Points of Order

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:01 pm on 14th February 2019.

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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 12:01 pm, 14th February 2019

That is a public information notice from the hon. Gentleman and we are grateful for it—genuinely so—and I thank him for what he said. In response to the hon. Lady, I am conscious of a concern on that front, and it is a concern that has been articulated not least by the Father of the House, Mr Clarke, who is able to look at these matters with the benefit of a 48-year—approaching 49—perspective, so he knows how things used to be done. In some respects, they are now done rather differently—I have noted that.

The essential point is this: some votes in this House are simply expressions of opinion, and others, depending on the terms of the motion, are genuinely binding. They can be construed, and would be construed, as orders or instructions and are therefore, in the literal sense of the term, effective. Others are not automatically effective, and they do depend on the way in which the Government choose to view them—I use those words carefully and advisedly. We have the opportunity to debate the hugely important matter of Brexit today and we know that there are plans for subsequent debate, but I can assure the hon. Lady that, if there is an appetite in the House for further debate, that appetite will be met. I can say that without the slightest fear of contradiction by anyone. If the House wants to debate a matter, no amount of circumlocutory activity to seek to avoid it will work—it simply will not happen.