Points of Order

Net Zero Emissions Target – in the House of Commons at 2:19 pm on 12th June 2019.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden 2:19 pm, 12th June 2019

On a mundane but important point of order, Mr Speaker. The House of Lords Commission gave the following ruling on passes for parliamentary assistants in its last report:

“Members may not sponsor a pass for anybody whose primary role is to support an All-Party Parliamentary Group.”

That may have been to deal with some problem of misuse—I do not know; I cannot speak to that—but I am concerned about it. I see Sir Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, is in his place; some years ago, he changed the law—under some influence from me, I think—to make Members of Parliament authorised people under the whistleblowing Act. Organisations such as the all-party group on whistleblowing therefore need staff in the House. Could the House authorities make representations to the House of Lords to make sure that that is taken on board and corrected?

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

I think this has some relevance to security, and the Chair would not normally pronounce on such matters in the Chamber, but I want to reflect on the right hon. Gentleman’s point, because it is important and potentially has ramifications for other Members and groups. Rather than give a knee-jerk response that is insufficiently considered, I will give a considered response at a later date. I hope that will be helpful. If I may say so—and I will—“mundane” and the right hon. Gentleman simply do not go together.

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Labour, Hammersmith

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In a brief answer in Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy topical questions yesterday, the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kelly Tolhurst, who, helpfully, is on the Treasury Bench, announced that she intended to order the recall of 500,000 tumble dryers made by Whirlpool UK, an action that she described as “unprecedented”. In fact, over 5 million such machines were manufactured with a fault that makes them liable to burst into flames without warning, and they have caused several hundred fires, including one in a 19-storey block of flats in my constituency that destroyed 20 flats and could have caused serious loss of life.

This is the most serious consumer safety issue for many years, yet we have had no statement from the Government on when and how the recall will take place, and why it has taken four years for them to act. I am wondering whether you, Mr Speaker—perhaps with the assistance of the Minister—can say how these matters will be addressed in this House.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I would like to clarify what I announced in the House yesterday. Since the Office for Product Safety and Standards review, we have kept Whirlpool’s actions under review. A letter was issued to Whirlpool, it was given 28 days to respond, and it did just that. We have informed it of our intention to issue a recall. That is part of the regulatory process. That is what I was updating the House on. We had 10 days to inform Whirlpool of that, and I believe that Friday is the deadline for that. I hope that satisfies Andy Slaughter.

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

It may well be the summit of the hon. Lady’s parliamentary ambition to satisfy Andy Slaughter, but it may be that some years—or possibly decades, from my experience—are required before she can hope to attain that dizzy height. The hon. Gentleman does not look particularly satisfied. Nevertheless, the hon. Lady has discharged her obligations to the House, and we are grateful to her for doing so. If, as I surmise from the hon. Gentleman’s countenance, he remains dissatisfied, he knows that there are means by which he can secure fuller ministerial attention to this matter, and the House’s attention to it, in days to come.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Welsh media today report that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will remove diplomatic support from the First Minister of Wales on his visit to Brussels today unless he toes the UK Government line, whatever that is. There is no bigger critic of the Labour Welsh Government than me, but I am outraged, as I am sure the people of Wales are, at the complete lack of respect shown to the Government of my country by the British Government. Welsh people pay taxes, too, and the FCO is supposed to serve their interests, too. Could you, Mr Speaker, advise me on how I could raise this issue as a matter of urgency with those on the Treasury Bench?

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

To some extent, the hon. Gentleman has achieved his own salvation by airing the matter in the Chamber. That is not a point of order as such, but I am minded to observe that, although there is a lot of repeat business in the House in the form of attempted points of order, I can recall no occasion, during my occupancy of the Chair, in which such a concern has had to be aired, so it is indeed a most significant matter. I am taken aback by what the hon. Gentleman reported to me in advance, and has now raised orally on the Floor of the House. He has achieved some satisfaction by alerting those on the Treasury Bench to his concern. My advice is that he should go to the Table Office and table questions on this matter. I know that the dedicated and highly capable staff of the Table Office will be happy to assist him in that important endeavour.