Point of Order

Ebola Outbreak: DRC – in the House of Commons at 4:41 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of Laura Smith Laura Smith Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) 4:41 pm, 20th May 2019

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Following a previous point of order that I made to you, I and more than 110 other Members wrote to the chairman of the Conservative party and the Government Chief Whip on 19 March regarding comments made by Boris Johnson in relation to historical sexual abuse. Two months later, neither has responded to me, so could you advise me further on what action I should take to get an answer on this important matter?

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

The short answer is: persist. The matter is not to be directly addressed from the Chair in the sense that as far as I know, it does not appertain to remarks made in the Chamber. That does not, in any sense, diminish its importance, but it does change the matter of the aegis within which it falls. It is not a matter upon which I can arbitrate. However, I champion the principle of courtesy between colleagues. If colleagues have written to the chairman of, in this case, the Conservative party, they are entitled to expect that a reply will be forthcoming, so my counsel to the hon. Lady—in so far as she requires it—is, as I said in my initial one-word reply: persist. Stick at it. Keep going. Do not take no or nothingness for an answer.

In a moment, I will call Heidi Allen to make an application for leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of Standing Order No. 24. The hon. Lady has up to three minutes in which to make such an application.