Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:23 pm on 11th March 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 4:23 pm, 11th March 2019

I do not particularly want to get into the matter of contempt today. We have had the matter of contempt raised previously, and of course a motion was passed by the House on that matter. I hear what the right hon. Lady says. Suffice it to say that I think it is important that we treat of this business in a responsible way, and part of treating it in a responsible way is ensuring that parliamentary colleagues and, very importantly, Back Benchers have the opportunity to express their will in both written and spoken form, as well as by vote.

I do not want to reach a premature judgment. Let us keep an eye on this as the day unfolds. However the Government make their own decisions, which is obviously not a matter for me, the way in which the House disposes of business is ultimately a matter for us all, and that must meet a proper test. We must not be messed around. I am sure that that is not the will of the Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Mr Walker, who is a most courteous fellow, but we cannot allow that to happen. I hope the right hon. Lady, with whom I have co-operated closely on parliamentary matters over the last nine and a half years of my speakership, will accept that I will always try to do what is right by the House of Commons, and I give my commitment to ensure that I do so again.