Committee on Standards: Cox Report

Part of NHS Long-Term Plan – in the House of Commons at 9:56 pm on 7th January 2019.

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Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means) 9:56 pm, 7th January 2019

The right hon. Gentleman is, of course, absolutely right in his description—[Interruption.] Order! Order! Close the doors!

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right, of course, in his description of the way in which matters are dealt with at the point of interruption. I took the decision this evening that, as there were 10 seconds left before 10 pm, that was the point at which I should put the Question. Kate Green, who was on her feet at 9.59 and 51 seconds—I was watching very carefully—had the courtesy to sit down just before 10 o’clock in order that I might put the Question. I took the decision that the Question ought to be put to the House, as it was the moment for the Question to be put. If the right hon. Gentleman is saying that it was not right for the hon. Lady to sit down with nine seconds to spare, I think he is really splitting hairs. I understand very well the point that he is making, but I took the decision that nine or 10 seconds meant that we were at the point of interruption and that no one else could have made a meaningful speech in those nine seconds. Of course, I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman’s point, which was also made by Mr Rees-Mogg in a point of order earlier in the evening, that it is possible for a Member to speak through the point of interruption, and that then there could be no vote and no decision.

My decision and my ruling from the Chair this evening has been that my reading of this Chamber was that the vast majority of Members in this Chamber wanted to have a decision on this matter this evening. I agreed with the right hon. Gentleman earlier that it is a great pity that today we had urgent questions lasting for some two hours and eight minutes that were somewhat repetitive, and that we then had statements lasting for three hours and two minutes that were also rather repetitive. As I said to the right hon. Gentleman in answer to his point of order earlier this evening, these matters are in the hands of Members. If Members insist on having their voice heard again and again, making the same point on the same matter, we will be in a position whereby an important debate such as the one that has just concluded has not had nearly enough time, but these matters are in the hands of Members.