Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:55 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee 12:55 pm, 3rd April 2019

I agree. Such a statement would indeed be very useful. I have had no indication that the Foreign Secretary or one of his colleagues is minded to come to the House for that purpose, but the hon. Gentleman is an assiduous contributor to our proceedings, and I am sure he will have noted that the matter was aired in the Chamber yesterday during questions to the Foreign Secretary. I sensed that there was very much, as one would expect, a cross-party feeling on the subject, and I very much hope that it will be possible for it to be aired further in the Chamber.

I do not mind telling the hon. Gentleman that there was an application for an urgent question on the matter earlier in the week. As I knew that Foreign Office questions were coming and we were very heavily consumed by other business, I declined it at that time. However, many people would judge that the matter remains urgent, and the opportunities exist for colleagues—perhaps I may use this analogy again—to deploy the backstop option in order to ensure that there is a ministerial presence in the Chamber, and to focus on the matter very soon.