Presentation and First Reading
Mel Stride accordingly presented a Bill to grant certain duties, to alter other duties, and to amend the law relating to the national debt and the public revenue, and to make further provision in connection with finance.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Monday
On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. There are sad reports that the Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, has resigned as a direct result of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget. Will someone on the Treasury Bench confirm whether that is true? If it is, I want to put on record my support for the Minister’s work and to thank her for the job she has done. Will the Chancellor confirm to the House whether this is the first time that a member of the Government has resigned during the votes on a Budget as a direct result of a Chancellor’s policies?
As the hon. Lady is well aware, that is not a point of order for the Chair, but it is now on the record for all to know.
On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. On Tuesday, the Home Office told the Home Affairs Committee that there would be additional checks by employers on EU citizens in the event a no-deal Brexit. However, the Home Secretary appears to have told the media yesterday that there would not be any such checks and that there would be a transition. Today it appears that No. 10 has told the media both that there will be no checks, and also that free movement is starting straight away, and that planning is continuing so nothing is certain. Have you heard anything from the Home Office about whether a Minister will come to the House to clarify this chaotic mess? With five months to go, will you use your offices to ensure that somebody either from the Home Office or from No. 10 tells us what on earth is going on?
There are a couple of things to say. First, that matter is now on the record, ensuring that everyone is aware of it. Secondly, the power lies with the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee to invite Ministers, the Home Secretary or whoever back before the Committee to make a clarification. People will have noted what is being said, and I am sure that we will get an explanation before long.
Further to that point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. This is not the first time that the Home Affairs Committee has received misleading, contradictory evidence from Home Office Ministers. It is deeply unacceptable that information is not then being clarified by a statement to the House or in a letter to the Committee, but in mysterious email communications with outside organisations and to the media. What can we do to get a Minister here to explain what on earth is going on at the Home Office?
There are obviously many alternative options and avenues to go down, such as an urgent question on Monday. I know that the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee will not leave the matter at that, and I think that different approaches will be being used by Monday.
On a point of order, Mr Deputy-Speaker. Peter Dowd complained of not having advance sight of the Budget. If my understanding is correct, that is only the convention for the spring statement, not for the Budget. Can you confirm that advance sight has only happened once in 20 years of Budgets, 13 of which were covered by Labour Budgets?
The Government decided not to provide an advance copy, so that was a Government decision. What people will believe is the norm, they will believe, but others will say that it is not the norm. For clarification, somebody said on Facebook that the Opposition did not receive a copy but I did, and unfortunately for the person who said that, I am the Chairman of Ways and Means, and the Budget has been delivered to the person in that position for over 100 years. It was not delivered me to personally, but to the office that I hold.