Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. That motion would have given us some certainty that this House would be sitting on Friday week, for example, to consider private Members’ Bills. Is it not extraordinary that we now have no certainty about that? The presumption now is that we will not be sitting on Friday
Order. I beg the House to be a little quieter because, as a matter of practicality, I could not hear the hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.] I am politely asking for a little bit of quiet. Just talk quietly among yourselves.
The hon. Gentleman makes a perfectly reasonable point. As to whether it is extraordinary, I cannot possibly comment from the Chair. However, he has asked me, as a point of order, whether his amendment (a) to motion 4 was selected and, indeed, whether amendment (b) was selected, and I can tell him that I do not know the answer to his question. The selection of amendments is entirely a matter for Mr Speaker, and the Deputy Speakers have no part in the consideration or discussion of whether an amendment should be selected. I do not know whether either amendment was selected, but I have every sympathy with the hon. Gentleman.
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I accept your ruling in relation to the prerogative of the Speaker to decide which amendments are selected and which are not, but what I was really concerned about was the fact that the Member who tabled the amendment was not notified as to whether it had been selected. Is there now a new convention in this place that a Member does not know whether their amendment has been selected until the debate starts? If that is a new convention, let us all be clear about it, but my understanding, after more than 30 years in this place, is that if a Member moves an amendment, they normally get advance notice of whether it has been selected.
The hon. Gentleman again makes a perfectly reasonable point about his experience over the past 30 years, but we live in ever-changing times, and I genuinely do not know the answer to his question.
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. First, if the Government Whip had not said, “Not moved,” we would now be in the debate on the motion. If we had had that debate, I would have spoken against the amendment of Sir Christopher Chope, so at what point would those who had put down amendments have known that they would be put to a vote? Secondly—maybe the Leader of the House can assist with this—have you had any indication that the Government intend to move the order relating to private Members’ Bills days at some point in the future? If so, when might that be?
Again, the right hon. Gentleman makes a perfectly reasonable point. I should point out to him and to the House that Mr Speaker ‘s selection of amendments is published as a provisional selection of amendments. It is then up to Mr Speaker which amendments he finally selects. That would be the normal course of action. I am unaware of a provisional selection of amendments having been published in relation to motion 4 today.
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. As you can well imagine, there may be a lot of interest in this House about the selection of amendments over the next few weeks, so this is not merely some esoteric question. Now, I have been here for only 18 years—I am a relative newbie—but the Speaker’s conference would have taken place this morning, and the usual practice is that a provisional selection of amendments is issued thereafter. As you say, it is provisional, but it can at least guide the House as to what is likely to be available for debate.
Now, today’s Bill was relatively uncontroversial. Being able to rent a home is important, but it was not as controversial as, say, some of last week’s debates, so it was not beyond the wit of man to work out that the debate on the Tenant Fees Bill would end early. The Speaker’s conference should have practically been able to foresee this situation. That being the case, why was no provisional selection of amendments issued in the normal way?
I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman’s point, and I can give him a very direct answer. I will not disclose to the Chamber or in any other way what happens at the Speaker’s conference in the morning. It is a private meeting between Mr Speaker and his Deputies and senior Clerks, and I will not and cannot answer questions about it.
While we are living in an era of some creativity with respect to the House’s Standing Orders, can you confirm that we have not been so creative so far that amendments can survive the main motion being withdrawn?
I am delighted to answer the hon. Lady’s perspicacious point of order. She is absolutely correct that amendments cannot survive the withdrawal of the main motion. I will say it again that the selection of amendments is entirely a matter for Mr Speaker, and I am sure that if Mr Speaker had been here, as he will be at some future point, he would have been delighted to answer these questions.
Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Can you confirm that it would be in order for the Government to propose a future motion—hopefully very quickly—that would allow the Service Animals (Offences) Bill finally to make progress and get its Third Reading? The Bill has support on both sides of the House and had cross-party support in Committee last week.
I am happy to confirm to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that that would be perfectly in order. He also reminds me that I did not answer the second point of Hilary Benn about whether the Government intend to bring forward motion 4 again at a future time. I am not aware at this point of any such intention, but one would hope so.