Speaker’S Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:34 pm on 19th December 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 3:34 pm, 19th December 2018

It is not open to a Member to impugn the integrity of another Member. That is—[Interruption.] Order, please. That is a violation of the established—[Interruption.] If the hon. Lady will permit me. She has raised a point of order, perfectly reasonably, and I am responding to her. It is not in order to impute dishonour to another Member. That is a very long established convention of this House, so it is not orderly to accuse another Member of dishonesty.

When the hon. Lady inquires what further may be done, the answer to her is that people can seek to solicit opinions on this matter, including of a professional character. I have offered, at short notice, as I thought was my duty, the fruits of the professional advice that I have received and I have shared that very openly with the House. It is not for the Chair to pronounce judgment—guilty or innocent—upon a Member. It is well established that a Member is to be taken at his or her word. If the matter is to be further discussed, debated or commented on, that is to be expected, but it is not a matter of order for the Chair now. That is as full and, I hope the hon. Lady will agree, as courteous a response as I could possibly be expected to provide.