Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:31 am on 4th April 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 10:31 am, 4th April 2019

I do not want to dwell at any length on what the hon. Gentleman said and I completely respect his sincerity, but I think it is fair just to note, reputationally for the House, that many of the Members who are complaining about the paucity of time for the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill did nevertheless seem untroubled by the absorption of three hours on the business of the House motion. It was partly for that reason that there was so little time left for Second Reading. But there is an argument to be had about the matter and I respect the hon. Gentleman’s point of view.

I have heard what the Leader has said about a business of the House committee. That is the Government’s position. The hon. Gentleman has been a keen and articulate champion of the cause of such a committee for many years, and, as he knows, I have joined him in that quest. It is a matter of recorded fact that the coalition Government were committed to the introduction of such a committee and Prime Minister Cameron—I say this as a matter of fact—reneged on that commitment. It is unarguable, it is incontestable, it is incontrovertible. That is the reality. He may think that the situation changed, but he promised it and he broke the promise. It is as simple as that.