Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:02 am on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee 11:02 am, 9th May 2019

I thank the Leader of the House for announcing the business for next week, including the Backbench Business debates on Thursday.

I declare an interest: I am the chair of the all-party group on football supporters. In that light, I congratulate both Liverpool and Tottenham on their amazing comebacks over the past two nights. The television has been electric. Those were probably the best two comebacks since Lazarus all those years ago.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, football supporters are struggling with the dreadful ownership of their clubs. At Newcastle United, where I am a season ticket holder, we have Mike Ashley and have to put up with everything that he delivers to us. Across the river in my own constituency, we have the situation at Gateshead football club, where Dr Ranjan Varghese and his financial adviser Joe Cala have sacked all the staff, including all the playing staff apart from one who has a contract that runs to June. The club is now talking about leaving the ground, which is owned by the local authority, and moving somewhere else. May we have a debate in Government time about the football authorities’ fit-and-proper-person test for being a club director? Frankly, these people are turning football into a joke.