration of this arrangement, or about the fact of payment or particular payments, he should direct his concerns to the Accounting Officer of the House who, as I am sure Members will know, is also the Clerk of the House. I well understand the hon. Gentleman’s unhappiness on this matter, but he should communicate with the Accounting Officer about it.