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Business of the House

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

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip 2:11 pm, 26th September 2019

I echo the calls for temperate language in our exchanges in the House and I join in the congratulations to the shadow Leader of the House. I feel that my hon. Friend Pete Wishart is going to be left out in these exchanges. His Privy Counsellorship really must be expedited as a matter of urgency.

As for next week’s business, such as it is, we are happy to support all the efforts to restore the operation of devolved government in Northern Ireland, but my heart bleeds for the poor Conservative Ministers and Back Benchers who will now have to come to the House during their conference. Successive Scottish National party Chief Whips have used the usual channels to communicate the dates of our conferences over the years, and at no point have we been afforded a recess, despite our status as the third party in this place. In fact, the target date—or it may not be the target date—for the Queen’s Speech now is the second day of the SNP conference, and given that none of us have yet mastered the art of bilocation, I would be interested in the recommendations of the Leader of the House for those circumstances.

Given that the House is to continue meeting, thanks in no small part due to the efforts of my hon. and learned Friend Joanna Cherry, I want to emphasise what my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and North Perthshire said last night. The Standing Orders of this House provide for three Opposition days per Session in the name of the Leader of the third party, and in two years we have had one and a half days. So, however long this Session runs before the next legal Prorogation, the Leader of the House really needs to find time for us to fulfil our role as the third party in the House and the largest party in Scotland, as the Standing Orders of the House, which he considers to be sovereign, require. Knowing how much he cherishes the procedures and customs of this place, I am sure he is the last person who would want to be in breach of either the spirit or the letter of those Standing Orders.