Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:04 am on 21st March 2019.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Finance Committee (Commons) 11:04 am, 21st March 2019

I reckon that I have worked out where everything has gone wrong over the last couple of years in this Parliament. We have discovered today from the Foreign Secretary, and now from the Leader of the House, that a new and rather dangerous doctrine has been developed in the Government that, when there is a hung Parliament, it is the duty of MPs—broadly speaking—to support the Government, even if they do not think that it is a very good idea. That is the essence of it, isn’t it? Actually, it should be the other way around. In a hung Parliament, the Government must listen to the whole House.

I have a solution, and I think the Leader of the House can help. When Government Ministers are given their copy of the ministerial code of conduct, they should all also be given a copy of the 1936 book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Clearly the Prime Minister did not have a copy last night—not least because it guarantees the reader that it will “increase your popularity” and:

“Help you to win people to your way of thinking.”

I am sure that if the Leader of the House could leave here later, pop over to the Prime Minister and give her a copy, she would manage to solve everything, because the key to the book is to always smile and never get cross.