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

Thank you. I am extremely grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order. I understood that she had made this observation outside the House. What I want to say to the hon. Lady, whom I always treat with great respect in this Chamber, is the following. The hon. Lady has at no time previously—that is to say, prior to today—made that allegation against me. The hon. Lady has not come to me and said that, and to my knowledge—[Interruption.] If the hon. Lady will do me the courtesy of allowing me to respond to her point of order, as she has raised it. To my knowledge, I am not in receipt of a letter alleging that. If there is such an allegation, I refute it 100%.

I have received a letter from the hon. Lady, as she knows, within I think the last 24 hours, on an unrelated matter—specifically to do with proxy voting and baby leave—and I believe I am right in saying—[Interruption.] Perhaps the hon. Lady will do me the courtesy of allowing me to respond. I believe I am right in saying that she wrote to me on that matter, at least in part, in her capacity as chair of the all-party group on women in Parliament. To that letter, she will of course receive a response.

That contention has not previously been made, but if it is now made, I say with absolute certainty, it is not correct. I have not said that to or about the hon. Lady. That is my response to the hon. Lady.