Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:11 pm on 26th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 2:11 pm, 26th September 2019

I thank the Leader of the House for the business statement. He will know that this could have been agreed through the usual channels—we are trying to compromise and come to a consensus—and there would then have been no need for a Division.

This is no way to run a Parliament. Earlier today, we heard how we have to start as we mean to go on and to respect each other in the way we speak to each other, so could the Leader of the House ask the Attorney General to come to the House to apologise? Calling us a “dead Parliament” and “turkeys” is not appropriate language. If the Attorney General so dislikes Parliament, perhaps he should spend more time with his cases and call a by-election.

I know that the Leader of the House has apologised to Dr David Nicholl, but to take up from where we left off prior to the motion on the Adjournment of the House, could the Leader of the House apologise here in the House to Dr David Nicholl and say that he was wrong and that what he said was untrue? He also did not answer my question about the “constitutional coup”—I thought we had eradicated foot and mouth!

If the Leader of the House wants some business, let me give him some business: the date for Report of the Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill is to be announced; the date for Report of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill is to be announced; the date for Report of the Agriculture Bill is to be announced; the date for Report of the Fisheries Bill is to be announced; and the Trade Bill had its Third Reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday 20 March and is in ping-pong. Do the Government expect to get their Bills through before 31 October 2019? May I ask the Leader of the House again how long he thinks will be needed for preparations for the Queen’s Speech on 14 October? When will Parliament be prorogued?

I would be grateful if the Leader of the House could provide time for a debate on the Electoral Commission report, which estimates that between 8.3 million and 9.4 million people in Great Britain who are eligible to be on the local government registers are not correctly registered, and that there are between 4.7 million and 5.6 million inaccurate entries on those registers. That is the first study since the 2015 assessment of the registers, following the transition to individual electoral registration. This is seriously disfranchising people. My hon. Friend Cat Smith, the shadow Minister for youth and voter engagement, has raised that continuously. Perhaps that is why the Government are so keen to have an election, while the registers are not up to date.

I note the Foreign Secretary’s statement yesterday on the cases of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Mr Ashoori, raised by my hon. Friends the Members for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq) and for Lewisham East (Janet Daby). Has the Leader of the House had any conversations with the Foreign Secretary, and has the Foreign Secretary met Richard Ratcliffe or other family members of the British nationals who are incarcerated in Evin prison? These are lost lives. We cannot wait any longer; they are losing time with their families.

Finally, I want to thank the Leader of the House for his kind words yesterday on my nomination to the Privy Council. I congratulate the Solicitor General, sitting next to him, who has also been elevated to the Privy Council. I know that he is very excited about meeting Her Majesty. Finally, we have good news from the Whips Office: we want to welcome Evelyn Christine Rose Puddick.